Last updated: 12 May, 2014

Paris calls on UN to refer Syrian war to ICC

France Monday asked the UN Security Council to refer the war in Syria to the International Criminal Court for review of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

A draft resolution was distributed to the council’s 14 other member states that will debate it Wednesday, and could vote on it next week, diplomats said.

Because Syria is not an ICC member state, the only way it can be referred to the court is through the Security Council.

UN rights chief Navi Pillay had already made previous calls for the ICC to review the war in Syria.

According to a copy of the resolution obtained by AFP, the Council calls on the court “to investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law since March 2011,” when the crisis began.

The text references “the widespread violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by the Syrian authorities and pro-government militias” as well as those of “non-state armed groups.”

In referencing the two camps and recent escalation of atrocities, including chemical attacks, systematic torture and stepped up use of barrel bombs on civilian populations, Paris hopes to convince all council members to refer the matter for review.

But many UN diplomats believe a veto will be exercised by Russia, a faithful ally of Syrian President Bashir al-Assad. Russia and its ally China have already vetoed three western resolutions since the beginning of the Syrian crisis.