56 Incidents of Attack on Vital Medical and Civil Defense and Red Crescent Facilities in November 2016
SNHR has published its special monthly report that documents the violations against medical and civil defense personnel and their facilities by the conflict parties in Syria.
The report stresses that government forces have been involved, since 2011, in targeting and bombing medical and civil defense facilities as well as the conflict parties that targeted medical and civil defense personnel in killing and arrest operations. This indicates a deliberate policy that only aims to kill more and depends the suffering of the wounded whether they were civilians or armed.
Fadel Abdul Ghani, chairman of SNHR says:
“The Russian attacks on medical and civil defense centers as well as medical and civil defense personnel are considered a blatant violation of the international humanitarian law and constitute war crimes considering the chaotic, and in many cases, deliberate, targeting of protected objects. All of this have only deepened the suffering of the wounded and injured and is one of the main reasons behind the displacement of the Syrian people as it sends a very clear message: there is no safe area, or a red line, including hospitals, you either flee or perish”
The report documents the killing of seven medical and civil defense personnel in November 2016 which are divided into four killed by government forces, one by Russian forces, and two by armed opposition factions.
The report breaks down the victims, where government forces killed two paramedics, one medical personnel, and one civil defense personnel while Russian forces killed one medical staffer. In addition, two civil defense personnel were killed by armed opposition factions.
Furthermore, the report documents 56 incidents of attack on vital medical and civil defense facilities including 32 attacks that were carried out by government forces where 13 medical facilities, four ambulances, and 15 civil defense centers were targeted. Additionally, Russian forces were responsible for 19 incidents of attack which targeted nine medical facilities, nine ambulances, and one civil defense center. Also, the report records one incident of attack on a medical facility by ISIS and two incidents of attack by armed opposition factions on a civil defense center and a vital center belonging to the Red Crescent. Finally, the report records two incidents of attack on two ambulances by unidentified groups.
The report implements a high-level methodology for documentation which relies on survivors and families’ direct accounts in addition to the process of verifying and analyzing pictures, videos, and some medical records. However, the report notes that this documentation doesn’t include all the cases light of the ban and pursuit by government forces and some of the other armed groups.
The report notes that Security Council Resolutions 2139 and 2254, which state that indiscriminate attacks must be halted, were violated in these attacks. Also, the crime of willful killing constitutes a violation of Article 8 of Rome Statute which amounts to war crimes.
Moreover, Syrian and Russian forces violated the rules of the international human rights law committing acts that constitute war crimes. Additionally, ISIS and armed opposition factions carried out acts that amount to war crimes through the crime of extrajudicial killing and targeting of vital civil centers.
The report calls on the Security Council to take additional steps as it has been more than two years since Resolution 2139 was adopted with no pledges to cease the indiscriminate bombardment operations being made.
The report emphasizes that the Security Council has to instill peace and security in Syria and implement the norm of “Responsibility to Protect” in order to save the Syrian people’s lives, culture, and arts from being destroyed, looted, and ruined. Also, sanctions must be expanded to include the Russian and Iranian regimes who have been directly involved in perpetrating crimes against humanity and war crimes against the Syrian people.
The report also recommends the implementation of the Responsibility to Protect (ICRtoP) norm after all others political routes were drought out through the Arab League and then Mr. Kofi Annan’s plan. steps under Article 7 of the Rome Statute must be taken and the norm of the Responsibility to Protect, which was established by the United Nations General Assembly, must be implemented as the Security Council is still hindering the protection of civilians in Syria. The report also calls for renewing pressure on the Security Council to refer the Syrian case to the International Criminal Court.
Lastly, the report urges international organizations to send volunteers to work in safe areas where wounded are sent for treatment especially after many death cases were documented where many patients died because of the limited medical resources.