Syrian rights defenders call on the UN to refer all evidence of alleged international crimes the ICC

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UN Human Rights Council: 19th Session
Oral Intervention:  ID on Report of COI on Syria
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
12 March, 2012
Delivered by:  Mr. Mohammad Alabdallah


Thank you Madam President,

The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, in cooperation with the Damascus Centre for Human Rights Studies, Euro-Mediterranean Network for Human Rights, Syrian Organization for Human Rights (Sawasia), Organization for Human Rights Syria (MAF), the Coalition for the Defense of Justice for Syria (Adalah), and Kurdish Committee for Human Rights, would like to thank the Commission of Inquiry on Syria for their latest report.  The last several weeks has seen an escalation in the illegal use of deadly force against civilians by the government of Syria.  This Council must act now to ensure accountability for the crimes being committed.  We call for the mandate of the COI to be extended- and to be tasked with the continued collection of evidence, with a view to ensuring individual criminal responsibility for those ordering and carrying out alleged crimes against humanity in Syria.

We further call on this Council to immediately transmit all evidence concerning alleged crimes against humanity that have thus far been gathered by the COI to the Security Council, and to urge the Security Council to refer this evidence and the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court, and take appropriate steps to protect Syrian civilians.   Not doing so now will only serve to embolden the Syrian government in their systematic and widespread use of deadly force, torture, arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances against Syrian civilians.

The continuing efforts of Russia, China, Cuba and others to undermine efforts within the UN to ensure accountability for alleged crimes against humanity, will not be forgotten by the millions of citizens throughout the Arab region who are also struggling for democracy and dignity   These governments have chosen a path that is in contradiction with their obligations as UN member states, and with the most fundamental demands of morality.   Do these governments truly believe their long term interests in the region are served by adopting positions which allow a dictator to brutally crush the citizens of Syria with impunity, at a time when many countries continue to experience uprisings for democratic governance?

On the 15th of March, Arab activists and human rights defenders will hold events in countries throughout the Arab region, in solidarity with the struggle of the Syrian people for freedom, dignity and justice.    They will all be asking this same question- and for them the answer is clear:  The death and torture of Syrians demanding dignity- is an affront against all of those engaged in similar struggles.


Thank you Madam President.


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