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Failing Diplomatic Talks Show Need for a Different Path

(Geneva) – Almost three in every four people responding to a new poll in 10 European countries want their governments to work for an international treaty prohibiting lethal autonomous weapons systems, Human Rights Watch said today. At…
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Human Rights Council Panel commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Genocide Convention

As we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Genocide Convention, I wish to address the crucial role of the International Criminal Court in realizing its ideals. This year also marks the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the ICC’s…
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Many Countries Call for Law to Keep Human Control

(Geneva) – Countries meeting in Geneva on November 13-24, 2017, missed a chance to move ahead to prevent the development of weapons systems that would select and engage targets without meaningful human control, Human Rights…
As the debate about “killer robots” continues, the threat they pose looms large.
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Armed conflicts that have given rise to horrific war crimes in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and South Sudan are all beyond the reach of the ‘court of last resort,’ the International Criminal Court (ICC). But domestic courts in Europe are stepping into the void and…
Former Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon
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Security Forces, Prisoners, Women, Among Those Executed

(Erbil) – The Islamic State (also known as ISIS) executed and dumped the bodies of possibly hundreds of detainees at a site near Mosul, Human Rights Watch said today. Multiple witnesses told Human Rights Watch that the bodies of those killed,…
‘Hammam al-Alil mass grave marked and fenced’ Caption: A marked and fenced ISIS mass grave in Hammam al-Alil, 30 kilometers south of Mosul, discovered in November 2016.
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“Unimaginable Horrors”

The “unimaginable horrors” that the Islamic State (ISIS) is committing against the minority Yezidis, documented in a report released on June 16 by the UN-mandated Independent International Commission of Inquiry (COI) on the Syrian Arab Republic, shows the…
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Essential for Durable Peace

(New York) – Justice for Syrian victims and accountability for those who have committed grave abuses should be on the agenda at United Nations-mediated peace talks in Geneva. The Syrian government and major Syrian opposition groups will meet in Geneva on…
Relatives mourn as a man carries the body of a dead boy in a blanket at a site hit by what activists said was a barrel bomb dropped by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the Sheikh Khodr area in Aleppo on September 30, 2014.
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Repeated Strikes on Douma Kill At Least 112

(New York) – The United Nations Security Council should impose an arms embargo on the Syrian government following the government’s repeated air attacks on Douma’s popular markets and residential areas on August 16, 2015. The attacks killed at least 112…
Syrian emergency personnel gather around dead bodies wrapped in shrouds following air strikes by Syrian government forces on a marketplace in the rebel-held area of Douma, east of the capital Damascus, Syria on August 16, 2015.
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July 17, International Justice Day, is a reminder both of how difficult it is to bring the people responsible for the world’s worst crimes to justice and of how crucially important it is not to give up. Over the past two decades, trials for…
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In Face of Mounting Pressure, Russia, China Block ICC Referral

(New York) – The Russian and Chinese vetoes on May 22, 2014, of a UN Security Council resolution to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC) betray victims of serious crimes there. The resolution has broad international…
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UN Security Council Should Adopt French-Proposed Resolution

(New York) – Fifty-eight countries issued a statement and letter on May 19, 2014, calling on the United Nations Security Council to adopt a French-proposed resolution to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The countries…
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Statement by Civil Society Organizations on Need for Justice

(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…
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Russia, China Should Not Veto Referral

(New York) –The United Nations Security Council should urgently pass a new French-proposed resolution to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC), Human Rights Watch said today. Russia and China should not veto the measure.…
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ICC Important First Step to Address Impunity

(New York) –France’s steps at the UN Security Council toward an ICC referral for Syria give momentum to international efforts to ensure justice there, Human Rights Watch said today. Security Council members and other countries alike should express support…
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Recently, US Secretary of State John Kerry reported that President Obama had asked his top aides for new policy options to address the situation in Syria. Though Kerry didn't elaborate what exactly was under consideration, one option the White House hasn’…
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ICC, Other Measures Essential to Combat Climate of Impunity

Concerned governments should take steps toward a comprehensive approach to accountability for the serious crimes committed in Syria, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Policymakers and international donors who support credible criminal…
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Introduction I. The International Criminal Court A. The ICC’s Value-Added in Syria B. The Need for Increased Support for the ICC C. The Imperative of an “ICC referral” D. The Drawbacks of an Ad Hoc Tribunal for Syria II. National Prosecutions in Syria A…