The Security Council has to Prevent a Second Rwandan Genocide in Syria
SNHR has released the report: “Detailed Account of the Russian-Syrian Attacks on the Neighborhoods of Eastern Aleppo after 25 Days of the Second Cessation of Hostilities Statement”
The report documents the most notable violations of human rights that were perpetrated by government forces and their allies the Russian forces in the 25 days following the end of the Cessation of Hostilities statement. The report draws upon the archive that has been built through the daily and ongoing process of documentation and monitoring over the course of the period of time covered by the report in addition to accounts from survivors and eyewitnesses.
The report notes that neighborhoods of eastern Aleppo have been under siege since the beginning of September 2016 where the medical situation is deteriorating in light of the shortage in medical resources and the medical points’ and hospitals’ limited capacity that is unable to take in the huge numbers of the injured. Furthermore, the Syrian regime and its allies are blocking the passage of any relief aids and preventing any residents from getting in or out of the neighborhoods.
Fadel Abdul Ghani, chairman of SNHR, says:
“The United Nations General Assembly and the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic are responsible for this failure in putting an end to the genocide in Syria which brings us back to the same scenario in Rwanda. History will never forget the presidents of the current member states of the Security Council.”
The report documents the killing of 361 civilians among whom were 287 civilians who were killed by Russian forces including 82 children and 46 women while government forces killed 74 civilians including 14 children and nine women.
Also, the report records 13 massacres and 22 incidents of attack on vital civil facilities by Russian forces whereas government forces perpetrated three massacres and carried out four attacks on vital civil facilities.
Moreover, the report documents six attacks that involved the use of incendiary weapons by forces we believe are Russian and 151 barrel bombs that were dropped by government forces helicopters on the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo city.
The report stresses that the Russian and Syrian regimes have, beyond any doubt, violated Security Council Resolutions 2139 and 2254 which both state that indiscriminate attacks must be halted. Also, they violated Article 8 of Rome Statute through the act of willful killing which constitutes war crimes.
Additionally, the bombardment mentioned in this report has targeted armless civilians. Therefore, the Russian and Syrian forces have violated the rules of the international human rights law which guarantee the right to life. Additionally, these violations were perpetrated in a non-international armed conflict which amount to a war crime where all elements were fulfilled.
The report calls for investigations to be launched regarding the mentioned incidents. Also, the Syrian people must be informed about the findings of these investigations and all those who were responsible must be held accountable. Additionally, all affected centers and facilities must be compensated, rebuilt and re-equipped. In addition, all the families of the victims and wounded, who were killed by the present Russian regime, must be compensated.
Also, the recommendations included a call on the Security Council to take additional steps as it has been a year since Resolution 2254 was adopted which states explicitly “that all parties immediately cease any attacks against civilians and civilian objects as such, including attacks against medical facilities and personnel, and any indiscriminate use of weapons, including through shelling and aerial bombardment.”
The report calls for the referral of the Syrian case to the International Criminal Court and for all those who were responsible to be held accountable including the Russian regime whose involvement in war crimes has been proven. Furthermore, the Security Council has to instill peace and security in Syria and implement the norm of the Responsibility to Protect in order to save the Syrian people’s lives, culture, and arts from being destroyed, stolen, and ruined. Lastly, the report calls on the Security Council to expand the sanctions to include the Russian and Iranian regimes who are directly involved in committing crimes against humanity and war crimes against the Syrian people.