Geneva / Information Office / February 26
HE Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani reaffirmed that punishing the perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious crimes in Syria has become an urgent humanitarian necessity before being a legal necessity, noting that statute of limitations does not apply in these crimes.
Speaking on Monday before the ministerial meeting on crimes committed in Syria and the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) in Geneva, HE the deputy prime minister and foreign minister said that the State of Qatar proposed holding a special meeting for the U.N. General Assembly to present the IIIM report, adding that work is currently underway to prepare for that meeting.
HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani noted that the violations are still ongoing either by the Syrian regime or the terrorist organizations, which is confirmed by reports of the United Nations and international organizations, including the report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, which confirmed that the Syrian regime forces used chemical weapons against civilians in the town of Khan Shaykhun last April.
It is now clear after seven years of the crisis, HE the deputy prime minister and foreign minister said, that the Syrian national judicial system is unable or unwilling to pursue any party that has committed any of the brutal crimes in Syria as well as the failure of the international community to refer the issue of these crimes, war crimes and crimes against humanity to the International Criminal Court.
HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani added that the State of Qatar's participation in the meeting culminates its efforts over the recent years in the pursuit of a noble goal that combines the promotion of the principles of justice and righteousness, the humanitarian and moral duty, and the shared responsibility in dealing with crimes against humanity.
He noted that the State of Qatar, in partnership with the Principality of Liechtenstein and friendly countries, has been pushing for the establishment of a neutral and independent international mechanism to assist in the investigation and prosecution of persons responsible for the serious crimes committed in Syria since March 2011.
The State of Qatar's continuous efforts since the beginning of the Syrian crisis to put an end to the unprecedented violence and suffering inflicted upon the fraternal Syrian people were evident in supporting the political solution based on the Geneva Declaration and U.N. Security Council Resolution 2254 in a way that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people for security and stability, preserving Syria's territorial integrity, and sparing the country and the region any additional serious consequences, HE the deputy prime minister and foreign minister said.
He said that these efforts have been reflected in the continuous humanitarian support provided by the State of Qatar to the Syrian people in the different fields, including support to preserve the young generation and ensure access to education.
HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani expressed hope that IIIM will positively contribute to achieving justice for the Syrian people. This, he said, requires activating this mechanism and moving towards independent and fair criminal proceedings.
He praised the mechanism's progress on its structural construction, the removal of obstacles to the exercise of its jurisdiction, tackling the criticism of the Syrian regime to it, and refuting any allegations or concerns about the its legality. He also welcomed the mechanism's preparation of its first report to facilitate accountability.
HE the deputy prime minister and foreign minister said commended IIM's coordination with the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria and its cooperation with Syrian civil society organizations in order to organize the exchange of information and evidence.
The State of Qatar had proposed that a special meeting of the U.N. General Assembly be held in order to present the IIIM report, he said, adding that the meeting is currently being arranged.
The progress of IIIM so far is only the first step to a new stage to achieve its objectives, HE the deputy prime minister and foreign minister said, adding that this requires support in order to enable the mechanism to properly carry out its responsibilities.
In this regard, HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said the State of Qatar had provided financial support of $1 million to IIIM. He thanked all the countries that provided financial support to the international mechanism and urged all countries and concerned parties to contribute to financing the mechanism and covering the deficit in its financing for the current year.
HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani wished that the meeting will result in tangible success in the work of the IIIM so as to serve as a deterrent against the recurrence of such crimes.