Syria: NPWJ urges the second Brussels Conference to promote accountability and justice as central goals

24 Apr, 2018 | Press Releases

Brussels, 24 April 2018

Statement by Niccolò Figà-Talamanca, Secretary-General of No Peace Without Justice:

On the eve of the Ministerial meeting at the second Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the region, No Peace Without Justice reiterates its call on all participants, especially the European Union and the United Nations, to ensure that accountability for atrocities in Syria and justice for victims be integrated as a central concern of tomorrow’s discussions.

The Conference begins on the heels of the G7 Foreign Ministers’ joint communique yesterday, in which the Foreign Ministers expressed their condemnation at the use of chemical weapons and the overall continuing and escalating violence in Syria, reiterating their commitment to accountability for those violations. Yet beyond stressing the importance of the establishment of a successor mechanism to the Joint Investigative Mechanism, whose mandate was brought to an end by a Russian veto at the UN Security Council, the statement was conspicuously thin on concrete actions to ensure justice will be central to the UN-led peace negotiations they hope will be relaunched soon.

NPWJ urges the second Brussels Conference to do better in promoting accountability as a central goal for those peace talks and for all participants in tomorrow’s discussions. There is a vital need for humanitarian aid and to support the people of Syria in rebuilding their lives. But we must remember that impunity for past violations – including those committed over the past 7 years – is one of the root causes of the conflict. As leaders and others gather to discuss the country’s future, they must not brush aside the question of accountability for crimes committed in Syria, or we risk continuing the impunity cycle into the foreseeable future.

As NPWJ and other NGOs stated in a joint letter on 6 April, we continue to urge participants at tomorrow’s conference to commit to:
– providing political and financial support to the UNGA-created International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism for Syria;
– providing support for Syrian civil society organisations engaged in documenting crimes, engaging with victim communities, participating in peace negotiations, and working to build a peaceful Syria on a foundation of justice;
– ensuring there is a meaningful discussion of the issues related to accountability and justice; and
– ensuring a firm commitment to justice, accountability and redress for victims being a central feature of any negotiations for a political solution to the conflict.

We further call on the EU and the UN to integrate the recommendations that will be made in the area of accountability and redress for victims, and that immediate action be made in order to translate them into concrete actions during the implementation phase of the pledges.

For further information, contact Alison Smith, Director Of International criminal Justice Program, on or Nicola Giovannini, Press & Public Affairs Coordinator, on