UN High Commissioner again asks Security Council to refer case to ICC. New resolution approved in Human Rights Council reinforces this appeal
July 11, 2012
Conectas endorses the latest request made on July 2 by Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, for the UN Security Council to refer the case of Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Meanwhile, the request is mentioned in the preamble to the resolution on the human rights situation in Syria approved by a wide majority – 41 votes for, three against and three abstentions – in the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) last Friday (July 6) in Geneva, Switzerland.
Brazil is not currently a member of the HRC and does not have the right to vote, but it used its right to speak to remind the council that the Syrian government has the responsibility to protect civilians. (watch here the video of the Brazilian statement or read here the transcript in full).
The requests of the High Commissioner were made based on the reports of the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria, headed up by the Brazilian Paulo Sergio
Pinheiro, which indicate that crimes against humanity have been committed by Syrian authorities since the beginning of the government crackdown in March 2011. According to the UN, more than 10,000 people have been killed since then, while independent sources claim the death toll exceeds 16,000.
“The debate on the matter is currently paralyzed in the Security Council, as if it were all or nothing,” said Camila Asano, coordinator of Foreign Policy at Conectas, referring to the question of the need for military intervention in Syria. “However, there are a series of measures that have not yet been taken and that are extremely important, among them submitting the case to the ICC”.
The ICC is the international organ with the legitimate mandate to conduct investigations into allegations of crimes against humanity around the world. However, since Syria signed, but did not ratify the Rome Statute, which governs the ICC, the Security Council must first approve a resolution referring the case to the court.
In March 2012, Conectas had already requested that the allegations of crimes against humanity committed in Syria be investigated by the ICC. Given the deterioration of the situation in the country, 11 resolutions have been approved in the UN, of which seven were approved in the HRC, two in the General Assembly and two in the Security Council. This is the third resolution approved in the HRC to mention a request by the High Commissioner for the case to be referred to the ICC.