Boyle compares Syria action, dismisses UNHRC resolution as a "fraud"

[TamilNet, Friday, 06 April 2012, 23:53 GMT]
Dismissing the US sponsored United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution as "a fraud," Professor Francis Boyle, an expert in international law, said, "if the US were serious about Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes against the Tamils, US would have done something like it did to Syria this week." The U.S. State Department established a Clearinghouse on Syria and provided $1.25m to assist to "collect, collate, analyze, and securely store evidence, documentation, and other information concerning human rights abuses and violations, while protecting witnesses and sources."

While the conduct of the Syrian Government is similar to that of the Rajapakse Government in its crimes committed against the Tamils, the number of people affected in Syria is an order of magnitude less than that in Sri Lanka.

Boyle pointed out that until U.S. takes action similar to that it has taken against Syria in helping the Tamils to "collect, collate, analyze, and securely store evidence" that will enable the victims to "develop case dossiers that could support prosecutions in Syrian, hybrid, or international courts," diaspora should not be optimistic about U.S.'s intentions.

Full text of the announcement on Syria by the State Department follows:
    Recognizing that perpetrators of gross violations of human rights in Syria must be held to account, and that the Syrian people will lead the way, the United States will work with international partners to establish a Syria Accountability Clearinghouse that will support Syrian and international efforts to promote accountability. By providing a forum for coordination, the Clearinghouse will advance efforts to assist and train the Syrian people and partner organizations to collect, collate, analyze, and securely store evidence, documentation, and other information concerning human rights abuses and violations, while protecting witnesses and sources. The record that is compiled could be used for a broad range of transitional justice and reconciliation processes, including truth-seeking, memorialisation, and prosecutions. These efforts will also help develop trial-ready dossiers against individuals responsible for violations of international or domestic criminal law. The Clearinghouse will be guided by a Steering Committee of representatives of the Syrian people, cooperating states, and regional organizations.

    Projects that could be coordinated via the Syria Accountability Clearinghouse would aim to: Train and mentor Syrian investigators/lawyers, human rights actors, and other NGOs/independent actors to collect information about the full range of human rights abuses and violations.
  • Establish a secure storage facility, including a database, for collected information.
  • Establish protection and security best practices and procedures and seek assistance from states to implement them.
  • Establish a “Prosecutors’ Unit” to collect and analyze available evidence and develop case dossiers that could support prosecutions in Syrian, hybrid, or international courts.
There may also be ways for the Clearinghouse to complement the efforts of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which is facilitating safe and secure storage of information and evidence collected by the Commission of Inquiry.

The Syria Accountability Clearinghouse will maintain secure virtual linkages with affiliated groups and organizations around the world, including in Syria. The United States will provide an initial $1.25 million to support the Clearinghouse and related accountability efforts, and ask other partner nations and organizations to provide additional funding and support for these accountability efforts. While the US sponsored resolution's thrust was in the implementation of the recommendations of the LLRC, the recent "factual supplement" on Sri Lanka's war released by the US Office of Global Criminal Justice headed by Ambassador Stephen Rapp, pointed out the serious defects of the LLRC in addressing the International Humanitarian, and Human Rights Law violations.


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