UN: Both Sides Committing War Crimes in Syria

Investigators Urge Referral to ICC

by Jason Ditz, February 18, 2013

A United Nations investigator team has testified on the situation in Syria before the UN Security Council, confirming that both the Assad government and the Western-backed rebels have been committing widespread war crimes in the increasingly ugly civil war.

The team urged the Security Council to refer the matter to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to enable prosecutions of war criminals on both sides of the conflict. The team included former UN prosecutor Carla del Ponte, who insisted that the courts had to be involved.

Syria is not a party to the Rome Statute of the ICC, and so the courts can only be involved if the UN Security Council charges them with doing so. This also means such an effort could be vetoed.

Which is entirely possible, as Russia has repeatedly rejected moves that might lead to escalated international involvement in the Syrian Civil War, while Western nations are likely to object if both sides are held equally accountable, concerned it might undermine their efforts at regime change.

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