Investigators of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva have released a new report accusing Syrian government officials and leaders of the country's military and security forces of ordering mass atrocities in efforts to crush anti-government protests.
The Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria said on Monday that
Syrian government forces committed crimes against humanity, including
the killing and torturing of children, and held state officials
responsible for murder, rape and torture. The panel interviewed 223 victims and witnesses, including defectors
from President Bashar al-Assad's security forces who told of
shoot-to-kill orders against demonstrators and cases of children being
tortured to death. At least 256 children had been killed by government forces as of
early November, with some boys sexually tortured, the panel said.
"The commission believes that orders to shoot and otherwise mistreat
civilians originated from policies and directives issued at the highest
levels of the armed forces and the government," the panel said in its
Amnesty International has called on
the Security Council to refer the case to the International Criminal
Court, order an arms embargo and freeze the assets of Assad and his
associates. Human Rights Watch said the UN
Human Rights Council must refer the Syria case to the Security Council
and call for it "to impose targeted sanctions and refer the situation in
Syria to the International Criminal Court".Because of the internal divisions, the Security Council has so far only
agreed to a statement, with less moral weight, against the violence in
Syria. The 193 member UN General Assembly passed a resolution last week
deploring the violence.