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Syria: War Crimes

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 30th November 2016.

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Photo of Nigel Dodds Nigel Dodds Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Reform and Constitutional Issues), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Foreign Affairs), DUP Westminster Leader

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his international counterparts on potential investigations by the International Criminal Court into alleged war crimes committed in Syria.

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

The UK has publicly expressed its support for referring the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC). In May 2014, the UK co-sponsored a UN Security Council resolution to refer all those responsible for war-crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria, regardless of affiliation, to the ICC. Russia and China chose to veto this resolution. Russia has since vetoed five resolutions on Syria.

The UK has a long-standing commitment to accountability and this will not alter. The UK continues to believe that those responsible for war crimes must be held accountable, that any process of justice must primarily benefit Syrians and Syria as a country, and that the exact nature of the process is for Syrians to agree.

We fully support the work of the independent UN Commission of Inquiry and have stressed our support for their work in recent discussions with partners, including at recent sessions of the UN Human Rights Council. In support of a future process of justice, we have also supported with partners the compilation of case files of evidence of atrocities approximating to ICC standards, which may form an important part of a future process to hold those responsible to account.

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