UN implicates Bashar al-Assad in Syria war crimes

The UN's human rights chief has said an inquiry has produced evidence that war crimes were authorised in Syria at the "highest level", including by President ashar al!"ssad#

Navi Pillay is the first UN figure to directly implicate Mr Assad in alleged war crimes $ %ecember $&'(

It is the first time the UN's human rights office has so directly implicated Mr Assad. Commissioner Navi Pillay said her office held a list of others implicated by the in uiry. !he UN estimates more than "##$### people have died in the conflict. !he UN's commission of in uiry into %yria has produced &massive evidence... 'of( very serious crimes$ war crimes$ crimes against humanity$& Ms Pillay said. &!he scale of viciousness of the abuses being perpetrated by elements on both sides almost defies belief$& she said. !he evidence indicated responsibility &at the highest level of government$ including the head of state&$ she added. !he in uiry has also previously reported it has evidence that rebel forces in %yria have

been guilty of human rights abuses. )owever$ the investigators have always said the %yrian government appears to be responsible for the ma*ority$ and that the systematic nature of the abuse points to government policy. %yrian +eputy ,oreign Minister ,aisal Me-dad was dismissive of Ms Pillay's remar-s. &%he has been tal-ing nonsense for a long time and we don't listen to her$& he told AP.

)uman rights groups say that the regime's use of air power often amounts to war crimes Ms Pillay said the UN commission of in uiry had compiled a list of those believed to be directly responsible for serious human rights violations. It is assumed that senior figures in the %yrian military and government are on that list$ the ..C's Imogen ,oul-es reports from /eneva. )owever$ the names and specific evidence relating to them remain confidential pending a possible prosecution for war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court 0ICC1. %he has previously called on the UN %ecurity Council to refer %yria to the ICC. %yria is not a state party to the ICC and therefore any investigation into the conflict would need to be mandated by the %ecurity Council. )owever$ 2ussia and China have a veto on the council and would be highly unli-ely to let such a move pass. %eath toll 'over '$),&&&' Navi Pillay is the first UN figure to directly implicate Mr Assad in alleged war crimes

Ms Pillay's statement is a reminder of the severity of the situation in %yria as preparations are made for the /eneva II peace conference ne3t month$ our correspondent says. .oth the government and the opposition National Coalition have said they will attend the conference$ but the head of the 4estern5bac-ed rebel ,ree %yrian Army has said it will continue fighting during the tal-s. !he National Coalition says it categorically re*ects any role for President Assad in any transitional government$ while the regime has said it is not going to negotiate a &handover of power&. Also on Monday$ the %yrian 6bservatory for )uman 2ights$ a U75based activist group which monitors deaths in the conflict$ said its estimate of the number of dead had now reached '$),*()$ more than a third of them civilians. Almost 89$### rebel fighters had died$ and more than :#$### on the side of the government$ including both regular soldiers and pro5regime militias. !he latter figure also includes almost :## dead from the ;ebanese )e<bollah movement and other foreign %hia militias. )owever$ it said it believed these figures were an underestimate as both sides were reticent about reporting deaths in their ran-s.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful