New York City Bar Association Urges UN Security Council to Refer Syrian Human Rights Violations to the International Criminal Court

The New York City Bar Association sent a letter today to the members of the United Nations Security Council, urging that they act on a resolution before them addressing widely-reported gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the government of Syria against civilians by referring such conduct to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for investigation.

“In August 2011, a United Nations fact-finding mission documented grave abuses committed by the Assad regime, including killings, forced disappearances, deprivation of liberty and even the torture of children, as well as use of snipers and a ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy against protesters. It concluded that the pattern of abuse may amount to crimes against humanity,” states the letter signed by City Bar President Samuel W. Seymour.

Recently, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution urging firm UN action in Syria. “Because Syria has not ratified the Rome Statute, any crimes committed by the Syrian government against its citizens threaten to go unpunished absent Security Council action to refer those crimes to the ICC in accordance with Article 13(b) of the Rome Statute,” states the letter. “With its referral to the ICC of the situation in Libya, the Council has demonstrated that it is equipped to act swiftly in the face of international crimes. The people of Syria are no less deserving of justice and accountability.”

The letter may be read here: