Netherlands and Canada Accuse Syria of Institutionalized Torture
The Netherlands and Canada have called out Syria in the International Court of Justice for torturing its own people. Syria has been accused of a years-long campaign of institutionalized torture and maintaining a widespread and pervasive system of abhorrent treatment.
A new report by the Syrian Network for Human Rights says the Syrian regime killed 15,051 individuals, including 190 children and 94 women, under torture in its detention centers since March 2011.
The group claims that nearly 136,000 people remain forcibly disappeared. The report stated that the Syrian regime does not notify victims’ families of their deaths in regime detention centers on the date of their death.
Families are informed by former prisoners or through multiple visits to the military police headquarters in Damascus. The Netherlands and Canada have been drawing on similar reports and evidence that proves the Syrian regime’s violations of the UN Convention Against Torture.
People in Syria are Suffering.
Rene Lefeber, a top representative for the Netherlands, told the ICJ that people in Syria cannot afford to wait any longer. He highlighted the testimony from detainees, of gang rapes, mutilation and a standardized method involving contorting people into a car tyre and administering a severe beating.
“It is our sincere belief that the lives and well-being of Syrians are at stake and require the court’s immediate attention.”
Teresa Crockett, the Canadian government lawyer, said Syria has systematically committed torture and subjected its population to other ill treatment on a massive scale. She believes that if this goes unchecked, Syria will continue with the violations.
Syria Absent from Proceedings
Alan Kessel, the head of Canada’s legal team, told the court that Syria’s decision not to participate in the proceedings does not shield it from the court’s directives. “We have given Syria an opportunity to here today. They chose, regrettably to be absent. This doesn’t mean that the world is absent.”
Both countries, Canada and the Netherlands, want the Assad-led Syrian government to respond and stop torturing. They also accused Syria of breaching the UN Convention against Torture and said the convention’s conflict resolution mechanism gives the Hague-based court jurisdiction to hear the case.