Both Sides Of Syria Conflict Committing War Crimes, UN Says

People on both sides of the Syria conflict are committing war crimes, according to the latest UN report. The report adds that Syrians in “leadership positions” may be responsible for war crimes.

Investigators released the report on Monday. They added that those potentially responsible have been identified, as well as units accused of perpetrating them.

The latest report on Syria covers the six months to mid-January, reports Reuters. It is based on 445 interviews conducted with victims and witnesses abroad. The UN is not currently allowed in Syria, because of the level of violence.

The 131-page report adds:

“The ICC is the appropriate institution for the fight against impunity in Syria. As an established, broadly supported structure, it could immediately initiate investigations against authors of serious crimes in Syria.”

The independent team was headed by Brazilian Paulo Pinheiro. The panel also urged the UN Security Council to “act urgently to ensure accountability” for grave violations.”

This is the third list of possible suspects the panel has come up with, building on the previous two. The list will remain secret, for now, notes Yahoo! News. A European diplomat explained:

“The evidence collected sits in the safe in the office of the High Commissioner against the day it might be referred to a court and evidence would be examined by a prosecutor.”

The death toll in Syria is believed to be almost 70,000 since fighting began almost two years ago. Government forces have carried out shellings and air strikes across Syria. They have hit Aleppo, Damascus, Daraa, Homs, and Idlib. They have also been accused of at least four massacres with one death toll over 134 civilians.

Rebel forces trying to topple Syria’s President Bashar al Assad have also committed war crimes. Those crimes have included murder, torture, hostage-taking, and using children under the age of 15 in the conflict. The report adds that rebel snipers have caused “considerable civilian casualties.”

It is not yet clear what the UN Security Council will do with the latest report on Syria.