المرصد السوري لحقوق الانسان
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

UN to set up Syrian war crime panel

The United Nations on Wednesday approved a Liechtenstein-drafted resolution to set up a panel to gather evidence of possible war crimes in Syria.

The panel will “collect, consolidate, preserve and analyse evidence of violations” of human rights since March 2011 and prepare files that can be passed on to criminal tribunals, the resolution states.

It marks the first time the international community has been able to agree on such a step.

In the preceding debate, Syrian Ambassador Bashar al-Jaafari attempted to prevent the vote, arguing that the body did not have the necessary authority.

The resolution passed with the support of 105 states, reaching the simple majority needed among its 193 members. Iran, China and Russia – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s main ally – voted against.

Beforehand, Liechtenstein Ambassador Christian Wenaweser told dpa the move was necessary because Syria was not a member of the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Due to repeated vetoes by Russia in the UN Security Council, it was time to find an alternative way of launching criminal proceedings, he said.

Human rights groups greeted the decision.

“The General Assembly today demonstrated that it can take the reins on questions of justice in the face of a Security Council deadlock,” said Balkees Jarah of Human Rights Watch.

“The countries that voted for this unprecedented Syria resolution took a critically important stand for victims of grave crimes.”

© 2016 dpa GmbH

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