March 21, 2017

Corker: No Justice in Syria Until Assad Held Accountable for War Crimes

Senate Foreign Relations, House Foreign Affairs Committees Host Event to Commemorate Syrian Victims After Six Years of War

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today lamented the humanitarian crisis in Syria and urged the U.S. to pursue accountability for war crimes as the conflict enters its seventh year. Leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs Committees hosted a commemorative event today with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to recognize the atrocities and crimes against humanity suffered by Syrian civilians at the hands of the Bashar al-Assad regime.

“I think all of us have been to the refugee camps to see people who keep looking to the United States, looking to other Western countries for help,” said Corker. “And no doubt the humanitarian effort that has been put forth certainly has been very compassionate. And yet until we bring Assad to justice, until we make sure that people like Assad who would commit these atrocities to their own people are brought to justice, our job is not done.”

The violence in Syria has cost the lives of more than 400,000 Syrians and displaced more than 11 million—over half the Syrian population—as part of the world’s largest humanitarian crisis since World War II. To spotlight the ongoing threat to Syrian civilians, the museum is sponsoring a photo display, “Inside Syria’s Torture Machine,” showing the brutality Syrians continue to endure at the hands of the Assad regime. A selection of those photos captured by a Syrian defector known as “Caesar” was displayed at the event that also featured remarks from Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Representatives Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), director of the museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide Cameron Hudson, Holocaust survivor Al Munzer, and Syrian survivor Qutaiba Idlibi.

“I want to thank the Holocaust Museum for reminding us of what has happened to innocent individuals who only sought to have the kind of life that we have here in our own nation,” added Corker. “So as hopefully this conflict comes to an end, Caesar’s work, the Holocaust Museum’s work, and all of us together, will not forget the atrocities, will do what we can to bring those responsible to justice, but hopefully we will also look at ourselves and measure the things that we could have done, should have done, to have kept this from occurring.”

Click here for complete video footage of the event.