News / Middle East

UN Accuses All Armed Groups in Syria of War Crimes

A pro-regime soldier aims a rocket launcher towards rebel locations in the Qalamoun region on the outskirts of the Syrian capital Damascus, Feb. 13, 2014.
A pro-regime soldier aims a rocket launcher towards rebel locations in the Qalamoun region on the outskirts of the Syrian capital Damascus, Feb. 13, 2014.
Lisa Schlein
A new investigative report into the Syrian conflict accuses all armed groups of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Based on research and more than 500 interviews conducted between July and January, the report, released Wednesday by the independent international Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, sees no end in sight to the three-year-old war, nor an end to massacres and brutal human rights violations committed by all armed parties to the conflict.

According to the recently published findings, the war has claimed more than 130,000 lives and created nine million refugees and internally displaced people. The U.N. investigators, who have just returned from refugee camps in neighboring countries of asylum, say many of the victims feel abandoned and without hope.

The commission chairman, Brazilian legal scholar Paulo Pinheiro, says the latest report documents widespread attacks and sieges on civilian areas in Syria by pro-government forces leading to mass casualties, malnutrition and starvation.

As in the past, the Syrian government has denied the investigators access to the country.

“One of the most stark trends we have documented is the use of siege warfare," Pinheiro said. "The denial of humanitarian food and basic necessities, such as medical care and clean water, has forced people to choose between surrender and starvation. In this report we document how government forces and pro-government militias continue to conduct widespread attacks on civilians, systematically committing murder, torture, rape and enforced disappearances as crimes against humanity.”

The report also identifies rebel groups in Al-Raqqah whom, the U.N. reports for the first time, it accuses of widespread detentions and systematic torture of prisoners, amounting to crimes against humanity. It also accuses pro-government and non-state armed groups of massacres.

Pinheiro says all warring parties are committing atrocities with total impunity, and that all parties disrespect the rules of engagement and do not fear being held accountable for their acts.

“The Security Council bears responsibility for not addressing accountability and allowing the warring parties to violate these rules with total impunity," he said. "Member states that are supporting parties, both parties, into one and the other, they can be held responsible for the breeches of international humanitarian law by the forces that are being supported.”

Pinheiro does not name any specific country, but Russia, a staunch ally of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has vetoed a number of Security Council resolutions to condemn the war and ease access by humanitarian agencies to the victims.

Only the Security Council can refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court. Chairman Pinheiro says the Commission has drawn up a secret list of perpetrators and has established a data bank of all crimes and violations that will be available to the ICC for any future prosecution.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
March 06, 2014 3:47 PM
An arrest warrant must be made for bashar al assad for the killing of thousands and thousands of civilians.

An arrest warrant must then be made for "Putin" for his arming and supporting of the systematic killing and terrorism implemented on the people of Syria by bashar.

You can not help a person like Assad without being held accountable too... That's a fact.

by: Anonymous
March 06, 2014 3:36 PM
What you have in Syria is a dictator who doesn't want to leave his seat even if the people want him gone. He has tried to force himself to stay even though the people hate him for murder and destruction all over Syria plunging Syria backwards 30-40yrs... Assad is using terror tactics to kill opposition of any kind. How do everyday Syrians fight back against a tyrant leader that uses terror on the people? They have no alternative to fight fire with fire, or they will all die.

Assad must be arrested immediatly and held accountable for all of his crimes. Then we can go after anyone else that is causing terror. Lets unplug the source of the problem first.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More