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Call on Congress to Refer Syria to the International Criminal Court

Torture, mass killings, unlawful detentions, acts of sexual violence, chemical weapons – this has been the state of Syria for the past two and a half years while conflict has ravaged the country and its people. More than 100,000 people have been killed, while millions of others have been displaced inside Syria’s borders. An estimated 2 million Syrians have fled the country, suffering in refugee camps or as urban refugees, where they lack proper access to food, shelter, and healthcare. While immediate humanitarian needs are crucial and must be a main focus of the international community, the individuals responsible for the atrocities that have taken place across Syria must be brought to justice.

We have the ability to help victims get justice by encouraging the UN Security Council to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court.

The United Nations has reported that both sides of the conflict have committed war crimes. In particular, the Syrian government and its allied militias have deliberately targeted hospitals and medical personnel and denied the sick and wounded access to medical care. They have continuously violated the principle of medical neutrality and thwarted medical care to further their military aims. We must stop the atrocities taking place in Syria and show perpetrators that they will be held accountable for their actions.

Don’t let these atrocities go unpunished. Take a moment to send a message to your senator asking them to support a referral of Syria to the International Criminal Court and give victims of violence a chance to see justice served.

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Message

Refer Syria to the International Criminal Court

Dear Senator,

I am writing to urgently request your support for Senate Resolution 219, which calls for a referral of the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Reports indicate that over 100,000 people have been killed in Syria since conflict broke out in March 2011. Additionally, an estimated 2 million Syrians have fled the country and millions more have been displaced inside Syria's borders. Under the command of President Bashar al-Assad, Syrian government forces and their allies have been accused of gross human rights violations, including heavy shelling of civilian areas, widespread pillaging and destruction of homes, mass torture, unlawful detentions, brutal execution-style killings, and the denial of basic human needs, including water, food, and medical care. Most recently, Assad has allegedly used chemical weapons in a brutal attack on the Syrian people, taking lives of thousands, many of whom were children. Additionally, terrorist groups operating in Syria have been accused of committing kidnappings, summary executions, torture, and other gross human rights violations against civilians.

In February 2012, the United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic found that there are "reasonable grounds to believe that particular individuals, including commanding officers and officials at the highest levels of Government, bear responsibility for crimes against humanity and gross human rights violations." On February 5, 2013, the UN found that government forces and affiliated militias committed crimes against humanity, war crimes, and gross violations of human rights. These groups were also found to have violated the rights of children and committed widespread acts of sexual violence. The UN also found that some anti-government armed groups have committed war crimes and violated the rights of children.

I am writing to ask you to support Senate Resolution 219 calling for the situation in Syria to be referred to the ICC. As you know, the ICC was established to hold accountable perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes and to deter subsequent crimes of this magnitude. I ask you to support this resolution to demonstrate the resolve of the United States in condemning violence, human rights violations, and the use of chemical weapons; in supporting the people of Syria seeking peaceful change; and in holding perpetrators of atrocities accountable.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]