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Evidence exists to bring Syria war-crimes case: French diplomat (+video)

France's top human rights diplomat says 'the raw material is there' in the Syria conflict to refer case to the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

Pressure mounted on Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad as Western powers draw up a 10-day sanctions ultimatum and a first senior diplomat, his ambassador in Baghdad, defects.
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After 16 months of carnage in Syria, enough evidence and reports of systematic brutality and crimes against humanity exist to send the case to the International Criminal Court at The Hague, according to diplomats. The reports, including names of Syrian officials and details on massacres, amount to a mass tipping point, they say, and allow a “referral” by the UN Security Council to the ICC that would result in indictments.

Yet an ICC referral requires the agreement of Russia and China, which seems unlikely as the Syria conflict has become a global standoff between Moscow and Western and Arab states led by the US.

This week, France’s top human rights diplomat told the Monitor there is “definitely” enough evidence of Syrian war crimes and torture to refer the case: “The raw material is there,” says Ambassador François Zimeray.

President Hollande and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton insist the prosecution of war crimes is not a matter of if, but when. Last week, as host of a Paris summit of Friends of the Syrian People, French president François Hollande made it his first order of business to pledge “no impunity for crimes” by Syrian leaders. The US State Department has collected war crimes evidence since spring 2011.


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