Syrian Refugees Testimony: Will ICC pronounce Assad’s regime?

The case of Syrian refugees, who fled after being tortured during massacres, has reached the International Criminal Court (ICC). The refugees have submitted the documents of evidence to the ICC, seeking to prosecute the President, Bashar al-Assad.

Since, Syria is not a signatory to the court, based in The Hague, Netherlands, the lawyers are dependent upon a precedent set by the ICC in extending hegemony to all the areas of forcible population transfers.

The court opened the investigation last year, for alleged crimes against humanity, including the deportation cases of Rohingyas. Bangladesh, the place where the refugees fled, is a party to the Rome statute that established the ICC, just as Jordan, where Syrian refugees have found a new home.

There has been a mounting pressure on the ICC to take a step on the convictions filed against the Assad’s regime, but action is still awaited. The cases filed mention the use of chemical weapons and the mass killing of detainees in Syrian civil war.

Back in 2014, the United Nations (UN) security council asked for a draft resolution to refer Syria to the ICC. The move was heavily voted in favor by 13 of its 15 nations, but was vetoed by Russia and China.

The latest submission, therefore, just adds to the tally of prevailing cases of injustice carried out in Syria. The case is coordinated by the London barrister Rodney Dixon QC, of Temple Garden Chambers, working with solicitors Stoke White. The ICC’s prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, has been appointed to open the case against prominent Syrian officials for war crimes committed during the civil war in the region.

“The ICC exists precisely to bring justice to the victims of these most brutal international crimes. The devastating war in Syria has been going on for almost nine years now and no one has yet been held accountable for the hundreds of thousands of violations against civilians,” Dixon said.

He added: “This case represents a genuine breakthrough for the Syrian victims. There is a jurisdictional gateway that has opened up finally for the ICC prosecutor to investigate the perpetrators who are most responsible.”

British legal center, the Guernica Centre for International Justice, has also submitted a similar case, which is also based on the testimony of Syrian refugees in Jordan. Its co-founder, the barrister Toby Cadman, said that millions of victims have suffered from the actions of the Syrian regime and they fear being targeted by the regime on their return to Syria. The case is filed on account of 28 victims who illegally entered Jordan and are now putting up in refugee camps.

Though it remains unclear if ICC will finally deliver under pressure, but the current situation calls for a strict action to restrict the extent of menace caused by Assad’s regime.

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