U.N. Probe: Syria Disappearances a Crime against Humanity

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

Syrian government forces are waging a systematic campaign of enforced disappearances to terrorize the population, amounting to a crime against humanity, a U.N.-mandated probe said Thursday.

"Enforced disappearances are perpetrated as part of a widespread campaign of terror against the civilian population," the Independent International Commission of Inquiry said in a report.

"There are reasonable grounds to believe that enforced disappearances were committed by government forces as part of a widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population, and therefore amount to a crime against humanity," it added.

Syrian regular forces and allied militias launched the campaign as protests against the regime of President Bashar Assad broke out in March 2011, said the commission, which includes former war crimes prosecutor Carla del Ponte.

The actions have left anguished families not knowing if their loved ones are detained or dead.

The commission said that in 2011 through to early 2012, the majority of those who disappeared were men aged between 16 and 40 who were seized at demonstrations.

Since then, the net has widened, with mass arrests and targeted detentions of people such as relatives of known rebels and civilians living in opposition areas.

Patients from rebel-held zones who had to seek medical care in government-controlled areas were seized in hospitals, the commission added.

And medical staff were grabbed in an apparent attempt to punish them for working in opposition areas and deterring others from doing so.

The commission did not estimate the overall number of disappeared Syrians nor detail named cases, but a source familiar with the probe said it had documented over 100 cases.

"These numbers only represent a fraction of all cases of enforced disappearances in Syria. The commission has reason to believe that there are thousands," the source told Agence France Presse.

In September, the International Committee of the Red Cross, which specializes in tracing the missing in war zones, said that "untold numbers" had disappeared in Syria.

It said it had received over 1,000 requests from desperate relatives trying to find family members, with 800 thought to be detained, and the numbers were likely the tip of the iceberg.

The commission said individuals who seek news of missing relatives themselves risk arrest, creating a "climate of fear" that compounded the "systematic refusal" of the authorities to disclose the fate of their loved ones.

Often the only option was to try to obtain information from released detainees, or bribe middlemen, the report said.

The commission, headed by Brazilian Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, was created in 2011 by the U.N. Human Rights Commission.

It has issued a string of reports accusing the Syrian regime and rebels of war crimes, and has drawn up a confidential list naming suspected perpetrators.

Its disappearances report included evidence from Syrian military defectors.

The commission also examined rebel actions, saying that kidnappings carried out by some groups were sowing fear but did not "amount to enforced disappearances as the fate of the victims is not denied or concealed".

Such kidnappings could however constitute a war crime, it said.

It also warned that the hardline al-Qaida group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) had "begun to adopt practices, such as incommunicado detention, that may lead to disappearances.”

Comments 23
Thumb mckinl 19 December 2013, 13:51

I will not defend the Assad regime but I will point out that Nusra and Qaeda have slaughtered thousands as well ...

In the east Kurds have been subject to mass killings. In the west both Alawites and Christians have been targeted en masse.

This carnage must end ... the people of Syria are being betrayed by both sides ... only a comprehensive peace will suffice to end the bloodshed.

The foreigners, Nusra and Qaeda, must go. The war crimes of both sides investigated as soon as possible. This is impossible with the war raging.

Thumb _mowaten_ 19 December 2013, 17:30

according to the very neutral and very altruistic "UN", this never happened

Thumb _mowaten_ 19 December 2013, 17:40

besides, when they say "There are reasonable grounds to believe that enforced disappearances were committed by government forces" what are those "reasonable grounds" exactly? sounds like hearsay more than facts.

Missing --karim_m3-- 19 December 2013, 13:57

Kidnapping nuns/priests and beheading unarmed civilians,as the FSA-Al Qaeda terrorists routinely do, is also a "crime against humanity". But this so-called "UN-mandated probe" only focuses on the things that suit its agenda.

Missing ya_kord 19 December 2013, 15:55

let me get this straight! so you think torturing children and air strikes on bakeries and gas station are ok? you asloalso mention the crazy sunni jihadists that are foreigners but what about the shiaa Jihadists that are also foreigners??????

Missing ya_kord 19 December 2013, 15:56

beheading bad, child torture good according to mr Karin

Thumb _mowaten_ 19 December 2013, 17:31

most of the accusations against the SAA were fabrications and propaganda.
take the bakery for example, which you keep mentioning, here isthe behind the scenes "making of":

Missing ya_kord 19 December 2013, 15:58

I guess now we know that you consider Lebanon a part of Syria since u don't consider the shiaa jihadists as foreign.

Thumb terminator 19 December 2013, 13:59

Al nusra and Isis are the only ones that are fighting the correct way.
Areas under there control are becoming model communities.
You are nothing but a propaganda creating lier.

Thumb _mowaten_ 19 December 2013, 17:33

hahahahhaha man i feel sorry for you

Thumb benzona 19 December 2013, 15:26

This reminds of how my family was decimated in Russian Gulags. But at least they faced trials.... in Syria they simply vanish and get burried in some mass grave croatian and serbian style. it's disturbing.

Thumb cedre 19 December 2013, 21:32

how come ur family went to gulags ?

Thumb geha 19 December 2013, 15:48

both sides are doing the same thing.

what matters t us Lebanese is that now they can try assad for crimes against humanity.
too many Lebanese disappeared at the bloody hands of assad.

Thumb benzona 19 December 2013, 16:21

Akid, we demand justice, nothing else.

Thumb _mowaten_ 19 December 2013, 17:37

no, i personally voted you down because you bring up old stories, based entirely on hearsay, that are not even related to what is happening today.
what are you trying to say? that things that happened during the civil war can justify what is being done today? the syrian army supposedly killed some priests 25 years ago, so it's okay that nusra slaughters more priests and christians? what about monsignor khreiss then?

Thumb Maxx 19 December 2013, 17:48

Yalla rawwij ya Micho and go defend your friend Baschar at the UN and tell them that there are no prisoners in Syrian jails. If you were able to stand before the Lebanese people and tell them that there were no prisoners in Syrian jails a mere few months after you'd been yelling from Paris that there are, surely you won't find it too difficult to repeat the same line in front of the UN at your buddy's behest...

Missing peace 19 December 2013, 17:51

wahahaha!!! look at those M8 brave little bashar soldiers trying to make him appear like a saint incapable of doing any massacres or terror acts....

seems they forgot what this regime is capable of... poor hypocrits.

Thumb _mowaten_ 19 December 2013, 18:37

wahahahah!!! look at those m14 brave little saudi slaves, fighting their wars for them! if you hate syria so much, join the jihadis peace :)

Missing peace 19 December 2013, 19:20

poor moooowaten... i only notice that instead of condemning assad's massacres you always point out the massacres from the other side to deny your beloved regime is capable of doing the very same things you condemn islamists for...
of course it'll make you appear as accepting bashar's massacres...bad for your image...
in other words you are a true hypocrit!

Missing peace 19 December 2013, 19:41

bigjohn: only brainwashed would deny that the opposition does not do any massacres....
i never denied it and never supported it... and never will i support people killing innocents unlike M8ers who still support the massacres of assad....

is it clear?

Missing peace 19 December 2013, 19:21

no gabby it is pure zionist propaganda from M14. assad is a saint they even thank him!

Missing peace 19 December 2013, 19:38

telling who does most massacres is your personal assumption... of course pro assad will say the islamists and pro rebels will say assad!
you know nothing about it. how could you as there is NO objective sources to say so!

the real problem is M8ers who minimize or justify assad's massacres while condemning the others: it shows how hypocrit and low they are...

Missing peace 19 December 2013, 21:22

because given what assad did to lebanon then why should one pity him? how can you support a regime that harmed lebanon more than israel? LOL