24 May 2016
Geneva (Issued as received) – The United Nations mandated Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic expresses outrage at yesterday’s terrorist attacks in the cities of Tartous and Jableh that have reportedly killed scores of civilians. The terrorist group, the so-called ISIS, has claimed responsibility.
These assaults, utilising both suicide attackers and vehicle-born improvised explosive devices, were carried out in areas known to be peaceful and civilian. In Tartous, the primary target was a bus station. In Jableh, the attacks were focused on a hospital, resulting in the reported killing of patients, visiting family members, doctors and nurses.
“These attacks bring chaos and terror to areas of the country where some degree of normal life was still possible,” said Commission Chair Paulo Pinheiro. “The Commission stands in solidarity with the Syrian people in demanding that all parties to this war reject such reprehensible violence and take every possible step to protect civilians,” Pinheiro added.
Noting that hospitals and medical personnel are specifically protected under international humanitarian law, the Commission stresses that attacks targeting protected locations or which fail to distinguish between civilian and military targets may amount to war crimes. It is essential that perpetrators of such crimes be held accountable.
At this time, when the focus of international efforts is on finding a path to peace and reaffirming the cessation of hostilities, there must be greater efforts to ensure that civilians and civilian areas are protected, particularly from terrorist attacks.
The Commission of Inquiry on Syria was established by the Human Rights Council in August 2011 to investigate and record all violations of international human rights law and allegations of crimes against humanity and war crimes. The Commission is also tasked to identify, where possible, those responsible for these violations with a view to ensuring that perpetrators are held accountable.
The Commission comprises of Mr. Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro (Chair), Ms. Karen Koning AbuZayd, Ms. Carla del Ponte, and Mr. Vitit Muntarbhorn.
The Commission of Inquiry on Syria will present an oral update to the Human Rights Council in Geneva during an interactive dialogue at its 32nd session in June.
Additional information about the Commission of Inquiry and links to all available reports can be found on their website:
Media contact: (Geneva) Rolando Gómez, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Tel: +41-22-917.9711, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For use of the information media; not an official record