Thursday, 27 June 2019 12:08 GMT

Not holding war criminals accountable a global failure

(MENAFN - The Peninsula) By Mohammed Osman I The Peninsula

Some of the crimes committed during the ongoing war in Syria, reached the level of war crimes, and the continued failure to hold accountable those responsible for such violations and crimes, represent a model for the failure of the international community as a whole, said an international expert on Syrian war related issues, yesterday during a conference inaugurated by Prime Minister and Interior Minister H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani.

Chair of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, criticised the failure of the international community to stop violations of human rights, and failure to bring criminals and perpetrators of crimes to justice and turn these crimes into international law.

Speaking at the first session of the International Conference on National, Regional and International Mechanisms to Combat Impunity and Ensure Accountability under the Law, which began here yesterday, Pinheiro called for the international community to act and cooperate to ensure that those responsible are held accountable.

He highlighted the importance of taking measures that protects human rights and victims, calling on countries and international courts to act within a disciplined and responsible framework to ensure accountability for those violations.

Chair of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian pointed out at the same time that the United Nations Human Rights Council established the Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian on August 22, 2011 with the mandate to investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law since March 2011 in Syria.

In order to hold accountable the perpetrators of these acts and violations, it is required to enter the Syrian territory to document these violations, so that all officials who are in the indictment are held accountable he pointed out.

Pinheiro explained during the session that at the time the Commission calls for a comprehensive approach to the parties to the conflict in Syria, it places priority on the rights of the victims, while at the same time demanding a speedy accountability.

There is importance to establish a mechanism to coordinate information on missing persons inside Syria, he said, calling on the international community to go beyond the stage of declarations to take more stringent measures on the ground and to achieve the desired progress.

In the same context, a number of jurists at the meeting criticised the international attitude towards what is happening in Syria and the lack of effective action against human rights violations. They asked about the role of the Security Council and the UN towards the victims of the war in Syria and the steps taken by the international community to stop the bleeding of violations, saying that the scene in Syria resembles the massacres that took place in the state of Rwanda, which the international community did not act to stop these massacres until after a period of time, and called on the international community to take proactive measures to ensure that such violations occur not only after the intervention.

The Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone Brenda J Hollis, said that the investigation and prosecution of crimes against humanity is a fundamental duty of all States of the world based on the preamble of the principles of the United Nations, pointing out that the investigation procedures must be carried out quickly, effectively and in a neutral manner that allows easy action against officials.

She said that there was a moral obligation to investigate these crimes, which was to prevent future crimes, emphasising the importance of ensuring sustainable peace and that States fulfil their obligations to investigate such crimes and when States have sufficient evidence. They must prosecute or refer to offenders in other places, stressing that sustainable peace is critical to maintaining security at the international and domestic levels.

Nicole Amelin, Vice-Chairperson of the CEDAW Committee at the United Nations, stressed the need to create a comprehensive vision for the protection and rights of women, the development of women's role and the strengthening of women's capacities.

In her speech emphasised the need to search and investigate not only violence but torture, enforced disappearance, slavery and enslavement, stressing that all policies of reconstruction in which women must be involved in governance, playing a very important and powerful role for monitoring and following.

Chief of the Rule of Law, Equality and Non-discrimination branch of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Mona Rishmawi stressed the importance of the aspects being discussed at the conference, especially as it is being held in the Middle East region.

Rishmawi presented a brief history on the international laws and legislations related to accountability for violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, and the consequent actions and investigations to redress victims. She also presented definitions of serious crimes against victims, such as war crimes, genocide and other crimes.


Not holding war criminals accountable a global failure

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