||Home > Justice & Peace > 2012-07-03 08:43:56
UN Human Right Chief: Refer Syria to the ICC
(Vatican Radio) The U.N. high commissioner for human rights on Monday called on the Security Council to strengthen the suspended U.N. observer mission in Syria and renewed her call for the country's conflict to be referred to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. The conflict in Syria has killed more than 14,000 people since the revolt began in March 2011, according to some estimates. The fighting has grown increasingly militarized in recent months, with rebel forces launching attacks and ambushes on regime targets.
The UN human rights chief Navi Pillay told the Security Council on Monday there have been violations by both the Syrian government and the opposition that rise to the level of crimes against humanity.
“Hundreds remain trapped in and the old city of Homs due to increasing use of heavy weapons and continuing armed clashes and OHCHR and the independent commission of inquiry in Syria have documented serious human rights violations by both government and the opposition forces,” she said.
The 300-member U.N. mission in Syria repeatedly came under fire before the U.N. suspended it last month, and its future is not clear.
Pillay said the mission's presence in Syria remains vital, but France's U.N. Ambassador Gerard Araud said Syria will remain too dangerous for U.N. observers until a political process gets under way.
``The mission itself can't stop the violence, so we need a political process'' he said. ``If by any chance there is a political process, the observers will be necessary and useful. If not, we will have to look at the options of closing or downgrading it.''
Araud also said opposition to sanctions against Syria by some members of the Security Council will prevent the conflict from being referred to the International Criminal Court, as Pillay has suggested.
"As France is concerned it's very clear we are very much in favour of referring Syria to the ICC. The problem is that it will have to be part of, I guess, a global understanding of the Council and I do think that for the moment we have not yet reached this point."
Friends of Syria, the contact group of countries and NGO’s which is attempting to find a solution to the Syrian crisis, meets on Friday in Paris.