Syria rejects calls to join ICC

Syria has rejected calls from several nations to join the International Criminal Court (ICC), according to a report adopted Oct. 11 by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). The report also includes a number of recommendations to the country aimed at improving its human rights situation, which has been widely criticized since the regime began to crack down on anti-government protests early this year. In statements contained in the report, Syria asserts that the violence in the country is the result of “terrorist threats” prompted by “a media war” and “the hegemony of the West, the US and Israel.” The government of President Bashar al-Assad is estimated to have killed 3,000 civilians since mid-March.

In August, the UNHRC voted 33-4 to adopt a resolution ordering an investigation into crimes against humanity in Syria and urging the Syrian government once again to halt its violent crackdown against peaceful protesters. An emergency meeting was held in response to a plea from UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay to refer Syria to the ICC for an investigation into the violent suppression of anti-government protests.

From Jurist, Oct. 11. Used with permission.

See our last post on Syria and the Arab revolutions.

  1. 24 dead in Syria
    At least 24 people were killed across Syria after protesters returned to the streets following Friday prayers, emboldened by the slaying of Libya’s Moammar Qaddafi. Most of the deaths were in the central city of Homs, according to the Local Coordination Committees. Witnesses said a favored slogan was “Qaddafi is finished. It’s your turn now Bashar!” (BBC News, Oct. 21)

  2. Assad warns of “earthquake” if West intervenes
    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has warned of an “earthquake” if the West intervenes in his country. In an interview with the UK’s Sunday Telegraph, Assad said involvement risked transforming Syria into “another Afghanistan.” His comments came after the UN secretary-general made a new call called for the repression to end. Activists said three people were killed on Oct. 29, when tanks shelled a historic district in the city of Homs. The day before was one of the bloodiest in the seven-month-old uprising, with 40 people killed after Friday protests. (BBC News, Oct. 29)

    Assad claims to only be fighting “terrorists.” The Turkish-based Free Syrian Army now claims to have defected Syrian army soldiers under its command and fighting the regime. (BBC World Service, Oct. 29)

  3. Syria: 12 dead in Homs
    Syrian forces killed at least 12 people in the restive city of Homs Nov. 12, opposition activists said. The violence comes a day after the regime said it has accepted an Arab League plan to halt violence and convene talks between the government and the opposition in two weeks. The plan calls for the government of President Bashar al-Assad to remove all tanks and armored vehicles from the streets, to halt violence aimed at protesters and to release political prisoners, estimated at about 70,000 by the Arab League. The league would then initiate dialogue with the opposition at its headquarters in Cairo. (NYT, Nov. 3)

  4. HRW: Syria guilty of “crimes against humanity”
    Human Rights Watch in a new report charges that Syrian government forces have carried out crimes against humanity as they try to crush protests in the restive province of Homs. The Nov. 11 report, “‘We Live as in War’: Crackdown on Protesters in the Governorate of Homs,” finds: “The systematic nature of abuses against civilians in Homs by Syrian government forces, including torture and unlawful killings, indicate that crimes against humanity have been committed.” It urges Arab League delegates meeting in Cairo this weekend to suspend Syria from their organization, and calls upon the UN to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court. (HRW, Reuters, Nov. 11)

  5. Arab League suspends Syria
    Meeting in Cairo, the Arab League on Nov. 12 suspended Syria until President Bashar al-Assad implements an League-brokered deal to end violence against protesters, and called for sanctions and transition talks with the opposition. Damascus asserts it has moved forward on the deal by releasing 500 prisoners, and its envoy to the Arab League expressed his government’s willingness to receive a pan-Arab delegation. Human rights groups say the regime has intensified its crackdown on dissent, especially in flashpoint Homs, killing at least 125 people in the city since signing onto the League’s deal ten days ago. (Middle East Online, Nov. 12)