[JURIST] The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria reported [text, PDF] Monday that the Syrian Arab Republic has committed numerous human rights violations [press release] including torture, sexual violence, use of excessive force and violations of the right to peaceful assembly. The investigation on which the report is based on was initiated [JURIST report] by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] after allegations [JURIST report] of international human rights violations during a crackdown on anti-government protesters since March of this year. The report stressed that due to Syria being a party to most major international treaties such as the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the state is obligated to respect and promote human rights of all persons. Consequently, the report concluded that the Syrian government and its officials have failed to comply with these responsibilities:
The prohibition of crimes against humanity is a jus cogens or peremptory rule, and the punishment of such crimes is obligatory pursuant to the general principles of international law. Furthermore, crimes against humanity are the culmination of violations of fundamental human rights, such as the right to life and the prohibition of torture or other forms of inhuman and degrading treatment. According to the principles of State responsibility in international law, the Syrian Arab Republic bears responsibility for these crimes and violations, as well as the duty to ensure that individual perpetrators are punished and that victims receive reparation.
The commission urged the Syrian Arab Republic government to take measures in order to end the continuance of human rights violations and to allow immediate and full access to UN human rights monitoring bodies.
The Syrian government has faced numerous allegations of human rights violations since March when the first anti-government protests started. Last week, the UN General Assembly’s Human Rights Committee approved [JURIST report] a draft resolution [text, PDF] condemning the Syria’s human rights violations calling for an immediate end to them. The death toll of Syrian protesters steadily increased since the beginning of the first outbreak of anti-government protests and earlier this month, the number exceeded 3,500 [JURIST report], an increase of 900 from September’s number [JURIST report]. The allegations of human rights violations continued to increase as well and last month, Syria was urged [JURIST report] to allow UN human rights experts to conduct investigations into these allegations. In August, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] recommended [JURIST report] the UN Security Council [official website] to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] for the violence against anti-government protests after her demand [JURIST report] to the Syrian government to stop the killings of protesters in March.
Opinions expressed in JURIST Commentary are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of JURIST's editors, staff, donors or the University of Pittsburgh.