David Crane Testifies at House Subcommittee Hearing on ISIS Genocide Declaration
On May 26, Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism (INSCT) faculty member David M. Crane testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations at the Rayburn building in Washington, D.C. Sub-committee Chair Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ) convened the hearing to discuss “The ISIS Genocide Declaration: What Next?”
Crane, a professor of practice at the College of Law, was one of five witnesses invited by Rep. Smith. Crane brought to the hearing his experience as former chief prosecutor of the United Nations Special Court for Sierra Leone and his recent work on both the Caesar Report. The Caesar Report brought to light allegations of systematic torture and murder by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and the Syrian Accountability Project, whose most recent white paper has documented sexual crimes by all sides during the Syrian Civil War.
During their testimony, expert witnesses voiced safety concerns and a need to identify an enduring resolution for displaced persons affected by the civil war. The chairman, a Republican, also criticized what he called the lack of action by the administration of President Barack Obama following its March 2016 declaration that the Islamic State is committing acts of genocide against ethnic and religious groups, such as Christians and Yezidis. After listing concerns about the administration repeating mistakes even after its genocide declaration, Smith emphasized that “There is no easy, single solution to the threats to religious and ethnic minorities and other civilians in Iraq and Syria, [but] complexity must never be an excuse for indifference and inaction.” Click here to read Smith’s full statement.
However, Crane emphasized that “We can take realistic steps to start an accountability mechanism for the region, particularly as it relates to ISIS atrocity. If we have the political will we can establish a truth commission, a domestic court or an internationalized domestic court, and a hybrid regional court.” He noted that in March, the House overwhelmingly passed House Concurrent Resolution 121, authored by Smith, calling for “the establishment of a war crimes tribunal where these crimes could be addressed.” Click here to read Crane’s full statement.