South Asia Center Nonresident Senior Fellow Barbara Slavin writes for Al Monitor, quoting Rafik Hariri Center Resident Senior Fellow Frederic C. Hof, on the need to prosecute the Assad regime for its human rights violations in order to attain peace in Syria:
The expression “no justice, no peace” is usually associated these days with US demonstrations against police killings of African-Americans. But it also applies to Syria, according to Stephen Rapp, who has just stepped down as US ambassador-at-large and chief of the State Department’s Office of Global Criminal Justice.
Fred Hof, a former senior State Department official dealing with Syria who left the Obama administration in 2012 out of frustration at its reluctance to increase support for opposition forces, told Al-Monitor that Rapp “did a superb job of marshaling literally tons of evidence that ultimately may prove very useful in prosecuting Assad and others for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Rapp broke some bureaucratic crockery in 2012 by making criminal accountability a major agenda item in successive Friends of the Syrian People conferences,” added Hof, who is now a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. “To the best of my knowledge it was largely his own initiative: He did not have to be ordered to do his job. He was aided immeasurably by the habit of the Assad regime to record in writing many of its atrocities and victims and the willingness of decent Syrians to smuggle the incriminating documentation out of the country.”