German Statement during the UN General Assembly Meeting, Debate on the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM), 24 April 2024

International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism

International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism, © Germany UN

24.04.2024 - Speech

The Statement was delivered by Michael Geisler, Political Coordinator.

Thank you, Mr. President,

Germany aligns itself with the EU Statement.

We sincerely thank the Head of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism for Syria (IIIM), Ms. Catherine Marchi-Uhel for her continuous efforts and dedication to achieve justice and accountability for the most serious crimes committed in Syria. We are most grateful to Ms. Marchi-Uhel and her team for advancing the work of the IIIM and for the latest – the tenth – report underlining the progress made.

In March of this year, we commemorated the 13th anniversary of the uprising, where the Syrian people took to the streets in peaceful protest to demand their freedom and respect for human rights. With half of the population displaced, unprecedented levels of humanitarian needs and reports of severe human rights violations, there can be no “normalisation” without a comprehensive political solution in accordance with UNSC Res. 2254.

Accountability for such heinous crimes and deterrence of any more such atrocities – in Syria and beyond - remains ever so important. We are convinced that effective accountability is a precondition for sustainable peace. In relation to the magnitude of the most serious crimes committed in Syria, the number of prosecuted cases remains low. We therefore welcome the steady increase of prosecutions where the IIIM is in a position to support. It confirms its success and effectivity.

One of such examples where the IIIM has demonstrated tangible impact, is the arrest of a Syrian national accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes including torture and enslavement by the German Federal Prosecutor’s Office in August 2023.The IIIM supported the investigation with the provision of information and critical evidence, which helped adding war crimes to the charge. The investigative activities further led to findings of crimes committed in Damascus in 2013 and 2014 resulting in the indictment of two more Syrian nationals.

We are highly appreciative and extremely thankful for the close cooperation between the IIIM and the German Federal Prosecutor General and committed to continue working together on pending cases. Germany reiterates its firm political and financial support to the IIIM. We urge all member states to do the same and fully co-operate with the mechanism.

There is still substantial work left to be completed with regard to accountability and justice in Syria. We hope that Syrians themselves will be allowed to pursue accountability and justice in their country effectively and without fear in the future. Until this is possible, it is incumbent on all of us here to make sure the crimes committed in Syria do not go unpunished.

Thank you.

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