Iraq News

UN Syria probe awash with war crime evidence

UN investigators gathering evidence against perpetrators of horrific crimes committed in Syria's war said Tuesday (March 27th) they had begun sifting through "unprecedented" amounts of information, AFP reported.

Catherine Marchi-Uhel, the French judge leading the new UN push to bring Syria's war criminals to justice, said "overwhelming" amounts of data were flooding in and it would be impossible for investigators to probe all of the crimes.

"We are faced with unprecedented volumes of information," she said, adding that her team was setting up IT systems capable of managing the vast amounts of data.

The International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism was created in 2016 to compile prosecutorial files that could be used by any jurisdiction, domestic or international, capable of acting against the perpetrators of major crimes in Syria.

Marchi-Uhel said the team, which is due to swell to 60 people, was still at the data gathering and sorting stage.

But she said it was already clear it was "not going to be in a position to investigate each and every crime. That would be an impossible task".

The team would focus on cases where it is possible to "establish responsibility of high-level perpetrators", and cases involving sexual and gender-based crimes as well as violations against children, she said.

"We are looking for individual criminal responsibility," she added, acknowledging that the options for prosecuting perpetrators were currently slim.

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