During an interview on the Justice Visions podcast, the Head of the IIIM, Catherine Marchi-Uhel spoke of the critical contribution Syrian civil society organisations, including victim/survivor groups and family associations, made in advancing justice and accountability.
Podcast link here
August 3, 2022 – The Head of the IIIM, Catherine Marchi-Uhel, participated in a virtual panel on Justice and Accountability organised by the Free Yezidi Foundation for the eight year commemoration of the Yezidi Genocide. During her remarks, Ms. Marchi-Uhel shared how specific areas of the IIIM’s work and products, in relation to the core international crimes committed by ISIL in Syria, included those committed against members of the Yezidi community.
Watch the discussion here from 1:16:10 to 2:44:08
IIIM Deputy Head Michelle Jarvis partook in the launching of the Anchoring Accountability for Mass Atrocities report, released by the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict (ELAC).
The report attempts to better understand the challenges arising for UN accountability mandates and how they can be best supported moving forward, looking in particular at the consecutive establishment and high performance of three independent UN investigative mechanisms (IIIM, IIMM and UNITAD).
In her intervention, Jarvis looked into the case for structural reform in the accountability landscape, especially vis-à-vis mainstreaming a VSCA into the work of accountability mechanisms, and the need for a centred but nimble information architecture accompanying it.
The video can be accessed via this link. Jarvis’ intervention is in the following segment: 1:02:36 – 1:11:09.
In the course of the Brussels VI Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region (9-10 May 2022), Head of IIIM Catherine Marchi-Uhel delivered a speech delineating the support provided by IIIM to justice actors.
The text of the speech can be accessed through this link.
The video of the speech can be accessed through this link.
In the course of the side event “Moving Forward on Truth and Justice: Addressing the crisis of missing persons and detention in Syria”, Head of IIIM Catherine Marchi-Uhel delivered a speech on the intersection between criminal accountability and the search for missing persons.
The side event was held on May 6th, 2022, on the margins of the Brussels VI Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region.
The text of the speech can be accessed through this link.
This article presents IIIM’s Chief of Information Systems Management Section (ISMS) Keith Hiatt, and how the ISMS has been an advent in evidence compilation for international criminal law.
The article is in French, and can be accessed via this link.
Text of the address by Catherine Marchi-Uhel, the Head of the IIIM, presenting the IIIM’s 8th report to the UN General Assembly on April 1, 2022. Ms. Marchi-Uhel gave the oral report, at the 65th plenary meeting in New York, under the agenda item “Prevention of Armed Conflict” and was followed by a debate of Member States.
General Assembly: 65th plenary meeting, 76th session.
Sub-item A of Agenda Item 35: “Prevention of Armed Conflict”.
The text of the address can be accessed through this link.
The records of the meeting and the UN summary can be accessed through this link.
The French National Assembly has passed a bill presented earlier by Government to authorise the approval of the international judicial cooperation agreement between the French Government and the IIIM. Amongst other things, the agreement would allow information to be transmitted from French courts to the IIIM, which had not been possible under current law.
To read more, click here.
Geneva, 13 January 2022 – The International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism – Syria (IIIM) welcomes the landmark judgement against Anwar R, at the Higher Regional Court in Koblenz, Germany. The former high-ranking Syrian official was found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in torture, murder and sexual violence in his previous position as Head of the Investigation Department of Branch 251 of the Syrian intelligence services.
This verdict concludes a trial that saw many survivors of Branch 251 give witness testimony, and prosecutors make use of evidence and information that many actors and particularly Syrians, have bravely documented, collected and shared with accountability bodies.
Catherine Marchi-Uhel, the Head of the IIIM, said “The Koblenz ruling is highly significant not only for the direct victims and survivors these crimes, but also for the victims and survivors of the many unaddressed past and on-going violations in Syria. We must acknowledge that there is still much work to be done for justice to be delivered. This verdict reminds us all of what is possible and should leave perpetrators of serious crimes in no doubt that there will be accountability for their actions.”
Germany’s use of universal jurisdiction holding perpetrators of international crimes committed in Syria accountable, shows the vital role national jurisdictions play in providing paths to justice for victims/survivors of crimes committed in Syria. While no international court currently exists, national jurisdictions must continue to uphold international law by bolstering their own laws and processes. The IIIM’s Central Repository of Information and Evidence is a powerful resource for national war crimes units seeking to investigate and prosecute suspects.
“Sharing evidence and analysis is one leg of what is essentially a lengthy relay race of many accountability actors,” Ms. Marchi-Uhel stated “Our role at the IIIM is justice facilitation. We make use of information and material we have collected from many others and share it along with legal analysis and other support to jurisdictions, with the hope that it leads to many more trials and verdicts like those in Koblenz.”
While the IIIM does not comment on its involvement in specific cases, it is a matter of public record that the IIIM is supporting German jurisdictions. The IIIM seizes all available avenues for justice and prepares for those that may emerge in the future. Its primary purpose is to assist competent jurisdictions seeking to investigate and prosecute alleged perpetrators of international crimes committed in Syria since 2011.
To download the Press Release, click here.
This op-ed examines the possibility of carrying out investigations into the war crimes that have been committed in Syria internationally, and how investigations at the national level have been more feasible yet remain marred by several barriers. To access this op-ed, click here.