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PHR Asks to Refer Syrian Crisis to the International Criminal Court

For Immediate Release

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is calling on the United Nations Security Council to refer the escalating Syrian conflict to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in order to hold perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity accountable.

PHR is supporting House Resolution 229, a bipartisan bill co- sponsored by Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) and Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), which calls on the court’s prosecutor to investigate the situation in Syria and charge those responsible for the crimes.

“The magnitude and nature of the atrocities taking place in Syria demand an investigation by the International Criminal Court,” said Hans Hogrefe, PHR’s chief policy officer and Washington director.  “Referring the escalating conflict in Syria to the ICC is a crucial step for ensuring those responsible for heinous human rights violations are brought to justice, so that these kinds of attacks do not go unpunished. It sends an unequivocal message from the international community that the bloodshed in Syria must stop.”

The Syrian conflict has led to an estimated 70,000 deaths, about 2.5 million people being displaced, and countless others being subjected to sexual violence and torture. PHR has documented attacks on the medical community in Syria, including torture and killings of health care providers and deliberate obstruction of necessary medical treatment.

The ICC is a permanent court designed to try perpetrators of the world’s worst crimes when national governments are unwilling or unable to do so. Syria is not a member of the ICC and therefore a referral by the UN Security Council is necessary for the Court to have jurisdiction over the situation.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.

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