Mixed Signals from International Community Enable Horrific Events in Syria

Press Release
August 26, 2013

Mixed Signals from International Community Enable Horrific Events in Syria

Contact: Sharon Singh, ssingh@aiusa.org, 202-675-8579, @AIUSAmedia

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Frank Jannuzi, Amnesty International USA deputy executive director, issued the following statement in response to statements by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry regarding recent developments in Syria:

"Mixed signals by the international community have contributed to the horrific events that have unfolded in Syria. The failure to ensure accountability for abuses committed by all sides has paved the way for the recent egregious alleged chemical weapons attack against civilians."

Secretary Kerry said, "President Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the most heinous weapons against the most vulnerable people."

(Jannuzi) "Establishing individual responsibility for such grievous violations of international humanitarian law is indeed essential. Letting violators off the hook could irrevocably damage the international norms that came from the darkest days of human history.

"But so far, the United Nations Security Council has not fashioned an effective response to the humanitarian and human rights crisis in Syria.

"The UNSC should immediately refer the situation to the International Criminal Court. And the United States should defend the world’s most cherished human rights principles and reaffirm its commitment to the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court as a matter of historical urgency."

Amnesty International generally takes no position on the use of armed force or on military interventions in armed conflict, other than to demand that all parties must respect international human rights and humanitarian law. Our primary concern in situations of armed conflicts is to ensure the protection of civilians and other non-combatants.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth, and dignity are denied.