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Dutch minister: database for war crimes in Syria needs $13m

March 11, 2017 at 3:58 pm

US Secretary of State John Kerry delivers remarks with Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders, at the Department of State in Washington, US, on April 30, 2015

Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Bert Koenders hailed on Thursday efforts exerted by Syrians who lost their lives to collect and smuggle documents about war crimes in Syria, noting a UN database for such crimes needs $13 million worth of funding, AP reported.

During a meeting in the Hague, more than 150 experts and diplomats, in addition to NGOs and public prosecutors from a number of countries, called for funding the international “neutral and independent” mechanism aimed at following up the ingoing probes into war crimes committed in Syria.

Read: New UN report brings prosecution of Syria war criminals closer

The mechanism is a database established by the United Nations in December last year. Koenders, who called for this meeting, hailed the brave Syrians who collected and smuggled documents about the war crimes in their country.

He mentioned, according to AP, a military police officer who hid flash drives in his socks containing thousands of photos of people killed in custody, a civil servant who fled with evidence taped to his body and activists who hid evidence in banana crates to get it out of the country.

“If we can make this mechanism work, it will allow for swift prosecutions once the time is right,” he said.

“That means collecting and preserving the available evidence in one place. It means analysing information and compiling files that can one day be used to find suspects and bring them to trial.”

Koenders called for funding for this database, which will be based in Geneva and needs $13 in its first year.

“If justice is our goal, then we cannot sit back and wait until the war ends,” he said.

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