News / Middle East

International Effort Aims to Refer Syria to ICC

In this photo taken from video obtained from the Shaam News Network, Syrian men run to aid injured people in the aftermath of a strike by Syrian government warplanes on a neighborhood south of Damascus, Monday, Jan. 14, 2013.
In this photo taken from video obtained from the Shaam News Network, Syrian men run to aid injured people in the aftermath of a strike by Syrian government warplanes on a neighborhood south of Damascus, Monday, Jan. 14, 2013.
VOA News
Fifty-seven countries, led by Switzerland, are calling for the United Nations Security Council to refer the Syria conflict to the International Criminal Court for an investigation into war crimes.

The letter, sent on Monday to the 15-member Security Council, cites the findings of a U.N. panel documenting torture, sexual violence and summary executions that have occurred in Syria since the start of the uprising in March 2011.

It demands the Security Council open an ICC investigation "without exceptions and irrespective of the alleged perpetrators."

As the violence continues, humanitarian groups are calling on the international community to increase aid for refugees driven from their homes by the crisis.

The International Rescue Committee issued a new report Monday warning that the region faces a "staggering humanitarian disaster."  It outlines the challenges refugees face in accessing health care, as well as what it calls "horrific levels" of sexual violence that many families cited as their reason for fleeing Syria.

The group is urging donors to meet calls by the United Nations for $1.5 billion in funding, as well as other resources to help neighboring countries now housing thousands of Syrian refugees.
Selena Victor, advocacy director with the IRC, said even if the conflict in Syria ends, the effects of the fighting will leave a long-term, large-scale need for refugee and reconstruction aid.

"The needs are enormous - there are two million people who have been forced to flee their home, half a million refugees in the region," said Victor. "The whole of the infrastructure inside Syria has been basically decimated. And the impact on people has been absolutely massive. The reconstruction efforts required will be enormous, and I think we need to take that on board right now."

The violence continued Monday with Syrian fighters jets continuing to bomb the Damascus suburbs.  Activists say air strikes on the rebel-held town of Moadamiyeh, southwest of the capital, killed at least 13 people, including women and children. 

  • Syrian security personnel, members of the civil defence and civilians gather at the site where a large blast hit a neighborhood of Aleppo, January 18, 2013.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter runs for cover at a suburb of Damascus, January 17, 2013.
  • Residents stand near buildings damaged by missiles fired by a Syrian Air Force fighter jet in Daraya, January 17, 2013.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter holds a rifle in the Ain Tarma neighborhood of Damascus, January 15, 2013.
  • Syrians gather at the scene of an explosion outside Aleppo University, between the university dormitories and the architecture facility, January 15, 2013.
  • A street vendor sells cotton candy in Aleppo, January 15, 2013.
  • A woman walks near a crater caused by missiles fired by a Syrian Air Force fighter jet near Idlib, January 15, 2013.
  • Buildings in Erbeen, near Damascus, damaged by missiles fired by a Syrian Air Force fighter jet, January 15, 2013.
  • Internally displaced Syrian children sit on a bench at a school in Aleppo, January 14, 2013.
  • People gather at a site hit by missiles fired by a Syrian Air Force fighter jet in Azaz, north of Aleppo, January 13, 2013.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter aims his weapon in the Saif al-Dawlah neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria, January 13, 2013.
  • A farmer transports a tree which will be used for heating in the countryside of Idlib January 13, 2013.
  • A boy, standing next to his father, cries as they wait to receive humanitarian aid in the countryside of Idlib January 13, 2013.
The Syrian government has been waging an offensive to dislodge rebels from strategic areas around Damascus.  Activists reported at least 130 deaths across the country Sunday.

Meanwhile, Russia urged the rebels to make counter-proposals to those made by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a recent speech to start a dialogue that could end the fighting.

​Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Sunday that if he were "in the opposition's place," he would come up with ideas in response on how to establish a dialogue.

He repeated Russia's position that the opposition's demand for  Assad to quit could not be a precondition for peace talks to end the 21-month conflict that has killed at least 60,000 people.

You May Like

Unpaid Kurdish Fighters Sign of Economic Woes

Sharp cuts in Kurdistan's budget by Baghdad, falling oil revenue, coping with refugees, inflated public sector have hit regional economy hard More

Koreas Exchange List of Envoys for Family Reunion Talks

Officials will discuss date, venue and number of participants for reunion; Seoul hopes to hold event late this month More

China Targets 197 in Online Speech Crackdown

Nearly 200 punished for 'spreading rumors' online in ongoing crackdown on free speech More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Kafantaris from: USA
January 15, 2013 3:58 PM
Knowing that their fate is sealed -- with little expectation of mercy -- Assad and his followers are in a destructive mode dangerous to us all.
Either we take then out now or we deal with their mess later.
And forget Russia. The world community must act now and neither Russia nor China have any moral grounds to stop us.
Besides, we have waited for these two long enough.

by: The Poor Destiny Of Assad from: USA
January 15, 2013 7:35 AM
Some persons in the world have guessed that, Assad’s destiny can be just like Gaddafi’s.

by: Michael from: USA
January 14, 2013 8:20 AM
Switzerland leads the way for the criminal court by finding more evidence from the shared violence, which removes the Syrian problem once and for all out of failed talks to a external goal: prosecution. The summation of crimes result in more than a few so it is difficult to understand how this could be presented in one court

by: Assad Will Face ICC !!! from: USA
January 14, 2013 6:59 AM
Assad, from a legal president of Syria, becomes an illegal president, and from an illegal president, becomes a very serious criminal not only of Syria, but also the whole world.
Certainly, he will have to face ICC, in the near future.
This is a really necessary lesson for the rest of all dictatorial and cruel leaders worldwide.
In Response

by: Anonymous
January 14, 2013 11:56 AM
You would think so wouldn't you but nooooo it still happens. Look at Iraq and Libya, you would think Bashar would get the hint not to be so brutal, but he was.... In fact more brutal than any of the other countries the US went after already. Bashar is up _hit creek without a paddle now.

by: Anonymous
January 14, 2013 4:49 AM
What would also be wonderful, is if they do go after Bashar al Assad for massacres and genocide... The world will want a Russian Government explanation for protecting and arming a terrorist leader inflicting genocide on the nation of Syria. This would be a serious slap to Putins face.
In Response

by: PutinWillGetHeavyStorms! from: The US
January 15, 2013 7:15 AM
To Putin, brutal violence is the best key for everything.
But surely, in the near future, everything won’t be too simple like all his calculations for his power, as well as for destinies of all dictatorial and cruel leaders worldwide, that have been supported well by him…

by: musicmaster from: Netherlands
January 14, 2013 4:31 AM
Maybe Syria should start a case at the ICJ against the US, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia for supporting the uprising. With Nicaragua-US case about support for the Contras case as a precedent that would be a sure win for Syria.

by: Anonymous
January 14, 2013 4:26 AM
Absolutely 100 % the best news I;ve heard yet about Syria.
Bashar will be the first on their list, he deserves to be behind bars for the rest of his life.

by: Carlos .. from: US
January 13, 2013 11:14 PM
It is disgraceful and despicable cowardice shown by President Obama in his abandonment of the Syrian people and his implicit support of Hitler in Damascus .. his State Dept smarties in pin-stripes tell him that he should not help the rebels to win too soon .. or not at all .. because there would be anarchy in Syria .. it is better to keep Hitler in power .. so what if hundreds of brave and innocent Syrians are maimed and murdered .. I have been to Aleppo .. it is shameful to be an American with President Obama in charge ..
In Response

by: Anonymous
January 14, 2013 11:55 AM
Well Russia is not wanting anyone to help oust Bashar criminal or not it seems, and has their entire Navy Fleet not far from Syrias coast. It was USA that tried to help the legal way, and the Russians and Chinese snubbed that idea. I was upset the west couldnt do anything either but it is the fault more of the Russians than anyone.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 02, 2015 6:19 PM
Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.

VOA Blogs