Brooks Newmark calls for UN evidence on chemical weapons to be used to bring Syrian leaders to justice

8th October 2013

Speaking in response to the Foreign Secretary’s statement on Syria and Iran, Brooks Newmark welcomes new dialogue with Iran which can play an important role in bringing peace to Syria. He calls on the Foreign Secretary to ensure that UN evidence of crimes against humanity will be used to bring Bashar al-Assad and his brother Maher to justice.

Mr Brooks Newmark (Braintree) (Con): I, too, would like to pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Alistair Burt) for the work that he has done. I would also like to congratulate the Foreign Secretary on pressing the reset button with President Rouhani, because Iran can play an important role in bringing peace to Syria. I also congratulate him on his initiative in trying to bring chemical weapons under control in Syria today. Notwithstanding that, there are serious concerns about crimes against humanity—some involving the use of chemical weapons, some not—and as the evidence becomes clear as a result of the United Nations’ work, will he ensure that such evidence is used to bring Bashar al-Assad and his brother Maher to justice?

Mr Hague: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his support for these initiatives. As I have said, the issues of justice and accountability, and of the gathering of evidence, remain vital. We have used British funds to train human rights journalists and others to document the crimes that have been committed, so that the evidence is there in the future, and we will continue to support that kind of work. I believe that the demand in Syria for justice and accountability will be overwhelming as the evidence from this conflict emerges over the coming months and years, and we need to be ready to support that across the whole world.

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