Pillay sees signs of war crimes in Syria

June 8, 2012 at 1:51 PM
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UNITED NATIONS, June 8 (UPI) -- Ongoing bloodshed in Syria is indicative of a pattern of systematic abuses that may amount to war crimes, the top U.N. human rights official said.

Syrian forces this week were accused of killing at least 78 people in the Qubeir settlement in the Syrian province of Hama. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described the reports coming out of the region as "sickening."

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, in an address to Ban, the secretary-general of the Arab League and U.N. members said the "serious deterioration" of the human rights situation in Syria required comprehensive international attention.

"These killings are indicative of a pattern of widespread or systematic attacks against civilian populations and may amount to crimes against humanity and other international crimes," she said. "There are indications that the situation in Syria, at least in certain areas, amounts to an internal armed conflict."

Western allies have suggested they may seek a Chapter VII resolution against Syria, which would authorize the use of military force.

Russia and China, two permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, object to any formal action out of fear of adding another military dimension to the conflict.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Thursday the latest reports of violence were "undermining" the chances for peace but added rebels may be behind some of the bloodshed, reports state news agency RIA Novosti.

U.S. delegates arrived Friday in Moscow for talks with Russian officials about the Syrian situation.

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