The Syrian Opposition Coalition (SOC) welcomed the positive steps taken by the International Court of Justice to hold the Assad regime accountable for the crimes it has committed against the Syrian people from 2011 until now. The SOC affirmed that there can be no lasting peace in Syria without the pursuit of justice and the prosecution of those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria.

In a press release issued on Thursday, the SOC said that the efforts to attain justice for the victims and their families hold the utmost importance and enjoy unanimous support from the Syrian people who eagerly anticipate justice for the victims of these heinous crimes and violations.

The SOC commended the joint efforts of the Netherlands and Canada in filing a lawsuit against the Assad regime for its violations of the Convention against Torture, including the use of torture, inhumane and illegal punishment, enforced disappearances, sexual violence, violence against children, and the use of internationally banned chemical weapons against innocent civilians.

The SOC called upon the international community to take concrete actions in holding the Assad regime accountable, both through international courts and the jurisdiction of national courts. It is imperative to remove obstacles hindering the effectiveness of the International Criminal Court, particularly by fully implementing the United Nations Charter, which regulates the principles of participation in voting within the Security Council. Special emphasis should be placed on the third paragraph of Article Twenty-Seven, which pertains to preventing state parties to a conflict from voting on resolutions, thereby avoiding the repeated and semi-permanent disruptions of the UN Security Council.

The SOC also urged the United Nations General Assembly to consider the ongoing failure of the Security Council to refer war crimes resulting from the conflict to the International Criminal Court due to the repeated use of the veto by a state party to the conflict. The General Assembly should apply the “Uniting for Peace” principle as a means of addressing this issue.

Furthermore, the SOC called on the International Court of Justice to persist in its examination of the case filed by Canada and the Netherlands until a just ruling is issued. It is regrettable that the Assad regime has refused to attend its sessions in an attempt to obstruct its work.

The SOC emphasized the pivotal role of the international community in preventing further destabilization in Syria and the broader region, which poses a threat to international peace and security. Achieving justice, reinvigorating the political process, and implementing Security Council Resolutions 2118 (2013) and 2254 (2015) are essential steps in this regard.