United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Monday announced the appointment of Catherine Marchi-Uhel of France as the head of the independent panel to assist in the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for most serious violations of international law in Syria, including possible war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The panel, 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 Syrian Arab Republic since March 2011, was established by the UN General Assembly in December last year.
Marchi-Uhel is the first Head of the Mechanism which is mandated “to collect, consolidate, preserve and analyze evidence of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights violations and abuses and prepare files in order to facilitate and expedite fair and independent criminal proceedings” in the future.
Since 2015, Marchi-Uhel had been serving as the Ombudsperson for the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999), 1989 (2011) and 2253 (2015) concerning Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh), Al-Qaida, and associated individuals, groups, undertakings and entities.
Marchi-Uhel was previously a judge in France and an international judge at the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo, and at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.
According to the lowest estimates by rights groups and human rights organizations, over 320,000 people have been killed in the war the Assad regime has waged on the Syrian people since March 2011. A UN investigation panel previously concluded that violations such as torture and extrajudicial executions have been widely carried out in Syria mostly and systematically by Assad’s forces and allied militias. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)