Syrian refugees file ICC case against regime

A group of Syrian refugees on Thursday (March 7th) asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to open a case against the Syrian regime for crimes against humanity committed during the ongoing war, AFP reported.

The case against President Bashar al-Assad has been filed by British lawyers representing 28 refugees who have fled Syria to neighbouring Jordan.

Though Syria is not a signatory to the ICC, Jordan is. The lawyers are relying on the recent precedent before the ICC of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar who have fled to Bangladesh and argue that the same legal principle applies.

"The ICC exists precisely to bring justice to the victims of these most brutal international crimes," Rodney Dixon of London law firm Stoke White said after sending the communication to the court in The Hague.

"The devastating war in Syria has been going on for almost nine years now and no one has yet been held accountable for the hundreds of thousands of violations against civilians," he said.

"This case represents a genuine breakthrough for the Syrian victims," he added. "There is a jurisdictional gateway that has opened up finally for the ICC prosecutor to investigate the perpetrators who are most responsible."

Lawyers said the case would focus on the wider pattern of attacks and alleged crimes against the civilian population in Syria including torture, rape, chemical attacks and disappearances.

EU countries on Monday added Syria's interior minister Mohammad Khaled al-Rahmoun and six other new ministers to a sanctions blacklist for their role in the "violent repression" of civilians.

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