UN to reveal names of Syrian war crime suspects

Published March 18th, 2015 - 08:00 GMT

UN's war crime investigators for Syria offered Tuesday to share a confidential list of war crimes suspects with national prosecution authorities willing to prepare cases to be heard before an impartial judiciary.

"We encourage these authorities to contact us with requests for information," Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, chair of the inquiry, told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The UN's Commission for Inquiry on Syria has been compiling lists of alleged human rights violators since the beginning of the Syrian conflict in March 2011.

Pinheiro said that the list includes diverse perpetrators from all sides including government and opposition forces and "terrorist" groups.

"We will not be releasing the list of names publicly now," he said. "We will share names and information about specific alleged perpetrators with state prosecution authorities that are preparing cases to be heard before a competent and impartial judiciary."

In February, the commission had said that they were considering publishing names of suspects.

Earlier, the commission had appealed to the UN Security Council to take the cases to the International Criminal Court. However Russia, which has been a strong supporter of the Syrian regime, and China have repeatedly vetoed any resolution concerning bringing Syrian officials to court for war crimes.

Syria's ambassador to the UN, Hussam Edin Aala, in response, described the commission's move as "biased" and accused Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia of "sponsoring terrorism" and the UN of remaining silent over it.

Syria has regularly accused these three countries of backing terrorist organizations such as the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front.

The conflict in Syria began as an anti-government uprising in 2011, but the Assad government's crackdown on the demonstrations ignited fighting that turned into a civil war leaving at least 210,000 people dead and displacing almost half of the country's population, according to the UN.

Germany investigates ‘war crimes’ by Assad regime

Germany’s chief prosecutor announced Tuesday that his office launched investigations into alleged war crimes committed by the Assad regime in Syria.

Chief federal prosecutor Harald Range told local media that the prosecutor's office was currently conducting 68 investigations on foreign fighters who travelled to Syria, but also several other investigations on members of the Assad regime.

"The subjects of our investigations also include crimes committed by members of the Assad regime, according to the Code of Crimes against International Law," Range said in a written statement.

He did not give any details on the incidents and names of the officials who are suspected of committing crimes against humanity.

Germany’s Code of Crimes against International Law gives courts universal jurisdiction over war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

The opposition Syrian National Coalition has repeatedly accused the regime of using internationally-banned weapons, including barrel bombs, targeting civilian areas and using chemical weapons.

The Syrian regime agreed to the destruction of its declared chemical weapons stockpile after a chemical attack in August 2013 that killed more than 1,400 people in the suburbs of Damascus.

© Copyright Andolu Ajansi

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