Last updated: 21 September, 2012

UN draft resolution calls for extension of Syria probe

A UN commission investigating the many serious rights violations in wartorn Syria should be allowed to continue its work and get more resources, according to a draft resolution presented in Geneva Friday.

The resolution drawn up by half-a-dozen other Arab states, which will be voted on at the UN’s Human Rights Council next week, calls for an extension of the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry on Syria.

The commission’s one-year mandate will end next Friday unless it is renewed.

In its latest report, published last month, the commission headed by Brazilian Paulo Sergio Pinheiro accused the Syrian regime and, to a lesser extent, rebel forces of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Its conclusions were based on more than 1,000 interviews with perpetrators and victims in the conflict, as it has so far been blocked from actually entering Syria to see the situation on the ground.

Friday’s draft resolution, which will likely be subject to significant debate among diplomats ahead of next week’s vote, also requested that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon “provide additional resources, including staffing” to the commission.

This was needed, the text argued, “in order to allow it to completely fulfil its mandate in light of the increasingly deteriorating human rights situation in the Syrian Arab Republic.”

The draft, submitted by Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia, expressed strong condemnation of all the violence in Syria “irrespective of where it comes from, including terrorist acts.”

It stressed the need for a follow-up to the commission’s report in order “to hold to account those responsible for violations and abuses, including for those that may amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes,” insisting there should be “no impunity for such violations or abuses.”

The commission has already drawn up two confidential lists of names of people and units suspected of carrying out atrocities in the country.

The draft resolution also “noted” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay’s “repeated encouragement to the Security Council to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court.”

That issue however remains the subject of heated debate between the UN member countries.