On March 27, 2014 Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois asked for permission to address the United States Senate concerning a concurrent resolution to investigate war crimes in Syria:
“Mr. President, Senators RUBIO, MURPHY, KAINE, and I recently introduced in the Senate a concurrent resolution on the need for the investigation and prosecution of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide committed by any groups involved in civil war in Syria. Congressman Chris Smith has introduced the House version of this concurrent resolution. It calls for President Obama to have our Ambassador to the U.N. use the influence and vote of the United States to promote the establishment of a Syrian war crimes tribunal. The need is stark. Quite simply, the terrible crimes being committed in the civil war in Syria call out for justice. As such, the U.N. should establish a tribunal similar to the ones created in response to the charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in the former Yugoslavia, Sierra Leone, and Rwanda.
As the Syrian conflict entered its fourth year this month, the horrific violence there continues unabated. The losses from the conflict are staggering. According to some estimates the death toll has reached more than 146,000. There are an estimated 6.5 million internally displaced persons in Syria and millions of Syrian refugees have fled their country.
Last week I had the privilege of meeting with a number of dedicated Chicago-area members of the Syrian-American Medical Society who recently returned from a medical mission to treat Syrian patients in the north of Lebanon. They shared heartbreaking stories of the Syrian refugees they met and treated and appealed for continued international help for these millions of innocent victims. As a hearing I chaired in January on Syrian refugees illustrated, this humanitarian catastrophe has created grave challenges for neighboring countries that are hosting the vast majority of the refugees. Additionally, the fighting in Syria is inflaming sectarian violence in neighbors such as Iraq and Lebanon.
A staggering 9.3 million Syrians inside the country are estimated to be in need of assistance due to the conflict, and even more barbaric, starvation is being used as a weapon of war, with an estimated 220,000 people trapped in besieged areas in Syria. The Assad regime and, to a far lesser extent, some opposition groups have blocked humanitarian assistance in a deliberate effort to increase pressure on besieged civilians. If the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime wasn’t horrific enough, it has also utilized so-called barrel bombs, mixes of explosives and shrapnel stuffed into barrels, that helicopter gunships drop in civilian areas controlled by the opposition such as Aleppo.
The Syrian conflict has devastated even the most innocent members of Syrian society. I was deeply moved by the plight of the children when last year I visited Kilis, a Syrian refugee camp in Turkey. Yet sadly their plight continues. In January the U.N. issued a report which estimated that more than 10,000 children have been killed. UNICEF said in March that the real number is likely to be even higher. The January U.N. report stated that children in Syria experienced suffering which was “unspeakable.” Some of the reports of terrible abuses include sexual violence against children held in Syrian Government detention as well as minors being used in combat and as human shields. In addition, UNICEF released a report in March that estimated there are up to 1 million children who live under siege and in hard-to-reach areas that UNICEF and its humanitarian partners cannot access on a regular basis.
As my colleague Senator McCain mentioned in his remarks in February on the Senate floor, respected former war crimes prosecutors issued a report in January based on evidence they obtained regarding torture and murder by the Syrian regime. The report stated that the evidence–largely provided by a Syrian defector and which includes 55,000 photographic images of approximately 11,000 detained persons who had been tortured and killed by the Syrian regime–was credible. Additionally, these war crimes prosecutors noted that such evidence could support findings of war crimes as well as crimes against humanity against the Assad regime” (source: Congressional Record http://thomas.loc.gov/).
We tried to call Senator Durbin’s office in Washington D.C. to ask if the investigation will look into reports that the Obama Administration and the CIA helped supply weapons to terrorist entities in Syria and a staffer refused comment? Apparently the focus of the investigation will be entirely one sided in this case.
See related articles: CIA smuggling arms and weapons to rebel terrorists and murderers in Syria. Read more here: https://groundreport.com/cia-smuggling-arms-and-weapons-to-rebel-terrorists-and-murderers-in-syria/
See also: CIA feeding intelligence information to rebel terrorists in Syria. Read more here: https://groundreport.com/cia-feeding-intelligence-information-to-rebel-terrorists-in-syria/