UN has enough evidence for Syrian war crime indictments – report
MOSCOW, March 19 (RAPSI) - UN investigators said Tuesday that evidence of war crimes in Syria is strong enough at this point to substantiate indictments, Reuters reported. A list of suspected war criminals including individuals on both sides of the conflict was reportedly expanded.
"We do not lack information on crimes or even on perpetrators. What we lack is a means by which to achieve justice and accountability but this is not in our powers," Chairman of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria Paulo Pinheiro told reporters, as quoted by Reuters.
Inquiry member Carla del Ponte added that “objective evidence” has been gathered that can be used by prosecutors for any International Criminal Court (ICC) case going forward. "This commission has collected a lot of evidence that can be used tomorrow to prepare an indictment," she was quoted by Reuters as having said.
Del Ponte is well known in the field of international criminal law, as she previously served as chief prosecutor for the UN’s war crimes tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.
The Inquiry released an update Tuesday on the situation in Syria, revealing that four years into the conflict, violence in the region has shown no signs of relenting.
The report noted the devastating effects of starvation in the country: “Civilians in besieged areas have been reduced to scavenging. In this conflict’s most recent low-point, people, including young children, have starved to death.”
Another threat discussed in the report was the spread of extremism: “There are now hundreds of non-State armed groups. Foreign fighters have streamed into Syria, often joining the more extremist battalions. Some… are imposing their radical ideologies on the civilian population.”