Statement of the Republic of Lithuania at the Informal debate of the UNGA on the first report of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism to assist in the investigation and prosecution of persons responsible for the most serious crimes under
Ladies and gentlemen,
Lithuania aligns itself with the statement made by the European Union and would like to add some remarks in it national capacity.
Allow me to start by expressing our full support to the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism for Syria (IIIM) and its head Ms. Catherine Marchi-Uhel. We welcome the report of the IIIM presented today and commends the steps taken towards the implementation of its mandate.
We hear about unprecedented atrocities being committed in Syria everyday. High level of violence agains civil population, including children and women, the numerous use of chemical weapons, as well as consistent violations of international humanitarian law and human rights, continue to test our own moral convictions and the supremacy of international legal order. While those committed to sustainable peace have endlessly rendered their support to uphold this issue at the top of the international agenda, little has been done in ensuring accountability for perpetrators of those heinous crimes. The consistent abuse of veto power by one country at the Security Council to block the renewal of the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) mandate and to eliminate the possibility to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC) has paralysed the Council’s ability to fulfil its obligations. Therefore, in the absence of any other modicums of justice, the IIIM has a critical role to address the Council’s incapacity by laying the foundation for future criminal investigations and prosecutions as well as providing us with new avenues to commit to international justice.
The Mechanism is the only tool today to ensure accountability, combat impunity and to bring justice to the victims and survivors of this conflict. Therefore, it’s our common obligation to make everything necessary, so that the Mechanism is fully operational, effective and efficient.
Seeing the extensive tasks ahead of the Mechanism, the political and financial support and full cooperation of the international community with the IIIM is highly important. As part of our national efforts, we are reviewing our legal system in order to establish a legal framework for a potential collaboration with the IIIM and have found ways to continue our financial support to the mechanisms work. We call upon other states to undertake similar efforts as well.
Voluntary contributions to finance the Mechanism are very important but it provides only a temporary solution. Therefore we urge the Secretary-General to include the necessary funding for the IIIM in his next budget proposal, thus securing sustainable and long-term funding through the regular UN budget.
Let me finish by recalling our principled position that political solution in Syria in line with the UN-led Geneva process is the only sustainable way forward to ensure peace and stability in Syria. We are convinced that the successful work of the IIIM is essential in order to achieve this vital goal, ensure accountability and combat impunity. There will be no solution untill perpetrators are persecuted and victims are granted justice.
I thank you.
New York, 18 April 2018