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UN Syria Commission of Inquiry: Those responsible for atrocities during 12 years of violence must be brought to justice

17 March 2023

17 March 2023

This week marks 12 years of crisis and bloodshed in Syria. The country remains deeply divided, plagued by predatory armed actors, its people shelled by their own government and bombed by a multitude of states.

The tragic earthquake struck a country suffering from years of man-made disaster, where hospitals and schools were already decimated by years of fighting. Despite the many calls for solidarity, the immediate resumption of attacks in the earthquake zone exposes a cruelty and cynicism on the part of the parties responsible.

The children, women and men of Syria who demonstrated for a brighter future paid the price when the Syrian Government unleashed overwhelming violence to quell dissent. Since then, armed groups proliferated, foreign states intervened, and terrorist groups became entrenched.

Throughout it, the interests of the Syrian people and basic respect for their humanity have also become casualties of this conflict. Tens of thousands remain in arbitrary and incommunicado detention or disappeared by parties deliberately withholding information on their fate and whereabouts.

The warring parties’ attempts to resolve the conflict militarily have enabled the violation or abuse of nearly every core human right. Parties to the conflict have cumulatively committed almost every crime against humanity listed in the Rome Statute, and nearly every war crime applicable in a non-international armed conflict.

It should not be a foregone conclusion that the violations, abuses, and crimes continue into the 13th year. The interest of the Syrian people must finally be put first and every effort expended to move toward a peaceful, negotiated resolution to the conflict and finally put Syria on a path toward a stable, prosperous and just future for all her people.