03.24.15

Peters Cosponsors Legislation Investigating War Crimes in Syria

Bill Would Require State Department to Submit Report on Crimes Against Humanity in Syria

 

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) announced that he is co-sponsoring the Syrian War Crimes Accountability Act, legislation that would establish a standard of reporting and accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity occurring in Syria. The bill would require the Secretary of State to submit a report to relevant Congressional Committees on war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria no later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of the Act and 180 days after the cessation of violence in Syria.

“Both the Assad regime and extremist opposition forces, including ISIS and the Al-Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra Front, have resorted to torturing and killing innocent men, women, and children, and they must be held accountable for their unspeakable acts against the Syrian people,” said Senator Peters. “The United States must send a message to the citizens of Syria and the entire international community that these atrocities will not be tolerated and ensure the perpetrators of these heinous crimes are brought to justice.”

The United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria has reported that pro-government forces have murdered, tortured, assaulted, and raped civilians in Syria. Anti-government groups have engaged in murder, execution, torture, hostage-taking, and shelling of civilian neighborhoods. Since the conflict began in March 2011, over 200,000 Syrians have died, over 3 million Syrians have fled the country and at least 7.6 million are displaced within Syria.

Senator Peters has been outspoken in his condemnation of Bashar Al-Assad’s regime committing unspeakable acts of violence and torture, calling for Assad to resign as early as July 2011. As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Peters supported measures condemning the Assad regime’s violations of human rights and invited then- U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford to Metro Detroit for a community dialogue on Syria with Michigan’s Syrian community. Peters also previously co-sponsored the Nineveh Plain Refugees Act, a bill that would expedite the visa process for current or former residents of areas now controlled by ISIS that were subject to religious or political persecution.

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