On Wednesday 11 January, Fadel Abdul Ghany, Chairman of the Syrian Network for Human Rights and Husam Alkatlaby, Executive Director of the Violations Documentation Centre met with UN investigators from the independent international Commission of Inquiry on Syria to present detailed evidence of Russian and Iranian war crimes in Aleppo and to demand an impartial investigation of their atrocities in the formerly besieged city, as required by the upcoming UN special inquiry on the situation in Aleppo.
During their highly productive and informative meeting, Abdul Ghany and Alkatlaby discussed the 15 December 2016 dossier that they, the White Helmets and Independent Doctors Association submitted to the Commission, identifying 304 incidents in which there was a “high likelihood” that Russia violated international humanitarian and human rights law in Aleppo. Russian attacks in Aleppo include the bombing of hospitals and other vital health facilities, indiscriminate attacks on women and children, the use of banned and incendiary weapons, and attacks on humanitarian aid convoys.
Speaking after the meeting, the Violation Documentation Center’s Alkatlaby said: “Russia’s and Iran’s war crimes undermine efforts to achieve a political solution in Syria, and add to the culture of impunity which has cost half a million Syrian lives, displaced 11 million people, and led to the arbitrary arrest and disappearance of over 100,000 innocent people. We were encouraged by the Commission of Inquiry’s strong reception to our evidence, and we are confident that they will uphold their special responsibility to expose Russia’s and Iran’s war crimes in Aleppo—and across Syria—to ensure that justice is served and that such attacks anywhere in the world are deterred.”
“In the coming months, we look forward to working closely with the Commission’s investigators and the whole of the United Nations to ensure that Russia, Iran and all perpetrators of human rights abuses throughout Syria are held to account”, the Syrian Network for Human Rights’ Abdul Ghany said.
“The upcoming results of the Aleppo Special Inquiry – expected by March 2017 – will be critical to ensuring justice for the victims of war crimes in Aleppo and a lasting political solution for Syria. Without justice and concrete measures to prevent and punish the indiscriminate killing of civilians by Russia, Iran or any other party to the Syrian conflict, no political deal will be sustainable. We believe that the Commission of Inquiry understands this, and are hopeful that it will not cede to pressure to stay silent on Russia’s and Iran’s brutal and illegal actions in Aleppo”, Abdul Ghany and Alkatlaby said.
To read the full dossier of evidence presented to the UN Commission of Inquiry, press here.