The UN wants to assist in investigating war crimes in Syria, but as member states hesitate to give funds this project lacks funds. You can contribute now!

Attacks on hospitals or the use of toxic gas as a weapon: war crimes in Syria continue on a daily basis and its perpetrators run free without fear of being held accountable for their crimes. In an effort to put an end to the impunity and to lay the groundwork for eventual justice in Syria, the UN General Assembly voted in December 2016 for the establishment of a special mechanism for Syria called IIIM – International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism to assist in the Investigation and Prosecution of those Responsible for the most serious crimes under international law committed in the Syrian Arab Republic since March 2011. However, the unwillingness of the UN member states to provide the missing $US 4 million (€3.8 million) has prevented the sound establishment of IIIM until this day.

UPDATE: After some more pledges (including € 1.5 Mio by the EU), overall only € 1.7 Mio are missing. We stick with crowdfunding half of the missing sum – and reduce the funding goal to € 850.000. Help us funding justice in Syria, now!

As the governments continue to hesitate, we will support efforts to bring justice to Syria ourselves. Via crowdfunding we’re collecting half of the missing sum – and each and every contribution motivates the governments to stump up the other half. The amount seems totally out of reach, but together we can do it: Over the next 10 weeks we’ll collect $US200,000 (€190,000) $US 100.000 (€ 85.000) each week. Participate in bringing justice and contribute to independent UN accountability efforts in Syria now!

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Further information on your pledge

€85,000 or $US100,000 each week over the next ten weeks

– that makes half of the missing sum for the independent UN-investigation of war crimes in Syria. But your contribution only will be payable if we achieve the overall objective of €1.9 million € 850.000 before 27 August 2017 and the governments have not pledged enough by then. You will be reimbursed, if we don’t meet the goal or if the governments are faster.

Why we run this campaign

In Syria hardly a week passes without major war crimes. As long as those responsible do not have to fear any consequences, the killing is likely to continue. Civilians urgently need effective protection – and only an independent UN Mechanism with the mandate to collect, consolidate, preserve and analyse evidence, and prepare files and share them with tribunals will help authorities to determine culprits and secure facts that will stand up in courts.

Six months ago, in December 2016, the UN general assembly decided to establish a new “International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism” (IIIM) to do just that. But despite all the daily atrocities in Syria, until today $US4 million (€3.8 million) $US2 million (€1,7 million) remain lacking for this mission. It is a scandal that UN member states have not provided sufficient funds so far – and therefore we need to send a clear signal: We cannot tolerate war crimes any longer! We need direct support for this UN Mechanism for Syria to assist in investigating and prosecuting crimes in Syria! Each day that the international community fails to secure the necessary funds, criminals go on without punishment and civilians remain without protection.

Therefore: Contribute to justice in Syria NOW! Help us to spread this campaign – so that governments feel citizens‘ pressure to fill their responsibility!

Even if we do not achieve the target each contribution sends a clear signal to the governments of UN member states: They finally have to secure the funding for an independent UN-Mechanism to prepare files for tribunals for those responsible!

«One single idea lets us endure the undecribable horror: one day there will be justice.»Abdallah Al-Khateeb, Syrian Human rights activist

FAQ

Accountability for the most serious war crimes is a fundamental step towards peace in Syria. It is simply a scandal that after months UN member states have not pledged enough money to fully support the Mechanism – this is what we want the world to know.

The lacking amount of US$ 4 million (€3.8 million) is tiny for UN member states, considering their usual expenditures: only 30 meters of German Autobahn cost the same, military involvement in the war in Syria much more. Therefore, our campaign is not aimed at releasing UN member states from their responsibility – on the contrary: Our donations show them that we, as citizens, no longer accept their irresponsible position towards the UN system, international law and civilian populations in armed conflict. Looking at member states‘ six-year-long passivity towards the Syrian crisis, we as citizens must demonstrate that action is possible!

In the last six years the Syrian Uprising against dictatorship has changed into an internationalized civil war, where all armed parties have committed crimes. So far, all these crimes – including the use of chemical weapons, deliberate targeted attacks on hospitals, or starving whole towns – have remained unprosecuted. This encourages the perpetrators as they see that even the worst war crimes do not have any consequences.

Given the indescribable suffering of the Syrian population, we cannot accept this any longer. But this is not just about Syria: The inability of the UN to further accountability and finally prevent war crimes undermines international law and the UN system as a whole. When war crimes remain unpunished, this has major consequences – potentially for all of us.

As the UN should not duplicate the work done already by others, the UN Mechanism will mainly collect and secure data already gathered by others, including Syrian NGOs, and will then analyse this information and prepare files concerning individual suspects and share these files with competent courts. According to the UN funding of $US13 million (€11.9 million) is needed each year for this work (here you find the funding proposal).

For 2017 UN member states have allocated already about $US9 million (€8.1 million). But six months after the UN Mechanism to investigate war crimes in Syria was established, about $US4 million (€3.8 million) are missing. For the year of 2018 only $US1.6 million are secured.

The UN needs this funding to ensure that the Mechanism can fully operate, and given the pressing need for action, we want it to start its work as soon as possible. The head of the Mechanism or IIIM, should be appointed very soon and we need to make sure that the Mechanism promptly starts its work.

Member states usually finance the UN so that is can successfully fulfil its tasks. Even though we believe that we cannot wait any longer to bring justice to Syria, we do not want to release the member states from their duties. At the same time, each contribution from us citizens increases the pressure on the member states to finally give enough money for the Mechanism to have all the support it needs. And even if together we „only“ contribute half of the missing funds, it will be by far the biggest sum that stems from us as citizens – and it would be enough that in 2017 the UN Mechanism can start with full steam.

In order to not be overwhelmed at the huge sum still missing, we set ten intermediate goals: Over the next 10 weeks we want to collect $US200,000 (€190,000) each week – $US2 million (€1.8 million) in all. By that we regularly check if we are on the right track or need to intensify our work.

So far three member states have contributed more than $US 1 million. The Netherlands and Germany contributed the whole sum for 2017, Finland half of it for 2017 and 2018 each. Neither the USA nor Russia have pledged to contribute money so far – even though both countries have numerous times called for an independent investigation into war crimes in Syria. Generally speaking, countries who are directly involved in the war in Syria are keeping a low profile: Saudi Arabia and Iran have not committed any funds either.

The vast majority of states having pledged funding so far are in Europe. But a broad funding base for the UN Mechanism is required to secure its independence from individual member states. If we as citizens contribute to the UN Mechanism, too, the funding base gets even broader and it can act independently from the political interests of specific UN member states. Here you find the full list of contributions to the UN investigations as of July 7.

As the Security Council has been blocked regarding Syria over the last six years, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution on 21 December 2016 providing for an “international, impartial and independent mechanism” (IIIM) to “assist in the Investigation and Prosecution of Those Responsible for the Most Serious Crimes under International Law Committed in the Syrian Arab Republic since March 2011”. Unlike previous UN investigations in Syria the mandate of the Mechanism is not only to the preservation and analysis of evidence and testimonies, but also to link alleged crimes to specific suspects.

The files prepared by IIIM shall then be provided to competent courts that are willing and able to charge the suspects – either national courts or any in the future to be established international court. To this end the IIIM will mainly build upon data already collected by Syrian human rights NGOs – but in the process making them more directly usable in court trials. The main idea is not to duplicate work done by others, but to support criminal trials and hopefully deter perpetrators.

This is how crowdfunding works: If the donation goal is not met in time, all contributions will be reimbursed. The same happens if UN member states allocate the funds themselves.

For technical reasons, the procedure depends on the donation method. Contributions via direct debit simply will not be withdrawn. If you choose to use your credit card for your pledge, we will not save any credit card data due to security reasons. Instead, we rely on your commitment to donate and only request your email address – and the same holds true for contributions via bank transfer. Once the donation goal is met, we will e-mail you to ask for your credit card details for the payment to go through. For contributions via PayPal the transaction takes place immediately – and will be reimbursed in case the crowdfunding campaign fails.

In any case, we will contact you via e-mail before the funds are really collected. Therefore, it is important that you validate your e-mail-address so that we can make sure to reach out to you. Thanks!

In that case we are happy that we contributed to putting pressure on the member states to live up to their responsibilities – and will reimburse all contributions.
So far we only collect pledges – they become payable once we meet our funding goal in time. It we manage to collect half of the missing funds of the annual budget for the UN-investigations for 2017, we will inform you via e-mail that your donation should be transferred.

Different than many other UN organisations, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) can accept private funds – and OHCHR is responsible for the establishment of the UN-investigator for Syria (IIIM). We already are in contact with the organisation – and even though we hope that governments will live up to their responsibility and allocate the funds themselves, we as citizens will transfer our funds to bring justice to Syria!

This campaign was launched by the German-Syrian solidarity initiative Adopt a Revolution, which is implemented by the non-profit organisation about:change e.V. Adopt a Revolution supports civil society projects in Syria against dictatorship and jihadist terror.

Many civil activists of the projects supported by Adopt a Revoluion are massively affected by war crimes – committed both by the Assad regime and its allies, as well as by oppositional militias. Our longstanding partner, the Syrian activist Abdallah al-Khateeb, recipient of the Per-Anger-award, wrote in December 2016: “What makes us go through this unimaginable horror is only one idea: that one day justice will be established.”

One last remark: All pledges made on this website are intended for independent UN-investigations of war crimes in Syria (IIIM). We ourselves will make a pledge to meet the goal – and to finance the campaign itself, we will use different funds.

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