ICC role may help Syrian crisis, Pillay says

May 29, 2013 at 11:42 AM
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GENEVA, Switzerland, May 29 (UPI) -- Referring the Syrian case to the ICC would send a message that dialogue is the best way to end the conflict, the top U.N. human rights official said Wednesday.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay addressed an emergency session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva to discuss the Syrian conflict.

Patience with the fighting in Syria is wearing thin. The European Union ended its ban on arming Syrian rebels and U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., met in Syria with opposition leaders in a show of support.

Pillay said Syria should be referred to the International Criminal Court. Referral would serve to remind both sides of the fighting that grave violations of the law won't be tolerated.

"It will demonstrate clearly that the only viable future is to hold discussions, seek reconciliation, find solutions and stop the carnage," she said in a statement.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Russian and French officials in Paris recently to explore prospects for a peace conference in Geneva that would bring together opposition and Syrian regime officials.

Pillay said she welcomed the initiative, saying human rights should be at the forefront of the peace agenda.

"States with influence on both sides must pull together to stop this conflict, instead of pursuing opposing paths that have so far simply contributed to the spiraling devastation of Syria," she said.

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