European countries pledge that 'war crimes' in Syria will not go unpunished


Published: 2021-04-01 09:16

Last Updated: 2021-04-17 10:30

Source: AP News
Source: AP News

Wednesday, the foreign ministers of 18 European countries pledged that alleged war crimes in Syria by Daesh and the Syrian regime will not 'go unpunished.'

"Our countries are committed to ensuring that war criminals and perpetrators of torture do not go unpunished," the ministers said in a joint statement posted on the website of the French Foreign Ministry.

The ministers said that in the past ten years nearly 400,000 people have been killed and more than six million have been forced to flee the country to escape "countless violations of human rights."

President Bashar al-Assad, backed by Russia, faced accusations of using chemical weapons in violation of international law as he regained control of the country.

"This decade of atrocities must be fully shed light on," the ministers said.

"We continue our call to allow the International Criminal Court to investigate suspected crimes in Syria and prosecute the perpetrators," they added.

Cases have already been filed in several European countries on the basis of the principle of universal jurisdiction, which allows the perpetrators of the most serious crimes to be tried regardless of their nationality and where the crimes occurred.

In February, a German court convicted a former member of the Syrian intelligence service for "complicity in crimes against humanity," as part of the world's first trial of violations attributed to the Syrian regime.

The statement comes a day after international donors pledged to provide $6.4 billion in aid to the Syrian people and refugees in neighboring countries, a clear reversal from the previous version of their conference and away from the goal set by the United Nations at ten billion dollars.

The need for aid has increased due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the devaluation of the Syrian pound, which has led to an increase in food prices. Efforts to find a lasting peace deal to end the conflict have stalled.

European countries insist that they will not spend money on massive reconstruction in Syria until Assad commits to a real political process to resolve the conflict.