Pursuing Accountability in Syria

After over five years of war in Syria, civilians have not only been frequently caught in the crossfire, but have been intentionally targeted. According to an array of sources, homes, schools, hospitals, places of worship and cultural heritage have been destroyed - in particular during the recent siege of Aleppo - and civilians have been subjected to sexual violence, enslavement, terrorism, and other incidents. Additionally, acts undertaken by the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham against the Yazidi people in northern Iraq and Syria have sparked particular outrage and a push for accountability. In the view of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria, amongst others, many of these acts amount to genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. However, many of these incidents have been perpetrated with seeming impunity, particularly in light of the UN Security Council gridlock that has prevented a referral of the situation to the International Criminal Court.

Considering these ongoing atrocities, this episode of the podcast will examine the prospects for accountability for war crimes and other serious violations of international law in Syria, including the particular case of the Yazidis. Through discussions with experts and practitioners, the conversation will explore ongoing efforts to investigate, document, and prosecute these crimes while also supporting victims and affected communities. It will highlight challenges or gaps in available mechanisms for enforcement and consider alternative strategies for achieving justice.

February, 2017