Groups Call for ICC Referral

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(New York) – Over one hundred civil society groups from around the world issued the following statement today to urge the United Nations Security Council to approve a resolution to refer the situation in Syria to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court:

We, the undersigned civil society groups, urge United Nations Security Council members to approve a draft resolution supported by a broad coalition of countries that would refer the situation in Syria to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

More than three years into a conflict that has claimed well over 100,000 lives, according to the United Nations, atrocity crimes are being committed with complete impunity by all sides in the conflict, with no end in sight.

Neither Syrian authorities nor the leaders of non-state armed groups have taken any meaningful steps to ensure accountability for past and ongoing grave human rights crimes. The failure to hold those responsible for these violations to account has only fueled further atrocities by all sides. Against this background, we believe the ICC is the forum most capable of effectively investigating and prosecuting the people who bear the greatest responsibility for serious crimes and of offering a measure of justice for victims in Syria.

The latest report from the UN’s Syria Commission of Inquiry, published on March 5, 2014, also found that all sides to the Syria conflict continued to commit serious crimes under international law and held that the Security Council was failing to take action to end the state of impunity. The commission, which has published seven in-depth reports since its establishment in August 2011, recommended that the Security Council give the ICC a mandate to investigate abuses in Syria

The need for accountability in Syria through the ICC has likewise been supported by more than 60 UN member countries, representing all regions of world, including 10 of the current members of the Security Council. We urge all Security Council members to heed this call for justice. Other countries should publicly support the draft resolution and warn Russia and China against using their veto power to obstruct accountability for violations by all sides.

As a permanent international court with a mandate to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity when national authorities are unable or unwilling to do so, the ICC was created to address exactly the type of situation that exists in Syria today. Though the court's work can be only one piece of the larger accountability effort needed in Syria, it is a crucial first step.

We therefore strongly urge Security Council members to urgently act to fill the accountability gap in Syria. The people of Syria cannot afford further disappointment or delay.

Co-signing organizations in alphabetical order

  1. Action des Chrétiens pour l'Abolition de la Torture, France

  2. Amnesty International, Benin

  3. Advocates for Public International Law, Uganda

  4. Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, Egypt

  5. Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, Australia

  6. Act for Peace, Australia

  7. Arab Coalition for Sudan, Sudan

  8. Arab Program for Human Rights Activists, Egypt

  9. Arab-European Center Of Human Rights And International Law, Norway

  10. Arab Foundation for Development and Citizenship, United Kingdom

  11. Andalus Institute for Tolerance and anti-Violence Studies, Egypt

  12. Benin Coalition for the International Criminal Court, Benin

  13. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Egypt

  14. Campaña Colombiana Contra Minas, Colombia

  15. Center for Media Studies and Peacebuilding, Liberia

  16. Child Soldiers International, United Kingdom

  17. Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Belgium

  18. Club des Amis du Droit du Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo

  19. Coalition Ivoirienne pour la Cour Penale Internationale, Cote d'Ivoire

  20. Colombian Commission of Jurists, Colombia

  21. Community Empowerment for Progress Organization, South Sudan

  22. Conflict Monitoring Center, Pakistan

  23. Congress of National Minorities of Ukraine, Ukraine

  24. Comité Catholique Contre la Faim et Pour le Développement - Terre Solidaire, France

  25. Comision Mexicana de Defensa y Promocion de los Derechos Humanos, Mexico

  26. CSO Network, Western Kenya

  27. Dawlaty Foundation, Lebanon

  28. Democracia Global, Argentina

  29. East Africa Law Society, Tanzania

  30. Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, Egypt

  31. Elman Peace and Human Rights Center, Somalia

  32. Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network

  33. FN-forbundet / Danish United Nations Association, Denmark

  34. Franciscans International

  35. Fundación de Antropología Forense, Guatemala

  36. Georgian Young Lawyers Association, Georgia

  37. Genocide Alert, Germany

  38. Global, United States

  39. Global Justice Center, United States

  40. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, United States

  41. Gulf Centre for Human Rights, Denmark

  42. Horiyat for Development and Human Rights, Libya

  43. Humanist Institute for Development Cooperation, The Netherlands

  44. Humanitarian Law Center Kosovo, Kosovo

  45. Human Rights First, United States

  46. Human Rights Watch

  47. International Justice Project, United States

  48. International Commission of Jurists, Kenya

  49. International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, Nigeria

  50. International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, United States

  51. International Federation of Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture, France

  52. International Center for Policy and Conflict, Kenya

  53. Insan, Lebanon

  54. Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights, United States

  55. Justice Without Frontiers, Lebanon

  56. Kenya Human Rights Commission, Kenya

  57. La Coalition Burundaise pour la Cour Penale Internationale, Burundi

  58. Lira NGO Forum, Uganda

  59. Ligue pour la Paix, les Droits de l'Homme et la Justice, Democratic Republic of Congo

  60. Media Foundation for West Africa, Ghana

  61. Minority Rights Group International, United Kingdom

  62. National Youth Action, Inc., Liberia

  63. No Peace Without Justice, Italy

  64. Norwegian People's Aid, Norway

  65. Optimum Travail du Burkina, Burkina Faso

  66. Open Society Justice Initiative

  67. Pakistan Body Count, Pakistan

  68. PAX, The Netherlands

  69. Pax Christi International

  70. Parliamentarians for Global Action

  71. El Equipo Peruano de Antropología Forense, Peru

  72. Physicians for Human Rights, United States

  73. Pak Institute for Peace Studies, Pakistan

  74. REDRESS, United Kingdom

  75. Reporters without Borders, France

  76. Rencontre africaine pour la défense des droits de l’homme (Raddho-Guinée), Guinea

  77. Reseau Equitas, Cote D’Ivoire

  78. Samir Kassir Foundation, Lebanon

  79. Southern Africa Litigation Centre, South Africa

  80. South African Institute for Advanced Constitutional, Public, Human Rights and International Law, South Africa

  81. Syrian Network for Human Rights, United Kingdom

  82. Syria Justice & Accountability Center, The Netherlands

  83. Syrian Nonviolence Movement, France

  84. Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, United Kingdom

  85. Synergie des ONGs Congolaises pour la lutte contre les Violences Sexuelles, Democratic Republic of Congo

  86. Synergie des ONGs Congolaises pour les Victimes, Democratic Republic of Congo

  87. The International Federation for Human Rights, France

  88. The Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law, Sierra Leone

  89. The Association of Political Scientists, Greece

  90. The Sentinel Project for Genocide Prevention, Canada

  91. The Igarape Institute, Brazil

  92. The Arab World Center for Democratic Development, Jordan

  93. The United Nations Association of Sweden, Sweden

  94. United to End Genocide, United States

  95. Vision GRAM-International, Canada

  96. Violations Documentation Center, Syria

  97. Wake Up Genève for Syria, Switzerland

  98. West Africa Civil Society Institute, Ghana

  99. West African Bar Association, Nigeria

  100. World Federalist Movement, Canada

  101. World Federation of United Nations Associations

  102. Zarga Organization for Rural Development, Sudan

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