Joint Statement by Canada and the Kingdom of the Netherlands on the postponement of provisional measures hearings at the International Court of Justice to halt Syria’s torture practices

Canada and the Netherlands regret that the 19 and 20 July 2023 hearing before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) regarding their request for provisional measures to halt Syria’s ongoing acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment has been postponed by three months at Syria’s request. This hearing is now scheduled to take place on 10 and 11 October 2023.

Canada and the Netherlands started legal proceedings before the ICJ on 8 June 2023 to hold Syria accountable for its violations of the United Nations Convention against Torture, and to obtain provisional measures to cease the continuing acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment committed by Syria against its own people.

Victims and witnesses of Syria’s acts of torture and other human rights violations must now wait an additional three months as a result of Syria’s last-minute plea to the Court to delay the provisional measures hearing.

There is overwhelming evidence that Syria has committed and is committing serious human rights violations against the Syrian population on a massive scale. Since 2011, tens of thousands of Syrians have been tortured, murdered, sexually assaulted, forcibly disappeared and subjected to chemical weapons attacks.

Twelve years on, human rights violations at the hands of the Syrian regime persist. This must stop. Canada and the Netherlands therefore remain hopeful that the requested provisional measures will be granted upon the resumption of proceedings before the Court.

Canada and the Netherlands reiterate their unwavering commitment to justice for the people of Syria and accountability for the Syrian regime that continues to violate their rights.