Dutch pursuit of torture case against Syria prompts terror accusation from Damascus

The government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has criticized the Netherlands' decision to invoke an anti-torture convention against Damascus.

(CNN)The Syrian government accused the Dutch government of supporting terrorism on Saturday in response to the Netherlands' invocation of an anti-torture convention against Damascus.

The rebuke comes a day after the Dutch government said it is seeking to hold the Syrian government accountable for widespread human rights violations under international law, including the UN Convention against Torture.
"The Assad regime has committed horrific crimes time after time. The evidence is overwhelming. There must be consequences," Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Blok said in a statement published on the ministry's website.
    Blok said the Syrian government had been informed of the decision by a diplomatic note, which called on Damascus to cease human rights violations and offer reparations to victims.
    "International organizations have repeatedly reported serious human rights violations for years. Large numbers of Syrians have been tortured, murdered, forcibly disappeared, and subjected to poison-gas attacks, or have lost everything fleeing for their lives," the Dutch government statement said.
    The Dutch government asked Syria to enter into negotiations, saying that doing so is "a necessary first step in dispute settlement."
    It appears unlikely that the offer of negotiations will be accepted by Damascus, which, through its foreign ministry, responded to the announcement by accusing the Dutch government of financing and supporting militant groups in Syria.