Crimes Against Humanity in Syria Should Be Referred to International Criminal Court
Washington, D.C. – Following reports that more than one hundred civilians, mostly women and children, were killed by summary execution in El-Houleh region of Homs, Human Rights First calls on the United Nations Security Council to immediately pass a resolution referring these and other crimes against humanity committed in Syria since April 2011 to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for investigation. Summary executions, which have been reported on an ongoing basis during the 14 month uprising, constitute crimes against humanity under international law, as do widespread acts of arbitrary arrest, detention and torture against opposition activists, and the systematic use of heavy weaponry to indiscriminately shell civilians areas, all of which have also been consistently reported by human rights organizations since last year. In April 2012 the U.S. Senate adopted a resolution led by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and co-sponsored by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Amy Kloubuchar (D-MN), Mark Kirk(R-IL), Susan Collins (R-ME), Dan Coats (R-IN), John McCain (R-AZ) and Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), commending President Obama for his use of the U.S. vote in the United Nations Security Council to further condemn widespread gross human rights violations in Syria. This resolution also calls on President Obama to use his authority to take action to ensure that the Government of Syria, its leaders, and senior officials who are responsible for crimes against humanity are brought to account. “While the United States cannot stop the violence in Syria on its own, its leadership is essential if the perpetrators of atrocities are going to pay the price. President Obama can exhibit this leadership by calling on the UN Security Council to refer ongoing crimes against humanity to the ICC for investigation without delay,” said Human Rights First’s Sadia Hameed.