International, Impartial, Independent Mechanism

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The role of the International, Impartial, Independent Mechanism (IIIM) was debated at the UN General Assembly on 18 April 2018. Karen Pierce, UK Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, said:

“We must demonstrate that those who have committed the most serious crimes of international concern can have no place to hide. There must be no impunity for the horrendous acts taking place on a daily basis in Syria. There must be justice for the victims. It may take a long time. Sadly, I fear it will take a long time but there must be justice.”[1]


On 21 December 2016, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 71/248, establishing the International, Impartial, Independent Mechanism to Assist in the Investigation and Prosecution of Persons Responsible for the Most Serious Crimes under International Law Committed in the Syrian Arab Republic since March 2011. It is more commonly referred to as the "Mechanism”, or “IIIM”.

The Mechanism’s mandate, as stated in paragraph 4 of resolution 71/248, is “to collect, consolidate, preserve and analyse evidence of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights violations and abuses and to prepare files in order to facilitate and expedite fair and independent criminal proceedings, in accordance with international law standards, in national, regional or international courts or tribunals that have or may in the future have jurisdiction over these crimes, in accordance with international law.”

The IIIM is neither a prosecutor’s office nor a court, but collects and analyses information and evidence of international crimes committed in Syria to assist criminal proceedings in national, regional or international courts or tribunals that have or may in the future have jurisdiction over these crimes.

By pursuing its mandate, the IIIM seeks to support accountability processes aimed at bringing about justice for the victims of serious international crimes committed in Syria since March 2011.[2]


To date, the IIIM has received pledges for around 14.5 million USD for 2018, which corresponds to the estimated budget for the current year; of this amount, the Mechanism has already received almost 8 million USD.[3]


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Raqqa: A City Laid Waste, The Law Laid LowArticle2 November 2018Christopher BlackIn June 2017, the US-led coalition - including France and the UK - launched a military operation to force the Islamic State armed group from Raqqa. But instead of only targeting IS, we killed hundreds and injured thousands of civilians, while obliterating much of the city.


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