United Nations investigators said on Monday that they had identified government and opposition leaders that are involved in war crimes. They also urged the United Nations Security Council to take action so that the war criminals can be tried at International Criminal Court (ICC). The UN says that so far more than 70,000 people have been killed in the volatile country in a nearly two-year-old uprising that started in March 2011. The uprising against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad was peaceful in the beginning, but later oppression and aggression used by government security forces against peaceful protestors turned it into an armed conflict and a civil war.
Carla del Ponte, a former ICC chief prosecutor who joined the U.N. team in September, said in a news briefing in Geneva that perpetrators of crime against humanity in Syria should be tried at International Criminal Court, but it remains a fact that Syria is not a party to the Rome Statute that established the ICC, and the only way that the ICC can hear the case against war criminals is that the UN Security Council makes a reference to the court. Del Ponte clearly said that as the ICC alone cannot decide the fate of the war criminals, it is pertinent to force international community to act against perpetrators of the war crime so that peace and stability could be restored to the violence-wracked country.
The international community has been striving hard to restore peace and calm in the volatile country, but so far nothing significant has been achieved. President Assad remains adamant to stay in power and quell the uprising through force. The government security forces have been unleashed against pro-democracy people and civilians. At the same time, a number of countries, including Russia, Iran and China, have been accusing the Syrian opposition forces and rebel fighters of killing government security forces and civilians as well. These countries are of the view that the rebel fighters have been part of the problem, as they have been aggravating the volatile situation in the country.
Trying Syrian war criminals at the ICC also needs consent of all five permanent members of the UN Security Council - Russia, China, the United States, Britain and France. Russia and China, which have already blocked three resolutions in the UN Security Council moved against the dictator, are not likely to play their parts in this matter.