ICJ to investigate Syrian abuses

President Bashar al-Assad’s regime is now to be investigated for abuses against civilians by the UN’s highest court, the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Photo: SPA/AP/NTB

By NTB | 12.06.2023 16:29:13

Policy: According to Canada and the Netherlands, Syria violates the United Nations Convention against Torture, in particular by using chemical weapons against civilians and by torturing prisoners.

Both countries call on the ICJ to implement immediate measures, including ordering President Bashar al-Assad’s regime to immediately release prisoners and open the country’s prisons to international inspection.

No international court has dealt with similar charges against Syria since the regime used armed force against pro-democracy activists in 2011 and the country was then plunged into civil war.

Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra believes it is high time the Assad regime was now held accountable.

– Syrian citizens have been tortured, killed, kidnapped, attacked with poison gas or forced to flee for their lives and leave behind everything they had, he says.

Syrian authorities have not commented on the trial.

The ICJ adjudicates disputes between States and issues advisory opinions in cases submitted to the Court by international bodies. The 15 judges are elected by the UN General Assembly and the Security Council for nine years at a time.

The decisions of the Court only bind the States if they have previously undertaken to respect them.

(© NTB)