Leading Syrian rights groups documenting violations in Syria and concerned in the issues of accountability and transitional justice expressed regret they were not consulted about the new mechanism the United Nations has recently established to investigate war crime and ensure accountability in Syria.
In a joint memorandum sent to the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, around 21 Syrian rights groups said they have a set of recommendations that need to be taken into account prior to the drafting of any new mechanism for accountability and investigation of war crimes in Syria.
The rights group stressed that the Syrian people must have a say on the enforcement and monitoring of the new mechanism established recently by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The UN General Assembly has voted to establish an independent panel to assist in the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for war crimes or crimes against humanity in Syria.
In a resolution adopted on December 21, 2016, the UN General Assembly decided to set up a mechanism what will be formally known as the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism to Assist in the Investigation and Prosecution of Those Responsible for the Most Serious Crimes under International Law Committed in Syria since March 2011, under the auspices of the UN.
According to a report by the Syrian Network for Human Rights, at least 8,736 civilians, including 1,984 children and 1,237 women, were killed at the hands of regime forces in 2016. Around 447 more were killed under torture. Women and children accounted for nearly 37% of the total number of victims.
The Network put forward a set of recommendations that included calling on the UN Security Council to enforce its resolutions on Syria and to implement the Geneva Communique of 2012. The SNHR stressed the need to ensure that civilians are spared the bombardment; sieges are lifted; political prisoners are released; and the use of chemical weapons is stopped. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office + Agencies)