UN: Both Rebels and Regime Have Committed War Crimes In Syria

Few in Washington are questioning the wisdom of sending aid to war criminals

by John Glaser, August 15, 2012

The Syrian government and the rebels fighting to overthrow it have committed war crimes, according to a United Nations investigative report, Reuters reports.

“We have identified both parties as guilty of war crimes and of course a greater number and of bigger variety from the government side,” Karen AbuZayd, one of two UN commissioners told Reuters.

The report finds that the regime of President Bashar al-Assad has committed war crimes including murder and torture of civilians as a matter of policy. The Syrian rebels have committed war crimes that include executions and torture, but on a smaller scale.

“We have many instances reported to us where the anti-government forces have executed prisoners. They say they don’t have detention facilities and are not based in one territory and can’t take care of them. This is a war crime,” Paulo Pinheiro, the lead commissioner said.

The report calls on the UN for greater action, given its finding of gross violations of human rights. The Security Council could refer the case to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute the perpetrators, but since several members support either side in the Syrian conflict, the measure would undoubtedly be vetoed.

The Western media has been mostly silent on the fact that the US has been sending support to groups that have committed war crimes. Rebel militias continue to receive both lethal and non-lethal aid in their quest for regime change in Syria from the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and NATO allies.

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