News24

Assad denies committing war crimes

2012-11-09 14:01

Moscow - Syrian President Bashar Assad denied that his regime was committing war crimes in the conflict with rebels, saying the army was engaged in "fighting terrorism", in an interview with Russian television broadcast on Friday.

"We are fighting terrorism. We are implementing our constitution by protecting the Syrian people," Assad told Russia Today (RT) when asked about accusations Syrian government forces were committing war crimes.

The UN Human Rights Council has created a commission including former war crimes prosecutor Carla del Ponte to investigate human rights abuses in Syria committed by all sides, although it has yet to gain access to the country.

Assad defended the Syrian army, saying that "if you have an army that committed a crime against its own people, this is devoid of logic because the Syrian Army is made up of Syrian people".

"The army cannot withstand for twenty months in these difficult circumstances without having the embrace of the public in Syria," said Assad.

Drawing parallels

Assad in turn accused the rebels of committing war crimes, noting reports by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch which he said had found evidence of war crimes by his opponents.

But the UN has also urged probes into a range of alleged atrocities by the government, including the slaughter earlier this year of hundreds of people in the southern Syrian town of Daraya.

Assad sought to back his argument by referring to Russia's campaign against separatist and Islamist rebels in Chechnya over the last two decades. However Russian rights groups have long accused the Kremlin of committing atrocities in the Caucasus.

"They [Chechen rebels] attacked people in theatres and schools and so on," said Assad, referring to the deadly hostage sieges at the Moscow Dubrovka theatre in 2002 and a school in Beslan in 2004.

"And the army in Russia protected the people, would you call it war crimes?" he asked.

Comments
  • Eterni80 - 2012-11-09 14:25

    another lying waste of space politician - if the people say go YOU GO.

  • sisie.indola - 2012-11-09 14:46

    I seem to remember the same words coming out of another dictators mouth about a year and some months ago. Prophetic! Maybe.

  • fred.fraser.12 - 2012-11-09 16:22

    Tic-toc, tic-toc, tic-toc.

  • arnaud.munezero - 2012-11-09 16:24

    If it is not crime against humanity I don't know what name can you call it, Assad he must be tried at the International Criminal Court.

  • fred.fraser.12 - 2012-11-09 16:57

    The identical words came out of our Apartheid leaders

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-11-09 19:56

      I'm not here to prove anything to you Patrick. That would be an exercise in futility.

  • raymond.dick.12 - 2012-11-10 15:43

    Criminals very rarely admit to their crimes, even after conviction in court.

      yaya.darboe.71 - 2012-11-28 11:11

      You said the truth.

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