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UN's rights chief says Assad should face war crimes probe
Published Saturday 16/02/2013 (updated) 04/03/2013 10:04
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LONDON (Reuters) -- The United Nations human rights chief said on Saturday Syrian President Bashar Assad should be probed for war crimes and called for immediate action by the international community, including possible military intervention.

Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights, repeated her call for the Syrian president to be referred to the International Criminal Court for the actions of his forces in the civil war which the UN says has left almost 70,000 dead in 22 months of fighting.

Asked if Assad should be investigated for war crimes, she told Britain's Channel 4 News: "He's not but he should be.

"This is my strong call that I made 18 months ago. Based on the evidence, I said crimes against humanity and Syria's war crimes are being committed by President Assad's forces, his security forces, and other groups allied to him," she said.

"There should be a referral by the Security Council to the International Criminal Court. I would describe (Assad's actions) as evidence of crimes against humanity and war crimes, against his own people."

World powers are divided on how to stop the escalating violence in Syria and the Security Council is unlikely to refer the matter to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which is not an official UN body.

Permanent Security Council members Russia and China have acted as Syria's protector on the council by repeatedly blocking Western efforts to take stronger UN action - such as sanctions - against the Syrian government.

Pillay said the Security Council had a range of tools to keep warring sides apart to allow negotiations, and said action was needed urgently.

"I'm not arguing for any specific intervention," she said. "It's an intergovernmental decision on what kind of action - intervention, peacekeeping, military intervention or a referral to the International Criminal Court. We urge that action be taken immediately. "

However, she acknowledged that after the UN intervention in Libya in 2011 which led to the ousting of former leader Muammar Gaddafi, some members of the Security Council were loathe to use force again, in case it led to regime change and "so acting out the interests of one or other government".

"This is what I'm hearing in the Security Council," she said.

"If there is doubt and hesitation it is because people are assessing the value of military intervention in places like Libya, Syria and Afghanistan. That it could become a long, drawn out war with no guarantees that civilians will not be harmed in that process."
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1 ) Mel / USA
17/02/2013 19:03
Well,Navi Pillay might have a problem with that? Because any dictatorial WAR CRIME history of any Arab/Muslim leadership was-up until 2yrs ago,conveniently UTILIZED by our USG&Israel,Jordan,Egypt,Saudi,Morocco,AfPak,IRAQ&Syria! Zionists & Hafiz/Bashar Al Assad,Mubarak,Saddam,Abdullah,Musharraf,Gaddafi,Blair,etc were 'partners' in D.C./CIA KIDNAPPING("Extraordinary Rendition)&TORTURE("Enhanced Interrogation")"GLOVES-OFF"programs(MURDER).USG&Israel doesn't let such'partners'LIVE,to blow WHISTLES!

2 ) hariri / usa
17/02/2013 20:42
sheis corrupted

3 ) Ben Barka / Tanzania
18/02/2013 08:24
Does Pillay also consider prosecuting the rulers of Bahrain, Saudi Kingdom, Qatar, Kuwait etc ?

4 ) Reader / from Edmonton
23/02/2013 15:39
If the terrorists laid down their arms the war would be over. It is not possible to fault only one side in this conflict. Navi Pillay is being too coy with the truth.

5 ) IVAN / RUSSIA
27/02/2013 03:00
CORRUPTED,MENTALY ILL WOMEN!

6 ) Tissa / Sri Lanka
28/02/2013 14:07
What has she got to say about the terrorist proxies of Sri Lanka that she is openly supporting. Don't play a double game Madam.
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