Recognizing that perpetrators of gross violations of human rights in Syria must be held to account, and that the Syrian people will lead the way, the United States will work with international partners to establish a Syria Accountability Clearinghouse that will support Syrian and international efforts to promote accountability. By providing a forum for coordination, the Clearinghouse will advance efforts to assist and train the Syrian people and partner organizations to collect, collate, analyze, and securely store evidence, documentation, and other information concerning human rights abuses and violations, while protecting witnesses and sources. The record that is compiled could be used for a broad range of transitional justice and reconciliation processes, including truth-seeking, memorialisation, and prosecutions. These efforts will also help develop trial-ready dossiers against individuals responsible for violations of international or domestic criminal law. The Clearinghouse will be guided by a Steering Committee of representatives of the Syrian people, cooperating states, and regional organizations.
Projects that could be coordinated via the Syria Accountability Clearinghouse would aim to:
- Train and mentor Syrian investigators/lawyers, human rights actors, and other NGOs/independent actors to collect information about the full range of human rights abuses and violations.
- Establish a secure storage facility, including a database, for collected information.
- Establish protection and security best practices and procedures and seek assistance from states to implement them.
- Establish a “Prosecutors’ Unit” to collect and analyze available evidence and develop case dossiers that could support prosecutions in Syrian, hybrid, or international courts.
There may also be ways for the Clearinghouse to complement the efforts of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which is facilitating safe and secure storage of information and evidence collected by the Commission of Inquiry.
The Syria Accountability Clearinghouse will maintain secure virtual linkages with affiliated groups and organizations around the world, including in Syria. The United States will provide an initial $1.25 million to support the Clearinghouse and related accountability efforts, and ask other partner nations and organizations to provide additional funding and support for these accountability efforts.