Top U.N. Rights Official Links Assad to Crimes in Syria –

Blame goes to everyone involved in Syria’s messy civil war, but the UN panel–including Paulo Pinheiro and Carla Del Ponte link Syria’s President to “war crimes and crimes against humanity”.

Ms. Pillay later sought to clarify her comment, observing that “I have not said that a head of state is a suspect. I was quoting the fact-finding mission, which said that based on their facts, responsibility points at the highest level.”

via Top U.N. Rights Official Links Assad to Crimes in Syria –


14 thoughts on “Top U.N. Rights Official Links Assad to Crimes in Syria –”

  1. I’m glad that this Syria situation is starting to be resolved- at least the part about the chemical weapons. But Assad is still a brutal dictator, and he is still in power. Why are we okay with this? I agree with the author in this article; accountability should be the international community’s first priority. Okay, so we took away Syria’s chemical weapons. But where’s the punishment? That’s not how this sort of thing works; when the Boston Marathon was bombed, we couldn’t just take away the bombers’ bombs. We also have to prosecute in order for the situation to really be resolved, or else the bombers would have just made more bombs. That’s why the brother that is still alive is now in jail awaiting trial. So what about Assad? We took away his weapon, but how do we know he won’t develop chemical weapons again? Where’s his consequence? He’s suspected of war crimes; doesn’t that deserve a punishment of sorts?

  2. One thing that I found compelling (which was probably done on purpose), but the introduction indicates that this conflict has been going on for 33 months. That is a VERY long time for no punishment or sanction or something against Syria. We have been hearing about all this for MONTHS and it’s taken this long to even get to the point where we can talk about it on an ‘official’ level. Although this is a stepping stone to making it better, it just seems to me that the UN really is hindering this endeavor instead of helping it. While it is great that we have proof that there is responsibility “at the highest level of government” (typical evasive government speak), there is still no punishment attached to it. This may be my cynical side, but the UN, and the world, needs to step up. I’m not saying getting involved too heavily, but at least provide support to our fellow human beings in need. Isn’t that what the UN is supposed to help facilitate??

  3. Finally! I can’t wait to see Assad before a court that will indict him. Many wonder why it’s taken so long and whether Assad will actually be judged by a court. Well, that depends on other heads of state too, who might feel slightly uncomfortable with their standing before UN statutes and the ICC. If Assad were to be judged and indicted by the ICC, these wretched individuals would definitely fear their fort their own status.

    Personally, I hope to see Assad answer fully for his crimes. I have always been against the Guantanamo Bay prison, but I think they should keep it open just for him.

  4. I think this problem goes a lot further than Assad’s regime. The Middle Eastern region is plagued by human rights abuses and crimes against humanity, and the perpetrators of such atrocities originate from a virtually unquantifiable amount of sources. I am almost certain to find myself on the fringe of opinions here, but I don’t know how much stopping Assad will lead to more peaceful conditions in Syria. Until global powers can repair their image in the minds of Middle Easterners, religious zealotry is contained, and an idealogical transformation is undergone with respect to Middle Eastern opinion of armed conflict and human value, there will be no change or progress. Assad will simply be replaced by the next despot waiting in line.

    For my part, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to erase from my mind the image of a rebel Syrian general eating the freshly torn-out heart of one of Assad’s soldiers in the aftermath of a military clash. There are monsters on both sides. Taking one down only makes it easier for the opposing terror to take center stage.

    1. I’m inclined to agree with you. A change of culture and dogma is the only thing that will help in the long run. The problem with that is that Middle Eastern culture has very long memories, and are very honor-driven. They still tell stories of the crusades as if they were only seventy years ago. There’s a lot of locked-away anger there.

  5. Although I do not doubt the truth of the involvement from Assad in the gross human rights violations occurring in Syria, I am worried that the UN’s report was biased; or that the reporting of the findings was at least biased. What I mean is, certainly the rebels are perpetrators of human rights violations as well, considering how the successful rebel groups are all linked to terrorist organizations such as Hezzbollah. Why should we pursue prosecution of just one side and not the other? That would be a gross oversight and blunder by the international community. If we are going to prosecute one side, we must prosecute both sides; otherwise, we should not prosecute at all and let the civil war run its course.

    1. Simply being linked to a terrorist organization (in part) doesn’t make you a violator of human rights. Also, the majority of the rebels do not have links to terrorists. This U.N. official was commenting on a “massive” pattern of human rights abuses by Assad; the fact that she didn’t mention other parties’ human rights violations is not only irrelevant but it’s to be expected. If the rebels had committed the same levels of human rights violations I’m sure they would be called out as well. And regardless, why would we not prosecute human rights violations on the basis that others are getting away with it? That premise is ridiculous. If there are two murders by two different murderers, we don’t wait until we have the second murderer in custody to prosecute the first. The second crime has absolutely no bearing on the first. Were there human rights violations committed? Yes, there were, therefore the appropriate punishment should be applied.

  6. A lot of people sometimes see the UN as worthless and having no power. While it may be true that it is difficult for the UN to do anything to stop the Civil War, I believe it is a good thing that they can at least put some pressure on people like Assad. The Assad regime might say that Ms. Pillay is talking nonsense but at least now they know that the UN is keeping track of everything they do one way or another and they expect to bring it all to the light one day and seek justice. Even though it is not enough to stop the civil war, it is possible that it is stopping future atrocities from happening

  7. While I am thrilled that the UN has come out with this statement about Assad, I am shocked that it has taken the UN this long to recognize the crimes Assad has committed. This conflict is almost 3 years old, and in that time more than 115,000 people have died – including hundreds killed by chemical weapons. Various UN reports have also stated that government forces have targeted hospitals, schools, mosques, etc. in their military action against the rebels. How could Assad not be guilty for any of this? He is the head of state – as well as the head of the armed forces – and the responsibility for what happens ultimately falls on him. I hope that we will see him removed from power and tried by the ICC for what he has done.

  8. While it’s good that Assad is being recognized for the war crimes he has committed, it is essential that rebel leaders are recognized as well. Both sides have been atrocious in their actions and need to be punished for it.

    Another thing to keep in mind is how slow everything will happen, even if Assad is captured and turn over to the United Nations. The UN is still working on cases of people for their crimes during the Balkan War and Bosnia, from almost 20 years ago. There is a fair chance Assad will be dead long before he is convicted.

  9. I really appreciate what justinkellybyu said. I think it is very insightful to assert that the problem of such “crimes against humanity” goes far deeper than the Assad regime. But despite this, I think Assad certainly ought to be held accountable for the crimes he has committed against his people. He ought to be judged and punished accordingly, but I think that it is important that we continue to make strides toward solving the issues deeply rooted throughout the Middle East.

  10. well, at that point, I don’t think that the court will have that much of a role. I don’t find it reasonable for Assad to be condemned for the crimes while Israel still has the full right to break international law. Moreover, condemning Assad alone shouldn’t be that appealing to the international community as rebel groups’s crimes must also be recognized and the leaders must be condemned. However, I personally believe that the ICC has lost its credibility ages ago.

  11. I agree with justinkellybyu’s comment. The fact that U.N. officials are citing human rights abuses by Syria’s government doesn’t mean very much when you look at the grand scale of atrocities going on in Syria and in that region in general. Human rights abuses are rampant in many countries and will continue to be so, regardless of whether Assad is declared a war criminal or not. If he were removed, in my opinion, most Syrians would only be worse off. The rebel groups are so diverse and many are led by zealots that want to see an Islamic state, where more women would be oppressed and murdered in honor killings and anyone with a different religion would be targeted. Yes, Assad has done horrible things, but that doesn’t mean removing him would be productive.

  12. It always interests me to see UN officials come out with official statements regarding actions of top officials inside sovereign countries. It seems to be obvious the position of the international community towards the issue in Syria, but what I am most interested in is seeing what they can actually do to punish president Assad for what they have found him guilty of.

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