September 25, 2020, 10.18 PM

THE HAGUE, KOMPAS.com - The Dutch government is looking to hold the Syrian government accountable for “gross human rights violations” in the ongoing Syrian conflict.

The move invokes the UN Convention against Torture thus the Dutch initiative could trigger a case at the UN’s highest court.

The Dutch government’s plan is the latest attempt to hold President Bashar Assad's Syrian government accountable amid widespread reports it is mistreating its own citizens against the backdrop of the country’s grinding civil war.

Read also: Dutch Gymnastics Federation Investigating Abuse Allegations of Women’s Training Program

“The Assad regime has not hesitated to crack down hard on its own population, using torture and chemical weapons, and bombing hospitals,” Foreign Minister Stef Blok said in a statement.

"The victims of these serious crimes must obtain justice, and we are pursuing that end by calling the perpetrators to account," Blok said.

According to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, Syrian authorities detained around 1.2 million people since the country’s conflict began in March 2011.

As of the beginning of June, 12,325 were documented as having died under torture in Syrian government prisons, the SNHR said in a report released earlier this year.

At least 12,989 are still detained or missing, their fates unknown, according to the report. Another 16,000 are missing in detention by other factions in Syria’s war.

Read also: Over 300 NGOs Urge UN to Investigate China’s Human Rights Abuse

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