Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic


For more than six years, the Commission has been independently and impartially documenting serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed by the parties to the conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic that has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands. Such violations have driven more than half of the population of the country to leave their homes. From its inception, the conflict was characterized by the utter disregard for the civilians that the parties to the conflict purport to represent and for international law. The present report demonstrates once again that civilians have not only been the unintentional victims of violence, but have often been deliberately targeted through unlawful means and methods of warfare. Arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, torture, and sexual and gender-based violence have all been used against thousands of persons in detention. Vital civilian infrastructure has been decimated by repeated attacks on medical facilities, schools and markets. Humanitarian aid has been instrumentalized as a weapon of war with siege warfare and denial of life-saving assistance used to compel civilian communities and parties to the conflict, alike, to surrender or starve. Despite this range of violations, Syrian victims have been denied any modicum of justice. In the report, the Commission signals its intention to help victims obtain justice and to pursue this task vigorously in the light of the evolving situation on the ground in the Syrian Arab Republic and the various ongoing efforts to bring the parties to the conflict to the negotiating table. Those developments provide new challenges — but also opportunities — to pursue justice for the victims. They will require, however, affirmation by all concerned that victims’ demands for justice and accountability are a central component of any negotiated settlement and any durable solution to achieve peace. There can be no tradeoff between that goal and a viable political solution.