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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Seeking Justice for Atrocities: How the International Criminal Court Could Advance Accountability in Iraq and Syria

Wednesday, February 10, 2016 - 11:00am
2261 Rayburn House Office Building


Briefing Series on Accountability

Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a briefing on the human rights situations in Iraq and Syria and the International Criminal Court's potential role in advancing accountability in the region.

As the Syrian civil war enters its fifth year and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or Daesh) continues to commit atrocities across the region, impunity is rampant in Iraq and Syria. According to official sources, there have been at least 250,000 casualties in Syria since 2011, an unknown but not insignificant number of which are likely civilian. Many atrocities have been reported, including murder, torture, persecution, enslavement of children and women, rape and sexual abuses, and other inhumane acts.

Although these offenses, including those perpetrated against religious or ethnic minorities, may constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity and even genocide under international law, it is extremely unlikely that the perpetrators will be held accountable by local authorities in the near future. Where domestic institutions fail, what role might the International Criminal Court play in curbing violence, diminishing impunity, and promoting accountability and rule of law in this region of seemingly intractable conflict?

Please join us for a briefing and discussion to examine this question, as well as the role that the U.S. government, and specifically Congress, can play in the administration of justice to advance stability and security in the region.

The briefing will be open to members of Congress, congressional staff, the interested public and the media. For any questions, please contact Dan Aum (for Rep. McGovern) at 202-225-3599 or, or Isaac Six (for Rep. Pitts) at 202-225-2411 or

Hosted by:

James P. McGovern, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC
Joseph R. Pitts, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC


Opening Remarks

  • Rep. James P. McGovern, Co-Chair, Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission
    Written remarks


  • Minou Tavarez Mirabal, Congresswoman from the Dominican Republic and President, Parliamentarians for Global Action
    Written statement
  • Jane Stromseth, Former Deputy to the Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice, U.S. Department of State, and Professor, Georgetown University School of Law
  • James Stewart, Deputy Prosecutor, International Criminal Court


  • Prof. Susana SáCouto, Director, War Crimes Research Office, American University Washington College of Law


114th Congress