BERLIN — More than 50 countries have backed a call for the U.N. Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court, a move that would open the way for war crimes prosecutions.
A draft of the letter obtained 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, it continues.
The letter cites the findings of a U.N. 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 U.N.'s top human rights official and resolutions by the global body's Human Rights Council calling for ICC referral.
The draft letter was signed by Switzerland's ambassador to the United Nations in New York on behalf of dozens of countries including Britain and France, two of the Security Council's five permanent members. The other three permanent members — the United States, China and Russia — had not signed the draft.
A spokesman for Switzerland's U.N. mission in New York said the letter would be submitted to the Security Council on Monday.
Adrian Sollberger said Switzerland first proposed such a move in June 2012, and that it now had the backing of more than 50 countries from all regions of the world, giving the call sufficient political weight.
- A decade after welcoming wind, states reconsider
- Chaffetz calls Secret Service resignation...
- Charging documents show Phelps DUI tied to...
- Romney, Huntsman may both be taking...
- US Ebola case stokes concerns for Liberians...
- Jail ordered for Idaho man in FLDS abuse case
- More bodies found on Japanese volcano; toll...
- Saudi overhaul reshapes Islam's holiest city...
- Romney, Huntsman may both be taking... 40
- Obama: US 'underestimated' Islamic... 24
- New mom Chelsea Clinton celebrates baby... 14
- Obama seeks traction on economy amid... 14
- Police: Fired worker beheaded Oklahoma... 13
- Marijuana could deliver more than $800... 13
- Chaffetz calls Secret Service... 11
- Obama goal of Gitmo closure stalled at... 10