UN prosecutor calls for war crimes probe

2013-02-18 16:21
Syrian refugee children peer from a tent supplied by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in al-Marj, in the eastern Lebanese Bekaa Valley. (File, AFP)

Syrian refugee children peer from a tent supplied by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in al-Marj, in the eastern Lebanese Bekaa Valley. (File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Geneva - The International Criminal Court should be called in to probe war crimes in Syria, former UN prosecutor Carla del Ponte said on Monday.

"The international community - and the UN Security Council - must take the decision to refer this to justice," del Ponte, the member of a UN-mandated commission of inquiry on the Syria conflict, told reporters.

"We suggest the International Criminal Court. We can't decide, but we are pressuring the international community to act, because it's time to act," she said after releasing a report by the commission on the situation in Syria after almost two years of fighting.

The report said that both Syrian state forces and rebels were committing war crimes, though it said the government camp carried more blame.

The decision to refer the conflict to the International Criminal Court lies with the UN Security Council, where there are deep splits between Western members and Russia, a longstanding ally of Syria's regime, plus China.

'Victims increasing day to day'

China has backed Russia in vetoing Security Council resolutions that would have put greater pressure on President Bashar Assad's regime. Beijing has also repeatedly urged dialogue to end the violence.

The straight-talking del Ponte said she was dumbfounded that the international community had failed to call the perpetrators to account.

"It's time to react. After two years, it's incredible that the Security Council hasn't made a decision," she said. "Justice must be imminent, urgent. The number of victims is increasing day to day. Justice must be done."

The commission of inquiry was set up in 2011 by the UN Human Rights Council.

It is due next month to submit a confidential list of individuals, military and militia units allegedly involved in war crimes to the UN's human rights office, but is not planning to make the list public.

Del Ponte is renowned for her tough stance as the UN's top prosecutor investigating war crimes in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.

"I'm not the prosecutor dealing with this case. Unfortunately," she said, adding: "Justice is a contribution for peace and reconciliation."

Read more on:    un  |  bashar assad  |  syria  |  syria conflict

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Prince George the green prince?

Prince Charles hopes his grandson's love of the outdoors will become a passion for the environment.



One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa
China's air pollution at doomsday levels
Keep food fresher for longer
Hurricanes, earthquakes and floods – What climate change really means for us

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

The full moon energy can be quite intense today as your emotions fight against reason. It is important to ground your ideas and...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.