Remarks by Minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Blok during the Meeting of the Ministers of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS

Mr. Secretary of State, your Excellencies, colleagues,

Like others, I wish to praise the joint efforts of this Coalition. Together with our brave Iraqi partners, and under much appreciated US leadership, it has brought the military defeat of ISIS within reach.

We all agree: ISIS remains a threat. If we are serious about consolidating our military success in Syria and Iraq, we have no choice but to remain committed to the stabilization of the region. Reports coming from camps underline the need to ensure that civilians who have fled the fighting are taken care of and that they receive the necessary humanitarian assistance. The work in the Core, including our military effort, is simply not done.

We agree with others who stressed here today that our efforts should first and foremost focus on that Core – Syria and Iraq. Of course, the Coalition can have added value in other places where ISIS or its affiliates are looming. Here, voluntarism remains an essential principle, and duplication should be avoided.

Today, however, I wish to make a slightly different point.

I have made it earlier, including in the Security Council:

Durable peace cannot be reached by military means alone. 

Lasting peace is not possible without justice.

Without accountability.

Without fact finding and attribution.

In March, here in Washington, the Syria Justice and Accountability Centre will receive the Anne Frank Special Recognition Award for its important work to achieve justice for Syrians.

Such efforts need all of our support.

Fighters need to be held accountable for their crimes, among which possible acts of genocide.

The Foreign Terrorist Fighters working group is helping us to reach that goal, by involving experts from international organizations in the work of the Coalition.

I applaud this important work, necessary for durable peace to take hold.

Because justice may be slow, but in the end, it will have to be done.

Thank you.

Ministry responsible