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

Video Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa 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.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid