The final part of this paper discusses the possible liability of the Syrian government and the extent to which it can be prosecuted by the ICC. In 2011, ISIS was a member of Al-Qaeda’s Jabhat Al-Nursa, an armed organization aimed at fighting Syria’s government for control of Syria (United Nations, 2014, para. In 2013, ISIS separated from Jabhat Al-Nursa and took control of Eastern Syria (United Nations, 2014, para. Since taking control of Eastern Syria, ISIS has committed continuous human rights abuses and crimes against humanity as well as crimes of war.
Freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, freedom of religion and a number of fundamental human rights and freedoms have been systematically denied and punished (United Nations, 2014). In the meantime, brutal acts of violence have been committed on civilians in the ISIS controlled territories including beheadings, beatings, amputations, recruitment of child soldiers, forced displacement, forced religious conversions and so on (United Nations, 2014). There is no doubt that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been and are being committed in Syria. According to the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria, all ‘combatants’ including ISIS, the Syrian government and other armed factions have ‘targeted civilian communities, groups and individuals and subjected them to international human rights and humanitarian law violations’ 2015).
Official reports from the United Nations and various non-governmental organizations have documented massacres, torture, murder and executions characterised as war crimes and crimes against humanity (Blake & Mahmud, 2013, 248). All of these crimes are attributed to all armed forces in Syria with the government designated as the worst offenders (Blake & Mahmud, 2013, 247). These atrocities, although committed in an internal conflict are war crimes under the Rome Statute.
According to the Rome Statute, war crimes are also ‘serious violations of the laws and customs applicable in an armed conflict not of an international character’ (Article 8). In general the Rome Statute mirrors the war crimes listed under the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and include much of the crimes committed in Syria: ‘wilful killing, torture, inhuman treatment, ’ or
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