The International Mechanism of Evidence Collecting Concerning War Crimes
The Syrian Center For Legal Studies & Researches recently published a study regarding the Syrian circumstances and crimes committed in Syria. The Syrian Center discusses the Security Council resolution that established a committee collecting evidence about crimes in Syria that may be listed as crimes against humanity.
In Syria, grave crimes and violations of humanitarian international law has led to the final passing of Security Council Resolution No. 2235 after numerous vetoes by Russia. The resolution was adopted to form a joint investigation committee for one year. The committee was adopted in order to investigate the attacks in which chemical weapons have been used in Syria.
The study by the Syrian Center explores the resolution in five parts;
1- The conditions and motives behind passing the resolution and launching the mechanism
2- International resolution content
3- Structure, powers, and competence
4- Expected advantages of the new mechanism
5- Challenges related to mechanism
While the resolution was not clear on how it shall be applied, the Syrian Center study finds that it shall be applied in two significant levels. The first being the collecting, saving, and analyzing evidence about human rights violations and transgressions to help save them from any loss. The second level is the preparing files to facilitate and accelerate fair independent criminal procedures that go in line with international law standards at national, regional and/or international courts, or special courts that should consider these crimes whether now or in the future.
There are many expected advantages to the resolution, this study finds. First and foremost is the "transparency and independence principles that are adopted for dealing with conflict parties in Syria." The Syrian Center finds in the study that there is no need to resort for double standards pretext.
Another advantage to the resolution is the precedent it sets for future investigations. The Syrian Center says for the first time in history, "a mechanism has been created to collect evidence, and prepare records while crimes are still going on. Normally, judicial records are usually collected when these crimes come to an end."
With the numerous other advantages they found, the Syrian Center also realizes a few downsides to the resolutions. These include finances, assigning tasks, and establishing authorities. In terms of finances, the study concludes that if only governmental assistance is used, that would mean a fluctuation in funding that may also be subject to the political climate at the time.
The Syrian Center study finds that the UN is advancing in establishing new avenues for justice. If activated with the vigor it needs, the resolution will be vital to confronting war crimes and crimes against humanity. It will also affect the development of international laws by helping to develop future laws depending on the progress of considered precedents.
The study concludes that "we can discuss that creating this mechanism is a new victory in the process of establishing justice, not only in Syria, but also as far as international laws are concerned." With the hope that this step will help prevent crimes in other places, thus saving civilian lives.