Syria / Palmyra: Impunity puts more lives, heritage of humanity at risk

22 May, 2015 | Press Releases

Brussels – Rome, 22 May 2015

Statement by Alison Smith, Legal Counsel and Director of the International Criminal Justice Program of No Peace Without Justice:

“No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) express their deep concerns about the reported occupation of the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria by ISIL. This puts the lives of thousands more people under the very real threat of widespread and blind violence, mass executions and religious persecution. Given the way in which ISIL has treated antiquities in the past, it also exposes an invaluable cultural and civilian heritage of humanity to arbitrary destruction.

“The increasingly emboldened actions of the so-called “Caliphate of the Islamic State” are not only the result of the failure by the international community to bring an end to a 4-year conflict in Syria but also of a culture of almost complete impunity that has pervaded the country since the beginning of hostilities. Despite the widely documented violations of human rights and international criminal law, there have been no national efforts for accountability in any shape or form and international efforts, including attempted referrals to the International Criminal Court, continue to be blocked, with no apparent solution in easy sight”.

“It is also the umpteenth demonstration that ISIS and the Assad regime are the two allied faces of the same sad coin. They even appear to compete in devastating a country and in committing atrocities at the expense of millions of ordinary Syrians. Strong action must be taken now to put an end to the spreading terror by ISIS; Syria will not see any brighter future until the brutal regime that has been most responsible for decades of repression is removed from the equation”.

For further information, please contact Alison Smith on or +32 (0)2 548 39 12 or Nicola Giovannini (Press & Public Affairs Coordinator) on or +32-2-548-3915.