Statement on the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry (COI) Report

Ambassador James Jeffrey

September 16, 2020

The United States welcomes the UN’s Independent International Commission of Inquiry (COI) most recent report of human rights violations in the Syrian conflict. Once again, the COI has found reasonable grounds to believe that the Assad regime continues to commit crimes against humanity and acts that may amount to war crimes in in Syria.

Today’s report is an important reminder that the international community must hold the Assad regime accountable for its continued abuses and violations of human rights against its own people as the perpetrator of the vast majority of abuses and violations against Syrians.

The report also found reasonable grounds to believe that members of other groups have participated in acts that may amount to war crimes. The United States condemns any human rights abuses or violations of international law by any group, and urges actors on the ground to take positive steps to end such behavior.

The findings of the Commission of Inquiry are fully consistent with other recent reports, including the UN Headquarters Board of Inquiry into certain incidents in northwest Syria and the report by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Investigation and Identification Team, that document the Assad regime’s atrocities.  Additionally, as called for in the report, the United States supports all member states to continue seeking accountability, in close cooperation with the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism.

The Assad regime’s attacks on its own people, mass arbitrary arrests and forced disappearances of men, women and children, and the use of chemical weapons have created a vacuum that has allowed the systemic use of war crimes and atrocities that must end if the country and its people are ever able to regain peace and stability. The United States remains committed to the Syrian people, and will continue a sustained campaign of economic and political pressure to promote accountability and deny the Assad regime the revenue and support it needs to wage war and commit mass atrocities against the Syrian people, and reach a stable and peaceful political solution through UNSCR 2254.