Joint Statement by Canada and the Netherlands on the Syria provisional measures hearing at the International Court of Justice

Today, Canada and the Netherlands asked the International Court of Justice to order Syria to immediately cease its systematic practice of torture and other forms of ill-treatment.

In June of this year, our two countries started legal proceedings before the Court to hold Syria accountable for its violations of the Convention against Torture. There is overwhelming and compelling evidence that Syria has committed - and continues to commit - serious human rights violations on a massive scale against its people.

Since at least 2011, tens of thousands of Syrians have been tortured, murdered, sexually assaulted, forcibly disappeared and subjected to chemical weapons attacks. These human rights violations at the hands of the Syrian regime must stop.

Canada and the Netherlands are guided by the strong conviction that there can be no sustainable peace and lasting reconciliation in Syria without justice for victims and survivors. We remain committed to upholding compliance with international law. We call on all States and the international community to support accountability efforts for Syrians.

It is regrettable that Syria chose not to appear today in these important proceedings, particularly in light of the three month postponement granted to facilitate its participation.

Victims and survivors have waited long enough. Canada and the Netherlands are hopeful that the measures requested will be granted by the Court. This is an important step on the long road towards truth, justice and accountability for Syrians.