DA wants government to act on Syria
Johannesburg - Government must support international calls for Syrian President Bashar Assad to be charged for crimes against humanity, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Friday.
The party said it would write to the international relations and co-operations department, and urge Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane to "advocate in all possible forms" for al-Assad to appear before the International Criminal Court (ICC).
DA spokesman Ian Davidson said: "In addition, I will be asking the minister to use South Africa's positioning on the Syrian issue to clarify the government's interpretation of the 'responsibility to protect' clause as outlined in resolution 1674 of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC)."
The council has the power to refer cases to the ICC, which has jurisdiction over genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
According to reports, Assad is using tanks and artillery in cities where protesters are calling for the end of his rule.
The UN has estimated that more than 5 400 people have been killed in the conflict to date.
In February this year, the UN concluded that the gross human rights violations in Syria had been ordered by the Syrian authorities "as a matter of state policy".
Davidson said government needed to send a clear message that South Africa would not shy away from international intervention when human rights and the lives of innocent people were at stake.