Pinheiro: Not Holding War criminals in Syria Accountable is “Global Failure”
Chair of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, slammed the failure of the international community to put an end to the Assad regime’s violations of human rights and the failure to bring criminals and perpetrators of crimes to justice.
Pinheiro was speaking at the first session of the International Conference on National, Regional and International Mechanisms to Combat Impunity and Ensure Accountability under the Law which began in the Qatari capital Doha on Sunday. He called on the international community to act swiftly to ensure that those responsible for war crimes are held accountable.
The crimes being committed during the ongoing war in Syria amounting to war crimes, and the continued failure to hold accountable those responsible represented a model for the failure of the international community as a whole, Pinheiro added.
Pinheiro highlighted the importance of taking measures that protects human rights and victims, calling on countries and international courts to act within a disciplined and responsible framework to ensure accountability for those violations.
In order to hold accountable the perpetrators of these crimes and violations, it is required to enter the Syrian territory to document these violations, so that all officials who are in the indictment are held accountable, the UN official stressed.
Pinheiro said that the Commission has so far recorded no fewer than 70,000 violations in 27 reports.
The Commission has not only relied on the testimonies of the victims, but also received documents, photographs and material evidence on those violations while ignoring the complaints whose credibility was hard to verify.
Moreover, Pinheiro stressed the importance of establishing a mechanism to coordinate information on the missing persons inside Syria, calling on the international community to go beyond the stage of declarations to take more stringent measures on the ground and to achieve the desired progress.
Catherine Marchi-Uhel, President of the International Impartial and Independent Mechanism to assist in the investigation and prosecution of persons responsible for the most serious crimes committed in Syria, said the victims of the majority of conflicts around the world have not been able to obtain the required justice. “We are here today to look into mechanisms to reduce human rights violations and the fight against ongoing atrocities around the world,” she said.
Marchi-Uhel said that mechanism initiated by Qatar and some other countries for a fact-finding mission in Syria, has resulted in equipping the international community better to achieve accountability. She was referring to the UN’s adoption of a resolution in 2016 to establish an impartial, independent mechanism to address human rights violations. She described the resolution as crucial to achieving justice and ensuring that evidence is collected and dealt with in accordance with international criminal standards.
The UN Human Rights Council established the UNIIIC on Syria on 22 August 2011 to investigate all alleged violations since March 2011 in Syria. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)