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Netherlands prepares human rights violations case against Syria

Netherlands Foreign Minister Stef Blok announced the decision in a letter to Dutch legislators [Getty]

Date of publication: 18 September, 2020

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The Netherlands is preparing a case against Syria's government over human rights violations at the UN's highest court.
The Netherlands announced it is preparing a case against Syria at the UN's highest court, according to a Friday Reuters report, in a bid to hold the Syrian regime accountable for human rights violations such as torture and the use of chemical weapons on civilians.

“Today the Netherlands announced its decision to hold Syria responsible under international law for gross human rights violations and torture in particular,” Foreign Minister Stef Blok wrote in a letter to legislators, citing Damascus being party to the UN Convention against Torture.

Syria was informed of the decision, which could lead to a case at the International Court of Justice, the UN's court at The Hague that deals with disputes between nations.

The Netherlands took the legal step after Russia blocked many attempts at the UN Security Council to refer a case on human rights violations in Syria to the International Criminal Court, which is also based in The Hague, according to Reuters.

“The Assad regime has committed horrific crimes time after time. The evidence is overwhelming. There must be consequences,” wrote Blok. “Large numbers of Syrians have been tortured, murdered, forcibly disappeared, and subjected to poison-gas attacks, or have lost everything fleeing for their lives.”

The conflict in Syria has since 2011 killed at least 380,000 people and displaced around half of Syria's pre-war population.

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