At a Glance

“The Mechanism has an explicit nexus to criminal investigations, prosecutions, proceedings and trials… Specifically, the Mechanism is required to prepare files to assist in the investigation and prosecution of the persons responsible and to establish the connection between crime-based evidence and the persons responsible, directly or indirectly, for such alleged crimes… In essence, the Mechanism has a quasi- prosecutorial function.”

UN Secretary General’s Report A/71/755

EstablishedThe IIIM was established by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in 2016 after vetoes in the UN Security Council prevented referral of the Syrian situation to the International Criminal Court (ICC).    
LeadershipThe Head of the IIIM is appointed by the UN Secretary-General. The first head is Catherine Marchi-Uhel.  
Mandate  The IIIM is a justice facilitator working towards accountability for core international crimes, particularly war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, committed in the Syrian Arab Republic from March 2011 onwards. The IIIM does not have prosecutorial powers. Rather, it assists those jurisdictions which are leading investigations and prosecutions against suspected perpetrators of crimes in Syria.  
How does the IIIM do this?The IIIM collects evidence from a broad range of sources relevant to its work. This includes international and regional organisations, UN entities (including the Commission of Inquiry for Syria), States, CSOs, foundations and individuals. The IIIM also conducts its own targeted investigations, including interviewing witnesses, and collecting documentation and forensic material, as appropriate. Collection of evidence is in accordance with international criminal law standards.
Storage of InformationAll information and evidence gathered is stored in a dedicated Central Repository of Information and Evidence governed by strict confidentiality rules and rigorous information security measures. The Central Repository is separate from the IIIM’s other computer network and access is carefully controlled, even within the IIIM.  
Sharing MaterialThe IIIM shares material it collects and produces with competent jurisdictions, in response to requests for assistance (RFAs)– or proactively, when evidence in the Central Repository or analytical work produced is identified as being relevant to ongoing investigations. The material it shares may be a mix of raw information and evidence collected, analytical products and case files developed by the IIIM. Analytical products and case files are prepared to a legal standard that enables jurisdictions to include them in their criminal case files. The IIIM only shares with competent jurisdictions that meet the required human rights standards and do not apply the death penalty for the offences under consideration.  
Criminal Law StandardsThe IIIM uses criminal law methodology and standards at each stage of its work. This makes it easier for prosecutors to integrate products and material that the IIIM shares into their cases and maximises the likelihood of their use in legal processes. The aim is to establish individual criminal responsibility for crimes beyond a reasonable doubt.  
Reporting      The IIIM does not report publicly on the content of its work. It submits an annual report to the General Assembly on its activities, priorities and funding requirements, while preserving the confidential nature of its substantive work.
Engagement with Syrian Civil SocietyThe IIIM is mandated to establish two-way dialogue with Syrian civil society organisations (CSOs) and engage with them via regular consultations, targeted outreach events, biannual dialogue meetings along with distributing regular newsletters providing updates on its work.   The IIIM formalised its operational engagement with Syrian CSOs by signing a Protocol of Cooperation in 2018 to provide a general framework for engaging with the IIIM. When appropriate, the IIIM also enters into individual MoUs with specific CSOs setting out practical and individualised details with those seeking to share material.  
In Country Access  No access inside Syria.
What the IIIM Is NotIt is not a court or tribunal. It does not have prosecutorial powers and cannot bring a case to court, issue convictions or impose sentences.  
What the IIIM Does Not DoIt does not share material with any actors except those with jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute cases who meet the criteria set out in its mandate. It does not cover crimes committed before March 2011. It only covers violations of international criminal law and international human rights law. It does not search for the missing, but it does support those mandated to do so as part of its support for broader justice objectives.