Europe

Dutch minister calls for funds for Syria war crimes database

In this picture taken, Feb. 16, 2017, a child looks out from an abandoned petrol station where he and his family now live. The petrol station, badly damaged by war, is now the home of five families who have returned to Tel Abiad district, Raqqa Governorate, Syria, after fleeing from ISIS two years earlier only to find their homes destroyed. A new report by Save the Children says Syrian children are showing symptoms of ‘toxic stress’ from war exposure, and attempting self-harm and suicide. (Photo Courtesy: Jonathan Hyams, Save the Children via AP)

In this picture taken, Feb. 16, 2017, a child looks out from an abandoned petrol station where he and his family now live. The petrol station, badly damaged by war, is now the home of five families who have returned to Tel Abiad district, Raqqa Governorate, Syria, after fleeing from ISIS two years earlier only to find their homes destroyed. A new report by Save the Children says Syrian children are showing symptoms of ‘toxic stress’ from war exposure, and attempting self-harm and suicide. (Photo Courtesy: Jonathan Hyams, Save the Children via AP)  (The Associated Press)

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs is hosting a meeting to discuss progress in setting up an independent program to gather and analyze evidence of war crimes in Syria's civil war and prepare files for future prosecutions.

Foreign Minister Bert Koenders told the meeting Thursday that the database, established late last year by the United Nations General Assembly, will send a message that while diplomatic efforts to halt the war are faltering, efforts to ensure accountability for atrocities continue.

He says, "If justice is our goal, then we cannot sit back and wait until the war ends."

Koenders appealed for funding for the program, which will be based in Geneva and needs US$13 million (12.3 million euros) in its first year.