The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee has advanced a bill that could be a meaningful step toward achieving justice and reducing the violence being practiced by the Assad regime and its allied foreign militias against the Syrian people for over six years.
Democrat Senator Ben Cardin, who co-sponsored the bill with Republican Senator Marco Rubio, said the proposal aims to “make it clear to all who are participating in atrocities in Syria that they will be held accountable for their activities.”
Rubio, who notably pressed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during his confirmation hearing on Russian war crimes in Aleppo, said that passage of the bill by the committee last week was “another step towards accountability for the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against innocent civilians.”
The US has supported several initiatives on justice in Syria, including the establishment of a mechanism through the United Nations General Assembly to investigate and collect evidence of abuses. There have also been several resolutions introduced in Congress that highlight Syria’s humanitarian catastrophe.
The Syrian War Crimes Accountability Act of 2017, a bipartisan bill introduced in April, will reinvigorate US support for justice in Syria after years of unchecked atrocities.
Human Rights Watch has documented grave laws-of-war violations in Syria. Chemical weapons attacks, aerial bombing targeting civilians, siege warfare against civilians, and indiscriminate car bombings, mortar shelling, and rocket attacks in residential areas have all taken place in Syria. Impunity for war crimes continues to fuel abuses in Syria. (Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)