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General Assembly – Plenary meeting on IIIM Syria

Statement delivered by Ambassador Maurizio Massari, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) to Assist in the Investigation and Prosecution of Persons Responsible for the Most Serious Crimes under International Law Committed in the Syrian Arab Republic since March 2011 —

Thank you, Mr. President.

Italy aligns itself with the statement delivered by the representative of the European Union and wishes to add some remarks in my national capacity.

Let me first thank Catherine Marchi-Uhel for presenting the eighth report on the work of the IIIM Mechanism which we wholeheartedly support .

Syria continues to represent the gravest security and humanitarian crisis of the past decade, with devastating impact on the whole of the Middle East and beyond. Those who have been suffering most have been the Syrian people facing systematic human rights violations, often as a result of attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure perpetrated in breach of the international humanitarian law. The only way out of such a prolonged crisis is to advance the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 2254 and its provisions, charting a path towards a peaceful solution to the conflict. We, therefore, fully support the efforts of the UN Special Envoy Geir Petersen.

Within this context, we believe that, to attain lasting peace, we must ensure full accountability for the most serious crimes committed by any party during the conflict, in particular, war crimes and crimes against humanity. This is not only a moral imperative, but also a deterrent for future violations and a fundamental step in any reconciliation process. Impunity in Syria, as everywhere, cannot go unpunished. Impunity should end. Justice for victims is an essential condition for sustainable peace in Syria.

It is in this spirit that Italy strongly supports the IIIM since its constitution together with the other UN bodies established for the purpose of accountability in Syria, as a key mechanism for the collection, consolidation, preservation, analysis and sharing of evidence of grave violations of human rights law and of international humanitarian law.

Italy is particularly appreciative of the progress achieved by the Mechanism during the reporting period and welcomes the growing cooperation between the Mechanisms and national authorities in investigating and prosecuting the gravest crimes committed in Syria. Italy has consistently held that domestic prosecutions and trials should be complemented by a Security Council referral of the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court.

The pattern observed in Syria over the past ten years has been a shocking one, with indiscriminate violence targeting often the most vulnerable, such as women, girls, children and minorities. Italy remains also deeply concerned about the large number of extrajudicial executions and missing or illegally detained persons, as well as about torture and gender-based violence cases occurred in detention centers. It is in this context that Italy wishes to express its appreciation for the efforts made by the Mechanism to develop thematic strategies focused on those vulnerable categories on the basis of a victim/survivor-centered approach. Inclusive justice for the Syrian people can be achieved only if the stories and perspectives of those who have suffered the most from the conflict are fully taken into account.

Finally, Mr. President, let me take this opportunity to reiterate Italy’s support for the IIIM’s funding through the regular UN budget. It is of the utmost importance that the Mechanism can count on a regular UN financial endowment in order to plan and progress in its work. Italy will continue to support, within UN competent bodies, a regular and adequate provision of funds for the Mechanism.

I thank you.