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Syrian Govt Slams Dutch Legal Action Against Officials over Human Rights Violations

Syrian Govt Slams Dutch Legal Action Against Officials over Human Rights Violations

Sunday, 20 September, 2020 - 07:45
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is seen in this general view taken at The Hague, Netherlands (File Photo: Reuters)

Syria's government condemned Netherlands' legal action to hold Syrian officials responsible for gross human rights violations, accusing it of using the International Court of Justice to serve US agendas, the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported.

"The Dutch government… is determined to use the International Court of Justice in The Hague to serve the political agendas of its American master," a ministry source said, according to SANA.

The source also accused the government of the Netherlands of supporting and financing armed groups in Syria which are classified by the Netherlands public prosecution as “terrorist organizations.”

The source added that the Syrian government reserves the right to bring to justice everyone who has been involved in supporting terrorism in Syria.

On Friday, the Netherlands said it will hold Syrian officials responsible for gross human rights violations, saying there is ample evidence that Syria's government had committed widespread human rights crimes against Syrians, including torture.

“Large numbers of Syrians have been tortured, murdered, forcibly disappeared, and subjected to poison-gas attacks, or have lost everything fleeing for their lives.”

Syria has been informed of the decision through a diplomatic note, in which Amsterdam reminded Damascus of its international obligations to cease the violations and offer victims full reparation.

The note asked Syria to enter into negotiations, which is a necessary first step in dispute settlement.

“If no agreement can be reached on this issue, the Netherlands will submit the case to an international court,” which is likely to be The Hague.

Syria signed the UN Convention against Torture in 2004, making it accountable to the international treaty in the eyes of the UN.

Over the past years, government forces, backed by Russia and Iran, have regained large parts of the Syrian territories that were controlled by the opposition factions and organizations during the first years of the conflict.

Western countries, led by the US, have long accused Damascus of committing human rights violations, including the use of chemical weapons in attacks against areas controlled by the factions.

Since April, two former Syrian intelligence agents, one of whom is a high-ranking officer, have been on trial in Germany, the first court to accuse members of the Syrian regime of crimes and transgressions.

The United States and the European Union imposed severe economic sanctions on Damascus, the latest of which was the Caesar Act enacted by Washington in June.

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