U.N. investigators to share Syria war crimes list

Independent investigator on war crimes in Syria Paulo Pinheiro addresses U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva March 17, 2015.

Secret lists of Syria war crimes suspects that have been compiled by U.N. investigators are now ready to share, the chairman of the United Nations' commission of inquiry said on Tuesday.

If released, the list of suspects would be shared with any prosecution authorities preparing cases.

Chairman Paulo Pinheiro urged national authorities to contact the independent investigators who have compiled five confidential lists over the past four years.

"We can best aid the pursuit of justice at this time through targeted disclosure. We will share names and information about specific alleged perpetrators with state prosecution authorities that are preparing cases to be heard before a competent and impartial judiciary," Pinheiro told the U.N. Human Rights Forum in Geneva.

The investigators have repeatedly appealed to a blocked UN Security Council to refer the cases to the International Criminal Court, but in vain.

Frustrated with the standstill, the head of the commission Paulo Pinheiro said Tuesday that the investigators would share names from the lists with prosecution authorities in any country preparing cases.

"We will share names and information about specific alleged perpetrators with state prosecution authorities that are preparing cases to be heard before a competent and impartial judiciary," he told the UN Human Rights Council.

The commission has drawn up four lists of individuals and groups it believes are guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria over the course of the four-year conflict.

Until now it kept them locked in a safe in Geneva out of concern for due process, but the investigators hinted last month they were considering publishing the lists to help stop an "exponential rise" in atrocities in the country.

By only giving specific names to proper prosecution authorities, he said, the investigators hoped to ensure that respect for "human rights, the fair trial rights of the accused and the right to truth of the victims".

[With Reuters and AFP]
 

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:46 - GMT 06:46
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