U.N. Probe Ready to Release Syria 'War Criminals' List

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U.N. investigators said Friday they were prepared to publish secret lists of alleged war criminals in Syria to help stem an "exponential rise" in rights violations in the war-ravaged country.

A commission of inquiry said publishing the list it has been drawing up throughout Syria's nearly four-year civil war would put "alleged perpetrators on notice" and could "serve to maximize the potential deterrent effect" and "help to protect people at risk of abuse."

The four-member commission, led by Brazilian Paolo Pinheiro, has drawn up four lists of people and groups it believes are guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, but has until now kept them secret out of concern for due process.

But the investigators said they were ready to shift their approach after four years of efforts to shed light on atrocities.

"We are trying to convince, to mobilize the international community to consider all options on the table for accountability and not to ignore the horrific, the abominable situation of the victims of this war," Pinheiro told reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York Friday.

More than 210,000 people have been killed in Syria and half of the population has been forced to flee their homes since the conflict erupted in March 2011.

- Assad on the list? -

"Not to publish the names at this juncture of the investigation would be to reinforce the impunity that the commission was mandated to combat," the commission said in a report.

The investigators are set to hand over a fifth list of suspected war criminals to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva next month, and Pinheiro said he expects the council to decide during a March 17 meeting whether to publish the names.

The lists include a number of unit commanders and armed group leaders who were identified as perpetrators on the basis of their command responsibility.

The investigators have refused to say whether Syrian President Bashar Assad or any of his close aides are on the list, but former U.N. rights chief Navi Pillay, who was safeguarding the list, said more than a year ago that "the evidence indicates responsibility at the highest level of government, including the head of state."

Publishing the names might help halt what the report described as "an exponential rise in the perpetration of war crimes, crimes against humanity and human rights violations."

In its ninth report, the commission detailed a horrifying array of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by the Syrian regime, Islamic State (IS) jihadists and other armed opposition groups.

- 'Unconscionable' -

The commission has never gained access to Syria but has collected thousands of witness accounts, satellite photographs and documents to build up a case of human rights violations.

The investigators expressed deep frustration at what it deemed an inadequate international response to the atrocities taking place on a daily basis in Syria. 

"It is unconscionable that Syrians should continue to suffer as they have for the last four years and have to live in a world where only limited attempts have been made to return Syria to peace, and to seek justice for the victims," Pinheiro said in a statement.

The team of investigators has repeatedly urged the blocked U.N. Security Council to refer the crimes to the International Criminal Court, to no avail.

In New York, they were to once again urge the Security Council to investigate war crimes in Syria, but also suggested the cases could go before an ad hoc tribunal similar to the one created for the former Yugoslavia, that would be based in a country near Syria.

Comments 32
Thumb justin 20 February 2015, 17:45

Nasrallah should top the list with Assad.

Thumb _mowaten_ 20 February 2015, 18:31

yea because the world powers who arm takfiris and moderated beheaders and also happen to sit at the UN really care about syrian civilians....

Thumb _mowaten_ 20 February 2015, 18:32

the saouds should get a nobel prize for their efforts in spreading freedom and democracy in the world, but they might have to share with the al-thanis

Missing imagine_1979 20 February 2015, 18:35

Only khomaini the great has the answers; look and u will see, the whole world is zionist, only moderates, humanirians democratic laic freedome lovers khomaini assad and co..are the solution....

Thumb EagleDawn 20 February 2015, 18:54

Oh look, the khamanei propaganda department is open again

Thumb scorpyonn 20 February 2015, 19:04

Assad assad and ssad-- the buck stops with that bastard.

Missing humble 20 February 2015, 21:45

Whatever the idiots of Caporal say, the No 1 criminal that will be taken to International Court is the Butcher with members of his family.

Missing helicopter 21 February 2015, 00:51

I think it is a toss up between them and ISIS (ISIS might have done little worse)

Default-user-icon illegitimate & illiterate.southern (Guest) 20 February 2015, 18:24

spot on @southern and so poetically said!

Thumb chrisrushlau 20 February 2015, 18:25

Lebanon's constitution is the last defense against democracy.

Thumb saturn 20 February 2015, 18:30

Add Nusra, IS and other "Moderate" rebels.

Thumb _mowaten_ 20 February 2015, 18:33

Think they'd crush the terrorists they've been training arming and sending through their borders too? Delusional freak.

Missing helicopter 21 February 2015, 00:53

If they handle Assad and HA while the Turks handle ISIS, then mission would have been accomplished.

Missing imagine_1979 20 February 2015, 18:37

Indeed and we should get the islamic revolutionary counsil be the jury with suprem leadder ayatolah al khomaiini as supreme judge... U know democratic secular modern iranian style...

Thumb scorpyonn 20 February 2015, 19:04

Lol- Southern is a major Iranian stooge. I feel sorry for people like him who cannot see the forest for the trees.

Thumb _mowaten_ 20 February 2015, 19:20

You seem obsessed about "houthis", talking about them day and night, fantasizing about their romantic lives...
It's pretty clear isnt it? I think you're bitter because you're in love with one of them but got turned down because you are a 120kg greasy boy who spends his days eating cheatos and posting stale propaganda for 2$/h

Thumb liberty 21 February 2015, 05:53

and the mouthpiece of the huthis mowaten is obsessed with defending huthis

Thumb _mowaten_ 21 February 2015, 12:45

lol pijama, ca fait 15 "derniers avertissements" et 15 fois que je ne n'en ai rien a faire.

Thumb canadianpaul 20 February 2015, 20:33

Pinheiro is a Takfiri-Imperialist-Zionist-Wahabi agent, LOL.

Thumb kanaanljdid 20 February 2015, 20:48

Here is the list of the main culprits:

1 - Bashar al Assad
2 - Hassan Nasrallah
3 - Ali Khamenei and Hassan Rouhani

Thumb Mystic 20 February 2015, 21:34

In New York okay yeah right, how about trial Bush & Blair for their crimes against humanity, Or Netanyahu for that matter. Also put the list of takfiri supporters, Erdogan, Qatari Emir and the dead Saudi kingpin aswell.

Thumb saturn 20 February 2015, 22:20

One moment... the Syrian regime that the ones on your avatar supported to death, is it innocent of crimes against humanity?

Missing peace 20 February 2015, 23:10

are you so upset that assad may be a war criminal? sure, it would be bad for your propaganda... supporting a butcher would not be honorable ... but honor is the least of hezbollah's concern....

Missing humble 20 February 2015, 21:44

Whatever the idiots of Caporal say, the No 1 criminal that will be taken to International Court is the Butcher with members of his family.

Missing humble 20 February 2015, 21:44

Whatever the idiots of Caporal say, the No 1 criminal that will be taken to International Court is the Butcher with members of his family.

Missing imagine_1979 20 February 2015, 21:59

This repport seems to target all not only assad and that seems to disturb u... Chill man, and can u tell me should we wait for global world justice to be donne so that we can have some around us... It is always israel zionist imperialist blablabla, ok fine but u propose khomainism? Assad humanitarism? Putin sicialism? Aren't they corupted to? Don't they scrap human rights even in their own countries (before talking of the west who export hatered for its own intrest? Is khomainii ur model of tolerance?
Grow up bigjohn the world chaged, the chinese comrad now druved mercedes, russia has a new tzar....

Thumb megahabib 20 February 2015, 22:00

Completely useless, it will not change a thing on the ground.

Default-user-icon kabab (Guest) 21 February 2015, 06:43

Yea assad will stay stuck only holding 30% of Syrian territory the way he's been for the past three years.

Thumb Gassy_29 20 February 2015, 23:40

Syrian VP Farouk Al-Sharaa, in an Al-Akhbar Exclusive: "At the beginning of the mobilization, the authorities begged for the appearance of a single armed person or a sniper at the top of one of the buildings. I do not deny that some of us acted as if the dialogue was unnecessary and whispered this to the leadership. So it distanced itself under the pretext that the internal and external opposition saw it as one of the regime’s charades. In the end, this finished off the political dialogue and opened the doors wide for the dialogue of bullets and guns. The drop in the number of peaceful protesters led one way or another to the rise in militants. The way events are heading will lead to an uncomfortable place where things will definitely go from bad to worse." - Dec 17, 2012

Thumb Gassy_29 20 February 2015, 23:41

Russian President Vladimir Putin: "Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could have avoided civil war by responding more quickly to demands for political change. The country was ripe for serious changes, and the leadership should have felt that in time and started making changes. Then what is happening would not have happened" - Jun 11, 2013

Thumb Gassy_29 20 February 2015, 23:41

Mohammad Ali Sobhani current advisor in Iran’s Foreign Ministry and Iran’s former envoy to Lebanon from 1997 to 2005: "The Syrian crisis started with the detention of youths who went out protesting. This behavior continued until [the uprising] turned into a war, had the government calmed people and played its role, we would not have faced the current political and sectarian conflict in Syria" - Nov 27, 2014

Default-user-icon Cygnus (Guest) 21 February 2015, 06:47

Have you noticed how qawmibigjohn only comments on stories related to the syrian regime never on internal lebanese affairs unless it's to attack the opponents of the syrian regime old habits are hard to break.