Episode 95 – Adaptable Justice for Syria with Catherine Marchi-Uhel

Catherine (on the right) interviewed by Stef at the Humanity Hub in The Hague

We are adding yet another piece to the efforts to get accountability for crimes committed in Syria. Today we talk IIIM, the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (yes we never remember the exact order either!) set up by the United Nations General Assembly with a resolution in 2016. The aim was for it to assist in the investigation and prosecution of persons responsible for serious international crimes committed in the government crush of the 2011 demonstrations and the following civil war, still ongoing.

Joined by the Head of the IIIM, Catherine Marchi-Uhel, we take a look at the work of the Mechanism – how it collects information, what national jurisdictions and courts it relates to, and what their ‘structural investigations’ actually entail. We also discuss how other States are involved in this accountability work and what roles the IIIM plays in connection to other UN bodies.

Catherine talks about the new data management approaches in place and how they have tried to give special attention to categories of victims and survivors that have historically been overlooked. An example is the case of Sweden, which used the Mechanism work to prosecute crimes of forced marriage and rape for girls in areas of Syria controlled by ISIS (ISIL/Da’esh).

To escape, Catherine listens to Jazz music, and Nina Simone is one of her favourites. To try and understand what the families of missing persons might go through Catherine suggests the book The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between by Hisham Matar.