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Letter: 58 States Call on UN Members to Co-Sponsor the French Resolution Referring Syria to the ICC

To All UN Member States and Observers

I am writing to you on behalf of the following 58 States: Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria,
Belgium, Botswana, Bulgaria, Cape Verde, Chile, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cote d'lvoire, Croatia,
Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary,
Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Maldives, Malta,
Marshall Islands, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay,
Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, San Marino, Samoa,
Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tunisia,
United Kingdom, Uruguay, and my own country, Switzerland.
You may recall that on 14 January 2013, the same group of 58 States sent a letter to the President
of the Security Council expressing our firm view that the Council must ensure accountability for the
crimes committed in the Syrian Arab Republic. We asked that the Security Council act "by referring
the situation in the Syrian Arab Republic as of March 2011 to the International Criminal Court (ICC)
without exceptions and irrespective of the alleged perpetrators".
Since then, the conflict has only grown in intensity and scope. More than 150,000 are estimated to
have died, many of them civilians. Over 2.7 million have fled the country as refugees, and more
than 6.5 million are internally displaced. Abuses and violations of international humanitarian law
and human rights law continue on a daily basis and in a pervasive climate of impunity; many have
been documented. The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has repeatedly called
for a referral, and so has the UN Human Rights Council's mandated Independent Commission of
Over one year after the collective call of the 58 States and on the basis of an initiative by France,
Council members will this Thursday take action on a draft resolution (attached) that would refer the
situation in the Syrian Arab Republic to the ICC. France has indicated that it will open the resolution
for co-sponsorship to the wider UN membership. To co-sponsor the resolution, delegations need to
submit a Rule 37 request to the Security Council Affairs Division. A copy of the signed letter
(sample attached) can be sent to or faxed to 1-917-367-0406.
While several members of the group would prefer a stronger language regarding the terms of the
referral and the support of the Organization, we all share the view that the initiative by France
represents the best opportunity to bring at last, three years into the Syrian civil war, the promise of
accountability to its war-ravaged people and at the same time to help deter further atrocities. Each
side of the conflict would be held accountable. According to the resolution, the ICC Prosecutor
would be empowered to investigate crimes committed by the Syrian authorities and progovernment
militias, as well as by non-State armed groups, all committed in the course of the
ongoing conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic since March 2011 .
Against this background, the 58 States strongly support the French in itiative. We call upon the
Security Council to adopt the resolution and we encourage UN member States, States Parties to
the Rome Statute or not, to send a strong message of political support by co-sponsoring the
resolution. The United Nations - the Security Council and the wider membership al ike - should be
united in acting for justice and accountability for the victims of the conflict in Syria.
I thank you in advance for your attention and your expression of support.
Please accept, Excellencies, the assurances of my highest consideration.
Paul Seger
Permanent Representative

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