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UN Security Council Discusses War Crimes in Syria

UN Security Council Discusses War Crimes in Syria

Tuesday, 30 November, 2021 - 08:45
The UN Security Council held a special session to discuss the war crimes in Syria for the first time in several years.(AFP)

The UN Security Council held a special session to discuss the war crimes in Syria for the first time in several years.

The Security Council Arria-formula meeting on accountability in Syria was held under direct sponsorship from Estonia, France, the UK, and the US, with additional co-sponsors Belgium, Canada, Germany, Georgia, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Qatar, Sweden, and Turkey.

They held an informal briefing of the Security Council on increased efforts to establish full accountability for the most severe international crimes committed in Syria.

The Security Council said that it hopes to deal with the relevant institutions to play their role to bring justice for the serious crimes that took place in Syria, adding that despite efforts made by the UN, some countries, and other actors, the response was poor compared to the atrocities committed.

Speakers at the opening session included head of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) Catherine Marchi-Uhel, Syrian refugee, public speaker, and human rights activist Omar al-Shogre, and Syrian journalist and film director Waad al-Khatib.

The Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF) welcomed the efforts of the Security Council members on the need to take action after years of silence as the "[Bashar] Assad regime and its allies continue to commit the most heinous international crimes."

In a statement, it said "it will stress the importance of accountability to prevent further atrocities, as well as in the attempts to deliver justice to the countless victims and their families."

The Task Force confirmed that the regime is responsible for the atrocities of the last decade in Syria, "ninety percent of which were committed by the Assad regime, are the worst crimes of this 21st century."

"Fortunately, individuals are now being tried in Germany and elsewhere, including for the tortured evidenced by the Caesar photos."

The Security Council session is a "chance to revitalize discussions towards creating a dedicated court or tribunal to address the worst crimes under international law and the need for greater collective action by to hold the major perpetrators to account and to deter these crimes in the future," read the statement.

Head of the SETF Mouaz Moustafa told Asharq Al-Awsat that the session is crucial because it was held many years after Syrians, affected by war crimes committed by the regime, were prevented from taking action.

He indicated that hearing the members of the Council discussing evidence suggesting the regime's responsibility for the majority of war crimes committed in Syria during the ongoing war gives hope for accountability for those involved.

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