Responding to the news that the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, has decided to establish a “board of inquiry” to investigate attacks that took place during the offensive on Idlib, including those that have damaged or destroyed hospitals, Sherine Tadros Head of Amnesty International’s UN Office in New York said:
“The plans for a UN investigation into attacks targeting hospitals in Idlib, and other buildings clearly identified as civilian objects by the UN, offer hope that perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity can be identified and held accountable.
“Amnesty International has documented at least eight attacks targeting hospitals, a blood bank, ambulance response unit, and rescue workers in Idlib in recent months. Our research shows that the bombing of medical facilities, which is itself a war crime, has become part of a pattern by the Syrian authorities to systematically attack the civilian population which is also a crime against humanity.
“During the offensive on Idlib, the Syrian authorities have repeatedly displayed a callous disregard for the lives of civilians, flagrantly violating international humanitarian law on a regular basis.
During the offensive on Idlib, the Syrian authorities have repeatedly displayed a callous disregard for the lives of civilians, flagrantly violating international humanitarian law on a regular basis.Sherine Tadros
“It is crucial that this investigation identifies the perpetrators responsible for these ghastly attacks and establishes whether coordinates supplied by the UN to ensure the protection of medical facilities are being exploited. The investigation’s findings must be made public. If evidence emerges from the investigation which may be relevant to future investigations and prosecutions, it must be shared with entities which are able to pursue those individually responsible.”
In his statement the UN Secretary General announced investigation will cover destruction of, or damage to, facilities on the deconfliction list and UN-supported facilities in the area since September 2018.
UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock had warned the UN Security Council that the shelling in Idlib risks creating the worst humanitarian disaster of the 21st century.