Syria rights abuses should be 'referred to ICC'

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Syria rights abuses should be 'referred to ICC'

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There are new calls for the UN Security Council to send a strong signal to Syria condemning the violent crackdown on anti-government protesters.

It follows a vote on Friday by the UN’s Human Rights Council which overwhelmingly criticised what it called ‘gross and systematic violations’.

Russia and China were among four countries voting against the resolution by the 47-member forum in Geneva.

But Arab nations joined the US and Europe in condemning Syria – prompting calls for other bodies including the International Criminal Court to be involved.

“If the Security Council chooses to refer this matter to the ICC, I will say that the Commission of Inquiry report provides evidence that will serve as a potential basis for that referral,” said the US ambassador in Geneva, Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe.

Last week’s Commission of Inquiry report for the UN said Syrian security forces had committed crimes against humanity. The UN believes more than 4,000 people have been killed, with more than 14,000 in detention.

Syria’s ambassador warned that UN action would deepen the crisis which could not be solved internationally.

However the pressure on President Bashar al-Assad’s regime is increasing. Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has said it is shutting down operations in Syria because of EU sanctions.