Sept. 18 (UPI) -- Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok told Parliament on Friday he is moving forward with a human rights violation case against Syria in the International Court of Justice after Russia blocked such efforts in the United Nations Security Council.
Blok said he made the move to hold the government of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad responsible for the use of chemical weapons against his own people during its long-running civil war along with other alleged human rights crimes.
He said the possible court case would be held at The Hague by the ICJ.
"Today the Netherlands announced its decision to hold Syria responsible under international law for gross human rights violations and torture in particular," Blok wrote in his letter to Dutch legislators.
He said Syria ratified the U.N. Convention against Torture in 2004, which it has repeatedly violated during its civil war.
"The Assad regime has not hesitated to crack down hard on its own population, using torture and chemical weapons, and bombing hospitals," Blok said. "The victims of these serious crimes must obtain justice, and we are pursuing that end by calling the perpetrators to account."
Balkees Jarrah, the associate international justice director for Human Rights Watch, praised the move by the Netherlands.
"By using the Torture Convention to demand justice for the widespread brutality documented in Syria's prisons, the Netherlands is standing for victims in an action that could ultimately trigger a case at the world's highest court," Jarrah said.