19 Incidents of Attack on Vital Medical and Civil Defense Facilities in March 2017
SNHR has published its special monthly report that documents the violations against medical and civil defense personnel and their respective facilities by the parties to the conflict in Syria.
The report stresses that Syrian regime forces have been involved, since 2011, in targeting and bombing medical and civil defense facilities as well as the parties to the conflict that targeted medical and civil defense personnel in killing and arrest operations. This indicates a deliberate policy that only aims to kill more and deepen the suffering of the wounded whether they were civilians or armed.
Fadel Abdul Ghany, 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 16 medical and civil defense personnel, including one woman, in March 2017 which are divided into 11 killed by Syrian regime forces, 2 by forces believed to be Russian, 2 by ISIS, and 1 by other parties.
The report breaks down the victims, where Syrian regime forces killed 1 doctor, 5 paramedics, 1 Red Crescent personnel, and 4 civil defense personnel. Russian forces killed one nurse and one female pharmacist, while ISIS killed one doctor and one civil defense personnel. In addition, 1medical personnel was killed at the hands of other parties.
Furthermore, the report documents 19 incidents of attack on vital medical and civil defense facilities, and Red Crescent facilities including 12 by the Syrian regime who targeted 7 medical facilities, 3 ambulances, and 2 civil defense centers. Additionally, the report records 6 incidents of attack on medical facilities and 1 on a center belonging to the Red Crescent at the hands of Russian forces.
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 Syrian regime 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, have been 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 forces violated the rules of the international human rights law committing acts that constitute war crimes. Additionally, Russian forces, ISIS, and other parties carried out acts that amount to war crimes through the crime of extrajudicial killing or the targeting of vital civilian 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.