Mar 17 2018

Syrian war crimes accountability body in funding difficulties

A United Nations body established in December 2016 to document war crimes in the course of the Syrian civil war is suffering from chronic funding problems, German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle said.

The “International, Independent and Impartial Mechanism to Assist in the Investigation and Prosecution of Those Responsible for the Most Serious Crimes under International Law Committed in the Syrian Arab Republic since March 2011” (IIIM) had enough support from the UN General Assembly for its creation, but strong opposition managed to deprive it of a budget allocation.

“The IIIM has just released its first report, outlining its goals and means, which notes that its estimated budget for 2018 is approximately $14 million,” the broadcaster said. “As of January 31, UN governments had pledged about $10 million, the report states, and delivered $7.6 million.”

Much of this funding has come from “non-traditional” donors in Africa and the Caribbean, and Human Rights Watch has warned that the European Union should step in to fill in the shortfall before it is too late.

"That's the moment to send political messages, and those political messages need to be backed by funding and pledges of further support for this mechanism," European Union Director for Human Rights Watch Lotte Leicht said, "We believe in justice, we will pay for justice, we will support justice in any way we can."