UN Offers to Share Syrian War Crimes Suspects

UNHRC c'tee in charge of investigating Syria to share names of war crimes suspects with state prosecutors, after ICC bid falls flat.

Arutz Sheva Staff, | updated: 12:34

Syrian refugees (illustration)
Syrian refugees (illustration)
Flash 90

UN investigators offered Tuesday to share names from secret lists of alleged Syria war criminals with prosecutors, to help end the "culture of impunity" in the country, AFP reports. 

The commission of inquiry on the human rights situation in Syria has been compiling lists of people suspected of committing war crimes in the brutal Syrian conflict for the past four years, but kept them secret for use in future prosecution.

The investigators have repeatedly appealed to a blocked UN Security Council to refer the cases to the International Criminal Court, but in vain.

Frustrated with the standstill, the head of the commission Paulo Pinheiro said Tuesday that the investigators would share names from the lists with prosecution authorities in any country preparing cases.

"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," he told the UN Human Rights Council.

The commission has drawn up four lists of individuals and groups it believes are guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria over the course of the four-year conflict.

Until now it kept them locked in a safe in Geneva out of concern for due process, but the investigators hinted last month they were considering publishing the lists to help stop an "exponential rise" in atrocities in the country.

But Pinheiro told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva Tuesday the investigators "will not be releasing the list of names publicly now."

Instead, "we can best aid the pursuit of justice at this time through targeted disclosure," he said, urging national authorities to get in touch.

By only giving specific names to proper prosecution authorities, he said, the investigators hoped to ensure that respect for "human rights, the fair trial rights of the accused and the right to truth of the victims." 

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