The UN’s highest court ordered Syria to take “all measures within its power” to prevent torture and preserve evidence related to a landmark case brought by the governments of Canada and the Netherlands. Syrian survivors and advocates welcomed the move, but had hoped for more.
A landmark torture case brought against Syria by Canada and the Netherlands began at the UN’s highest court on Tuesday—with Damascus absent. While it is not a criminal case, torture survivors and family members of Syria’s disappeared say it marks another milestone in their long, slow fight for accountability.
The Netherlands and Canada are taking Syria to the top UN court for the systemic use of torture, while a General Assembly vote is expected this month on the establishment of a mechanism to clarify the fate of Syria’s disappeared.
Four of the five Lebanese State Security officers indicted last November for the torture death of Syrian refugee Bashar Abdul Saud were released on bail this month, one of whom is back at work, while the victim’s family and lawyer have been pressured to drop their complaint.
The lawyer representing the family of Bashar Al-saud, a Syrian refugee allegedly tortured to death by Lebanese State Security officers in August, called the indictment a “bold and historic” decision.
The family of Bashar Abdel Saud, a Syrian refugee who died while in the custody of Lebanon’s State Security last week, is fighting for accountability in a ‘climate of impunity’.
More than two decades after Lebanon ratified the UN Convention Against Torture, and despite anti-torture legislation, torture and mistreatment by the country’s security branches persists.