Russia an China vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that would have referred the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The resolution, presented by the french ambassador was backed by the other 13 members of the Council and would have given the Court the mandate to investigate the crimes committed during the course of the conflict in Syria that had lead to the death of over 100,000 civilians, the displacement of millions and widespread violations of human rights, according to the UN.
Prior to the vote the Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin called the resolution a “publicity stunt” and announced he was going to veto the proposal. After the veto he said that “The draft resolution rejected today reveals an attempt to use the ICC to further inflame the political passions and lay the groundwork for eventual outside military intervention.”
The French ambassador Gerard Araud denied such causation and said that “the text drafted by France was a very simple text. It was saying that whatever crimes are committed by whichever side, sooner or later there will be a justice. The text was nonpartisan; it was covering all the territory of Syria and also both sides to the conflict. Russia hasn’t explained why it was opposing this referral which, considering the situation, was a simple way of saying that sooner or later the criminals would be submitted to justice. It is very sad, it was a simple proposal and I regret that Russia has chosen a polemical approach to respond to a proposal which was anything but polemical.”
“The Syrian people have a fundamental right to justice. The United Nations and its Member States have a fundamental duty to defend that right,” Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said in remarks delivered on behalf of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon prior to the vote, the Un news services informs.
“Since the outbreak of the war in Syria, I have persistently called for accountability for perpetrators of grave human rights violations, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The recent attacks against humanitarian convoys and personnel, which may constitute war crimes, add to the urgent need to see action now on accountability in Syria,” he stated.
“The Security Council has an inescapable responsibility in this regard. States that are members of both the Security Council and the Human Rights Council have a particular duty to end the bloodshed and to ensure justice for the victims of unspeakable crimes.”
In February 2013, the UN-appointed Commission of Inquiry concluded that the ICC is the appropriate venue to pursue the fight against impunity in Syria, the UN informs.
“If members of the Council continue to be unable to agree on a measure that could provide some accountability for the ongoing crimes, the credibility of this body and of the entire Organization will continue to suffer,” Mr. Eliasson warned.
The veto occurred less than 10 days after the Joint UN-League of Arab States Special Representative on the Syria crisis, Lakhdar Brahimi, resigned from his post after nearly two years of diplomatic efforts to bring about a political solution to the brutal civil war. The Un press services informs.
In accepting the envoy’s resignation, the UN chief had acknowledged that the 80-year old Algerian diplomat had faced almost impossible odds, “with a Syrian nation, Middle Easters region and wider international community that have been hopelessly divided in their approaches to ending the conflict.”