World Court censures Syria for torture
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague issued an interim order on Nov. 16 directing the Syrian government to "take all measures within its powers" to prevent torture. This development stems from a case brought by the Netherlands and Canada, accusing Syria of engaging in a prolonged campaign of torture of its own citizens. The court's order seeks to safeguard potential victims as the case proceeds. Syria is accused of breaching the Convention against Torture & Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
Human Rights Watch welcomed the court's ruling, emphasizing the need to break the cycle of abuse and impunity in Syrian detention centers and prisons. Balkees Jarrah, HRW's associate international justice director, warned: "With systematic and widespread torture still a reality in Syria, the implementation of this ruling will be a matter of life or death for many Syrians in detention centers across Syria."
Although the court's orders are legally binding, the ICJ has to rely on the UN Security Council to enforce its decisions. If the council does not act, the orders may go unenforced, as in the 2022 case involving Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
From Jurist, Nov. 17. Used with permission.