Syria

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A Syrian refugee walks among severely damaged buildings in downtown Homs, Syria, on June 3, 2014. (Photo: Flickr/Xinhua/Pan Chaoyue)
09 March 2017 by Stephanie van den Berg, The Hague (The Netherlands)

International law experts, officials and NGO’s met in The Hague Thursday to help set up an new United Nations body to gather evidence of war crimes in Syria to ensure possible prosecution at a later date. 

The new body called the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) for Syria is “to serve as a hub for gathering evidence for all crimes in Syria”, said Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders who hosted the meeting of over 150 professionals.

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Refugees arriving on the Greek island of Lesbos in September 2015 (Photo: Flickr/Ben White - CAFOD)
08 March 2016 by Stephanie van den Berg, The Hague (The Netherlands)

Parallel to calls for the establishment of an international tribunal to address alleged war crimes committed in Syria [IJT-169], many European countries say they have stepped up screening procedures to weed out possible war criminals amid the influx of Syrian refugees. The Netherlands, which has been somewhat of a pioneer in this regard, last week announced that in 2015 they denied asylum to 10 Syrian nationals because they are suspected of committing war crimes. But past experience points to a wide gap between identifying potential perpetrators and actually bringing them to justice.

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Lady justice, Williamson county court house (Photo: Flickr/Jack)
06 January 2016 by Stephanie van den Berg, The Hague (The Netherlands)

The range of justice processes across the world is continuing to become more multi-faceted each year – and 2016 is no exception. But while providing fodder for the burgeoning groups of academics considering the significance and influence of the wide variety of courts, there is no sense that the world has settled on an ideal format with which to hold perpetrators of violence during conflicts to account. The plurality is the grist to IJT’s mill. For the year ahead, there are significant cases – and institutions – coming to an end, while other sagas continue.

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Stephen Rapp speaking at a Coalition for the ICC event in 2013 (Photo: Flickr/CICC)
30 September 2015

IJT 186 is our first issue after the summer break and also the first in our new publishing scheme of a monthly digest of our feature articles which appeared on our site previously.

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Stephen Rapp speaking at a Coalition for the ICC event in 2013 (Photo: Flickr/CICC)
09 September 2015 by Stephanie van den Berg, The Hague (The Netherlands)

Stephen Rapp told IJT that his office did everything they practically could do to ensure accountability in Syria by "documenting the heck" out of the atrocities that are being committed and collecting "irrefutable evidence". In one of his first interviews since stepping down last month as US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, Rapp named the arrest of former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic as his finest moment in office.

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Image from July 2013 protest in New York City against US military intervention in Syria (Photo: Flickr/fleshmanpix)
05 November 2014 by Karina Hof, The Hague (The Netherlands)

A justice mechanism to deal with the Syrian conflict has seemed low on the world’s agenda. This week brought news of US government funding cuts for a widely commended NGO gathering Syrian war crimes evidence. The Russian and Chinese vetoes of a Syria referral by the UN Security Council to the International Criminal Court keep a trial in The Hague unlikely. And it is hard to focus on accountability when the YouTubed horror films of ISIS have all but upstaged Assad regime atrocities and the Syrian opposition seems locked in an endless cycle of reincarnation.

 

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STL Courtroom in The Hague
03 December 2014 by Karina Hof, Leidschendam (The Netherlands)

“A sea change” was the phrase repeated by defence teams at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) to decry what they saw as a radical, unexpected departure from the prosecution’s case against five Hezbollah members accused of operating the assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri in February 2005.

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05 November 2014

Links to articles and PDF of IJT issue number 169.