UN urged to refer Syria to war crimes court
BERLIN (AP) - More than 50 countries have backed a call for the United Nations Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC), a move that would open the way for war crimes prosecutions.
A draft of the letter obtained on Friday by The Associated Press says the situation in Syria should be referred to the Hague-based war crimes tribunal "without exceptions and irrespective of the alleged perpetrators."
"At the very least, the council should send out an unequivocal message ... announcing that it intends to refer the situation to the ICC unless a credible, fair and independent accountability process is being established in a timely manner" by Syria, says the letter.
It cites the findings of a UN expert panel documenting summary executions, torture and sexual violence that has occurred since the start of the uprising in March 2011. It also notes repeated appeals by the UN's top human rights official and resolutions by the global body's Human Rights Council calling for ICC referral.