September 17, 2012 - 14:13 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - United Nations human rights investigators said on Monday, Sept 17, that they had drawn up a new secret list of Syrians and military units suspected of committing war crimes who should face criminal prosecution some day, according to Reuters.
The independent investigators, led by Paulo Pinheiro, said they had gathered "a formidable and extraordinary body of evidence" and urged the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
"A second confidential list of individuals and units believed to be responsible for violations is being provided to the High Commissioner of Human Rights," Pinheiro told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Pinheiro presented the team's latest report, issued a month ago, saying Syrian government forces and allied militia have committed war crimes including murder and torture of civilians in what appears to be a state-directed policy.
He said there was an "increasing and alarming presence" of Islamist militants in Syria, some joining the rebels and others operating independently. Their presence tended to radicalize the rebels, who have also committed crimes, Pinheiro said.
He did not say if any Syrian rebels, as well as officials, were named on the list, which updated a confidential one his team submitted to UN rights chief Navi Pillay in February.
Syrian ambassador Faysal Khabbaz Hamoui accused Western and Arab powers of sending funds and weapons to support rebels conducting what he called a jihad or holy war against Damascus, and warned that the plan would backfire.
"The mercenaries are a time bomb that will explode later in the country and in the countries supporting them after they finish their terrorist mission in Syria," he declared.
The report should have named countries that "support the killers", which he said included the United States, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Libya.