58 countries urge UN to bring those responsible for crimes in Syria to justice

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Nearly 60 countries have issued a joint appeal to the UN member states to support a draft resolution authorizing International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate war crimes committed in Syria, the Associated Press news agency reports. If approved, the French-proposed draft will refer allegations of war crimes committed by the Syrian government, pro-government forces and armed opposition groups to the ICC.

The authors of the resolution are hoping to get as many nations as possible to join in sending “a strong political signal … that impunity for the most serious crimes under international law is unacceptable.”

The proposed draft takes note of the findings by an independent commission appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate human rights violations in Syria. In its latest report last September, the commission claimed that at least eight massacres had been perpetrated in Syria by Bashar Assad’s government and pro-government forces, and one by anti-Assad rebels in the previous year and a half, AP says.

UN Security Council to hold a vote May 22 on passing Syrian dossier to ICC

The UN Security Council is going to vote on the draft resolution, earlier presented by France, to transfer the Syrian dossier to the International Criminal Court (ICC), a diplomatic source in the organization told RIA Novosti.

“The vote is scheduled for next Thursday,” the source said. If Russia and China, as permanent members of the UN Security Council, vote against, then the resolution will not be accepted.

The draft resolution was sent circulated for review to 15 state members of the board May 12. The Russian draft resolution on the humanitarian situation in Syria is also expected to be reviewed at the UN Security Council.

Earlier this week, the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon accepted Tuesday the resignation of the United Nations and Arab League special envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi. Brahimi led the Syrian government and opposition representatives in two rounds of talks in Switzerland.

The last ended without agreement even on an agenda for talks. The civil war in Syria broke out following unrest that swept the Arab world three years ago, known as the Arab Spring. Armed opposition groups linked to al-Qaeda have called for the ouster of President al-Assad.

Moscow has repeatedly condemned the rise of terrorism in Syria and has urged the international community to take steps toward the peaceful settlement of the conflict, including holding democratic presidential elections.

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