News / Middle East

UN: Both Sides in Syria Guilty of War Crimes

UN: Both Sides in Syria Guilty of War Crimesi
X
September 11, 2013 11:26 PM
A United Nations’ report says both sides in the Syrian conflict are committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. None of the perpetrators, the report concludes, fear any accountability for their crimes. Human rights campaigners say the report demonstrates the urgent need for diplomatic progress, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry prepares to discuss the crisis Thursday with his Russian counterpart in Geneva. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Henry Ridgwell
A United Nations’ report says both sides in the Syrian conflict are committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. None of the perpetrators, the report concludes, fear any accountability for their crimes. Human rights campaigners say the report demonstrates the urgent need for diplomatic progress, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry prepares to discuss the crisis Thursday with his Russian counterpart in Geneva.

The U.N. Commission of Inquiry report accuses Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces of massacring civilians, torture, bombing hospitals and the indiscriminate shelling of civilians - often with the suggestion of sectarian motives.

Opposition forces are also accused of crimes against humanity - in particular summary executions.

Syria Death Map - updated August 1, 2012Syria Death Map - updated August 1, 2012
x
Syria Death Map - updated August 1, 2012
Syria Death Map - updated August 1, 2012
Cilina Nasser, from the human rights group Amnesty International, said, “Killing has become so easy in Syria and it’s extremely worrying to see the escalation in these killings. It’s really scary. And unfortunately you feel that it doesn’t seem that this is going to end anytime soon."

Nasser said the perpetrators must be held accountable. "The best way to do this is for Russia and China to stop blocking the U.N. resolution that calls for Syria to be referred to the International Criminal Court. The International Criminal Court is the body that has the jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute war criminals."

The 20-strong U.N. team that compiled the report carried out 258 interviews with refugees, defectors and others in the region. But they have never been allowed into Syria despite repeated requests. Lama Fakih of Human Rights Watch, who spoke to VOA on the phone from Beirut, said getting around Syria is difficult and dangerous.

“They continue to deny them access into the country. Without access it makes it incredibly difficult to do strong documentation of human rights violations. Some opposition groups are taking journalists, humanitarian workers and other foreigners, they’re holding them to ransom,” said Fakih.

The U.N. inquiry report covers the period before the 21st of August, when Western governments say Assad’s forces killed more than a thousand civilians in a chemical attack outside Damascus. But the report does list other allegations of chemical weapons use before that date.

It will be presented to the U.N.’s Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday.

  • This citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network shows anti-Syrian regime protesters hold a poster depicting U.S. President Barack Obama during a demonstration in Kafr Nabil, Idlib province, Sept. 20, 2013.
  • Children sit along a damaged street filled with debris in the besieged area of Homs, Sept. 19, 2013.
  • Debris is seen on the ground after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the al-Myassar neighborhood of Aleppo, Sept. 19, 2013.
  • An injured man walks along a street after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the al-Myassar neighborhood of Aleppo, Sept. 19, 2013.
  • This citizen journalism image provided by The Syrian Revolution against Bashar Assad shows a Syrian military tank on fire during clashes with Free Syrian army fighters in Joubar, a suburb of Damascus, Sept. 18, 2013.
  • A member of the Shohadaa Badr Brigade, which operates under the Free Syrian Army, stands in shooting position behind sandbags in Ashrafieh, Aleppo, September 17, 2013.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters walk through rubble inside the old city of Aleppo, Sept. 16, 2013.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter carries his weapon as he stands on rubble of damaged buildings in al-Aseela neighborhood near Aleppo's historic citadel, Sept. 13, 2013.
  • In this citizen journalism image provided by the United media office of Arbeen, a Syrian protester chants slogans during a demonstration in Arbeen, a suburb of Damascus, Sept. 13, 2013.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
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 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.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs