12th ASP to the ICC: NPWJ held a side event on “Accountability for Syria”

23 Nov, 2013 | Press Releases

The Hague, 23 November 2013

On the occasion of the 12th session of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, No Peace Without Justice held a side event on “Accountability for Syria”, co-hosted by the Delegation of Italy, on 23 November 2013 at the World Forum Convention Centre.

Two years after the Syrian people joined the Arab Spring and Syria’s uprising was violently and brutally suppressed by the Assad regime, the crisis continues to deteriorate at a rapid pace. The warring parties are arming themselves with accelerated speed and unleashing increased levels of violence and violations of humanitarian and international law upon the civilian population. Syria is currently divided and partitioned into several shifting zones-of-control, each of which are under different levels of administration by the Assad forces on the one side, and various groups and factions fighting against them and, more recently, also among themselves. Whether these dynamics can be changed depends on breaking the expectation of impunity and rewards for violence, by building the strength of Syrian human rights activists and political actors to demand justice and accountability, and building the capacity of the judiciary and legal profession to play their part as justice-providers.

This event discussed the situation in Syria and the current lack of sufficient action by the international community, which has really only provided a unified and prompt response to the use of chemical weapons, exerting pressure on Syria to destroy them. This was recognised as a positive development, but that is overlooks accountability for the tens of thousands of people killed in the conflict by conventional weapons. The speakers also stressed that accountability needs to be part of any peace talks that may hopefully be held, affirming that all perpetrators of crimes committed in the country must be held accountable if there is to be any hope for lasting stability, reconciliation and peace in Syria.

Speakers included Suheir Atassi, Vice President of the Syrian National Coalition and Head of the Assistance Coordination Unit, Haytham al-Maleh, Syrian human rights leader and President of the Legal Office of the Syrian National Coalition, in charge of accountability and transitional justice, Abdul Hadi Habal, Syrian human rights activist and NPWJ Syria Team Leader. Among the participants there were representatives from States, civil society and the International Criminal Court.

During the event, intrepretation was provided by Eurideas Linguistic Services as a volunteer service. Eurideas Linguistic Services had the wish to support No Peace Without Justice’s activities by offering the interpretation service. No Peace Without Justice kindly thanks Eurideas for its cooperation.

NPWJ and the ICC
No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) is an international non-profit advocacy organisation working for the protection and promotion of human rights, democracy, the rule of law, accountability and justice, born of a campaign of the Transnational Radical Party. NPWJ has unique field experience in wide-scale documentation of violations of international humanitarian law, conflict mapping and analysis, and in implementing outreach programs on international criminal justice that engage communities in conflict and post-conflict and in complex political environments. NPWJ, which is a founding member of the NGO Coalition for the International Criminal Court(CICC) and which has been one of the organisations at the forefront of promoting the establishment and entry into force of the permanent International Criminal Court (ICC), has participated in every session of the ASP since its first session in 2002, the year the ICC was established.

NPWJ project on Syria aims at reducing the expectation and the rewards of impunity for crimes under international law by working with Syrian judges, lawyers and civil society activists to build a culture of accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

For further information, contact Hadi Al Khatib on hadi@npwj.org or +32-2-548-3912 or Nicola Giovannini on ngiovannini@npwj.org or +32-2-548-3915.