“The conflict in Syria has reached new levels of brutality”, says a report of the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic. In the document the commission says that both sides have committed war crimes and there are “reasonable grounds” to believe that chemical weapons have been used. The report says also hat to add weapons to this war costs lives and the only path to a political settlement is a diplomatic rise.
The summary of the report says
This report documents for the first time the systematic imposition of sieges, the use of chemical agents and forcible displacement. War crimes, crimes against humanity and gross human rights violations continue apace. Referral to justice remains paramount.
This report covers the period 15 January to 15 May 2013. The findings are based on 430 interviews and other collected evidence.
Government forces and affiliated militia have committed murder, torture, rape, forcible displacement, enforced disappearance and other inhumane acts. Many of these crimes were perpetrated as part of widespread or systematic attacks against civilian populations and constitute crimes against humanity. War crimes and gross violations of international human rights law – including summary execution, arbitrary arrest and detention, unlawful attack, attacking protected objects, and pillaging and destruction of property – have also been committed. The tragedy of Syria’s 4.25 million internally displaced persons is compounded by recent incidents of IDPs being targeted and forcibly displaced.
Anti-Government armed groups have also committed war crimes, including murder, sentencing and execution without due process, torture, hostage-taking and pillage. They continue to endanger the civilian population by positioning military objectives in civilian areas. The violations and abuses committed by anti-Government armed groups did not, however, reach the intensity and scale of those committed by Government forces and affiliated militia.
There are reasonable grounds to believe that chemical agents have been used as weapons. The precise agents, delivery systems or perpetrators could not be identified.
The parties to the conflict are using dangerous rhetoric that enflames sectarian tensions and risks inciting mass, indiscriminate violence, particularly against vulnerable communities.
War crimes and crimes against humanity have become a daily reality in Syria where the harrowing accounts of victims have seared themselves on our conscience.
There is a human cost to the increased availability of weapons. Transfers of arms heighten the risk of violations, leading to more civilian deaths and injuries.
A diplomatic surge is the only path to a political settlement. Negotiations must be inclusive, and must represent all facets of Syria’s cultural mosaic.
- UN: War crimes a daily reality in Syria (aljazeera.com)
- UN human rights team believes chemical weapons used in Syria (abc.net.au)
- Syria: ‘reasonable grounds’ to believe chemical weapons used – The Guardian (guardian.co.uk)
- UN: More evidence needed on Syria chemical weapons (globalnews.ca)