Statement by Civil Society Organizations on Need for Justice
May 15, 2014

(New York) – Over one hundred civil society groups from around the world issued the following statement today to urge the United Nations Security Council to approve a resolution to refer the situation in Syria to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court:

We, the undersigned civil society groups, urge United Nations Security Council members to approve a draft resolution supported by a broad coalition of countries that would refer the situation in Syria to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

More than three years into a conflict that has claimed well over 100,000 lives, according to the United Nations, atrocity crimes are being committed with complete impunity by all sides in the conflict, with no end in sight.

Neither Syrian authorities nor the leaders of non-state armed groups have taken any meaningful steps to ensure accountability for past and ongoing grave human rights crimes. The failure to hold those responsible for these violations to account has only fueled further atrocities by all sides. Against this background, we believe the ICC is the forum most capable of effectively investigating and prosecuting the people who bear the greatest responsibility for serious crimes and of offering a measure of justice for victims in Syria.

The latest report from the UN’s Syria Commission of Inquiry, published on March 5, 2014, also found that all sides to the Syria conflict continued to commit serious crimes under international law and held that the Security Council was failing to take action to end the state of impunity. The commission, which has published seven in-depth reports since its establishment in August 2011, recommended that the Security Council give the ICC a mandate to investigate abuses in Syria

The need for accountability in Syria through the ICC has likewise been supported by more than 60 UN member countries, representing all regions of world, including 10 of the current members of the Security Council. We urge all Security Council members to heed this call for justice. Other countries should publicly support the draft resolution and warn Russia and China against using their veto power to obstruct accountability for violations by all sides.

As a permanent international court with a mandate to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity when national authorities are unable or unwilling to do so, the ICC was created to address exactly the type of situation that exists in Syria today. Though the court's work can be only one piece of the larger accountability effort needed in Syria, it is a crucial first step.

We therefore strongly urge Security Council members to urgently act to fill the accountability gap in Syria. The people of Syria cannot afford further disappointment or delay.       


Co-signing organizations in alphabetical order

  1. Action des Chrétiens pour l'Abolition de la Torture, France
  2. Advocates for Public International Law, Uganda
  3. Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, Egypt
  4. Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, Australia
  5. Act for Peace, Australia
  6. Arab Coalition for Sudan, Sudan
  7. Arab Program for Human Rights Activists,Egypt
  8. Arab-European Center Of Human Rights And International Law, Norway
  9. Arab Foundation for Development and Citizenship, United Kingdom
  10. Andalus Institute for Tolerance and anti-Violence Studies, Egypt
  11. Benin Coalition for the International Criminal Court, Benin
  12. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Egypt
  13. Campaña Colombiana Contra Minas, Colombia
  14. Center for Media Studies and Peacebuilding, Liberia
  15. CEDAC,Burundi 
  16. Child Soldiers International, United Kingdom
  17. Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Belgium
  18. Club des Amis du Droit du Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo
  19. Coalition Ivoirienne pour la Cour Penale Internationale, Cote d'Ivoire
  20. Colombian Commission of Jurists, Colombia
  21. Community Empowerment for Progress Organization, South Sudan
  22. Conflict Monitoring Center, Pakistan
  23. Congress of National Minorities of Ukraine, Ukraine
  24. Comité Catholique Contre la Faim et Pour le Développement - Terre Solidaire, France
  25. Comision Mexicana de Defensa y Promocion de los Derechos Humanos, Mexico
  26. Comision de Derechos Humanos, Peru
  27. CSO Network, Western Kenya
  28. Dawlaty Foundation, Lebanon
  29. Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies, Syria
  30. Darfur Center for Transitional Justice & Peace Studies, Sudan 
  31. Democracia Global, Argentina
  32. East Africa Law Society, Tanzania
  33. Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, Egypt
  34. Elman Peace and Human Rights Center, Somalia
  35. Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network
  36. FN-forbundet / Danish United Nations Association, Denmark
  37. Franciscans International
  38. Fundación de Antropología Forense, Guatemala
  39. Friends For a NonViolent World, United States
  40. Friends Committee on National Legislation, United States  
  41. Georgian Young Lawyers Association, Georgia
  42. Genocide Alert, Germany
  43. GlobalSolutions.org, United States
  44. Global Justice Center, United States
  45. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, United States
  46. Gulf Centre for Human Rights, Lebanon
  47. Horiyat for Development and Human Rights, Libya
  48. Humanist Institute for Development Cooperation, The Netherlands
  49. Humanitarian Law Center Kosovo, Kosovo
  50. Human Rights First, United States
  51. Human Rights Watch
  52. Human Rights Institute of South Africa, South Africa 
  53. International Justice Project, United States
  54. International Commission of Jurists, Kenya
  55. International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, Nigeria
  56. International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, United States
  57. International Federation of Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture, France
  58. International Center for Policy and Conflict, Kenya
  59. International Crime in Africa Programme, Institute for Security Studies, South Africa 
  60. Interreligious Council for Peace Tanzania, (IRCPT), Tanzania  
  61. Insan, Lebanon
  62. Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights, United States
  63. Justice Without Frontiers, Lebanon
  64. Kenya Human Rights Commission, Kenya
  65. La Coalition Burundaise pour la Cour Penale Internationale, Burundi
  66. Lira NGO Forum, Uganda
  67. Ligue pour la Paix, les Droits de l'Homme et la Justice, Democratic Republic of Congo
  68. Media Foundation for West Africa, Ghana
  69. Minority Rights Group International, United Kingdom
  70. National Youth Action, Inc., Liberia
  71. No Peace Without Justice, Italy
  72. Norwegian People's Aid, Norway
  73. Optimum Travail du Burkina, Burkina Faso
  74. Open Society Justice Initiative
  75. One Earth Future Foundation, United States
  76. Pakistan Body Count, Pakistan
  77. PAX, The Netherlands
  78. Pax Christi International
  79. Parliamentarians for Global Action
  80. El Equipo Peruano de Antropología Forense, Peru
  81. Physicians for Human Rights, United States
  82. Pak Institute for Peace Studies, Pakistan
  83. REDRESS, United Kingdom
  84. Reporters without Borders, France
  85. Rencontre africaine pour la défense des droits de l’homme (Raddho-Guinée), Guinea
  86. Reseau Equitas, Cote D’Ivoire
  87. Samir Kassir Foundation, Lebanon
  88. Southern Africa Litigation Centre, South Africa
  89. South African Institute for Advanced Constitutional, Public, Human Rights and International Law, South Africa
  90. Syrian Network for Human Rights, United Kingdom
  91. Syria Justice & Accountability Center, The Netherlands
  92. Syrian American Council, United States
  93. Syrian Nonviolence Movement, France
  94. Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, United Kingdom
  95. Synergie des ONGs Congolaises pour la lutte contre les Violences Sexuelles, Democratic Republic of Congo
  96. Synergie des ONGs Congolaises pour les Victimes, Democratic Republic of Congo
  97. TRIAL, Track Impunity Always, Switzerland
  98. The International Federation for Human Rights, France
  99. The Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law, Sierra Leone
  100. The Association of Political Scientists, Greece
  101. The Sentinel Project for Genocide Prevention, Canada
  102. The Igarape Institute, Brazil
  103. The Arab World Center for Democratic Development, Jordan
  104. The United Nations Association of Sweden, Sweden
  105. The Canadian Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, Canada 
  106. United to End Genocide, United States
  107. Vision GRAM-International, Canada
  108. Violations Documentation Center, Syria
  109. Wake Up Genève for Syria, Switzerland
  110. West Africa Civil Society Institute, Ghana
  111. West African Bar Association, Nigeria
  112. World Federalist Movement, Canada
  113. World Federation of United Nations Associations
  114. Womens's International League for Peace and Freedom, Switzerland
  115. World Federalist Movement – Institute for Global Policy (WFM-IGP), United States
  116. Youth Action for Development (YAD), Republic of Burundi
  117. Zarga Organization for Rural Development, Sudan