Alert: Benlolo Investigates the ICC and UN Human Rights Commission Re War Crimes in Syria
02/25/21: In my column in today's National Post, I call on the International Court to immediately launch an investigation into war crimes committed by Syria and Bashar Al Assad. More evidence has come to light in recent days of some 50,000 photographs and documents that allegedly prove crimes against humanity have been committed.
In my investigation into these allegations, I contacted the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague directly to inquire if an investigation had been launched. The ICC advised me that it had not launched an investigation citing that Syria was not party to the Rome Statute and the matter had not been referred to the ICC by the UN Security Council.
The two excuses mentioned by the ICC appear to contradict its own mandate given it recently green-lighted an investigation into Israel and Palestinian allegations. Israel is not a party to the Rome Statute that governs the ICC, while the International community contends that the Palestinian Authority is not a sovereign state and therefore cannot be a party to the Rome Statute.
Yet, despite no referral from the UN Security Council, the ICC determined it is within its right to launch an investigation against Israel. If it created a loophole allowing for an investigation against Israel, then the case against Syria should be a no brainer. The ICC has now shown the world that it can very well find a way to empower itself. By not going after Syria, it is politicizing itself.
The UN's High Commission told me that it has repeatedly made several calls for an investigation to be launched against Syria by the ICC. Despite the fact it recently released a report that states that war crimes and possibly a genocide has been committed by Syria, the High Commission says it is now at an "impasse". It is waiting for the ICC to take action and in the meantime, is looking at "criminal justice" options.
The world community has a moral and ethical obligation to pressure the ICC and the UN High Commission on Human Rights to prosecute war criminals like Bashar Al Assad. If we learned anything from the Holocaust and from genocides that follow, it's that we cannot let war criminals get away with murder. In my column today, I wrote:
"Several years ago, I stood alongside several Holocaust survivors as we cried out against the gassing of Syrian civilians. Horrific pictures streamed across our television screens of children lying on the floor in agony, after breathing chlorine gas following an attack from Syrian forces. the many corpses lying on the street and in the makeshift hospitals were reminiscent of images we have seen from other genocides. For Holocaust survivors, seeing these types of images again was agony".
Pressure and social awareness must be brought to bear in order to force the ICC to act against war crimes in Syria. You can help create awareness and speak out by forwarding this alert to as many people as you can. Social change happens through social pressure.
To read my full article on the matter: https://nationalpost.com/opinion/avi-benlolo-why-do-we-continue-to-let-assad-get-away-with-murder
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