Those who committed the most serious crimes in Syria must be identified, and criminal case files must be built as the basis for prosecutions, the head of a United Nations body assisting these efforts said Wednesday.
Catherine Marchi-Uhel, head of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism, said that her team has already collected around 700,000 documents that would be used as evidence of the war crimes that have been committed in Syria since the Syrian revolution began in March 2011.
“Perpetrators of core international crimes must be held accountable,” Marchi-Uhel told diplomats during an informal meeting in New York organized by the UN General Assembly.
Marchi-Uhel said that hear team stood ready to act quickly to collect more documents proving war crimes were committed against civilians in Syria.
The Syrian Coalition repeatedly accused the Assad regime of committing large-scale war crimes in Syria and blamed it for the death of over half a million people through the use of conventional and internationally prohibited weapons as well as the siege of cities and towns and the starvation of their population. The Coalition also accused the Assad regime of detaining tens of thousands of people and of displacing millions more to outside the country.
Qatar’s ambassador to the United Nations, Alia Al-Thani, said Qatar was looking for concrete results to spare the Syrian people more war crimes.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres earlier called for the referral of Syria to the International Criminal Court. Such move was blocked by Russia, Assad’s main ally, which used its veto power 12 times on the UN Security Council to shield the Assad regime against condemnation and punishment.