Delivered by H.E. Ms. Miia Rainne, Chargé d'Affairs, Deputy Permanent Representative of Finland to the United Nations, on 1 April 2022.
The conflict in Syria has been one of the bloodiest in recent history. Starting out as a peaceful popular uprising, the escalating violence, caused by the regime’s brutal crackdown, has over the past 11 years led to the disappearance or death of hundreds of thousands of Syrians. Thousands more have been subject to torture, rape, or other forms of cruel and degrading treatment. Millions have fled their homes. Towns and cities have been left in ruins.
All parties have committed countless atrocities during the protracted conflict. It is well documented, not least by the IIIM, that the Syrian regime bears the main responsibility for most of the flagrant violations of international law, including international human rights law and international humanitarian law.
There can be no impunity. All perpetrators must be brought to justice. This is necessary not only to ensure justice for victims, but also to prevent and deter future violations. Ensuring accountability is also an integral part of our obligation to respect and ensure compliance with international law.
I wish to thank the Head of IIIM, Madame Marchi-Uhel, for presenting the latest report today. The report shows that despite the many ongoing challenges to its work, the Mechanism has been very successful in continuing to implement its vital mandate.
The number of States cooperating and requesting assistance from the mechanism continues to increase. We welcome the extensive cooperation of the mechanism with other parts of the UN System, the OPCW, as well as civil society. It is harnessing new technologies to fight impunity. We also welcome that the Mechanism has opened two new case files focusing on unlawful attacks, including conventional and chemical attacks. It has made significant headway in its analytical work on detention-related crimes, as well as cross-cutting thematic work on gender, children and missing persons.
The Nordic countries highly appreciate all the work undertaken by the Mechanism. We also commend the ongoing efforts in the courts of a number of countries to prosecute, on the basis of universal jurisdiction, crimes committed in Syria. We however need to do more. In this regard, we also reiterate our call to the Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court.
Member States’ collaboration with the IIIM is key in achieving accountability. We call on all States to cooperate with the Mechanism in information sharing and to provide it with the necessary operational support.
The important work of the IIIM necessitates sustainable and predictable resources. The Nordic countries remain convinced that this can only be guaranteed through funding from the UN Programme budget. Assessed contributions may be supplemented, but never subsidized, by voluntary funding. We call on all Member States to ensure that the Mechanism has the necessary funding to carry out its mandate.
To conclude, Mr. President, the Nordic countries remain fully committed to the IIIM and its mandate.