Syria: Assad regime kills so many detainees it amounts to ‘extermination’ of civilian population, UN says
UN investigators called the deaths of those detained by the regime a crime against humanity
The Assad regime is killing so many detainees in Syria that it now amounts to the crime against humanity of “extermination”, a UN report has found.
In a document published by the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, investigators found the Syrian government responsible for “massive and systematised violence”.
The crimes against humanity committed by the Assad regime, according to the UN, far outnumber those of Isis militants and other jihadist groups.
The UN commission of inquiry called on the Security Council to imporse “targeted sanctions” against Syrian officials. Its report was based on interviews with 621 survivors and witnesses and covers the period March 2011 to November 2015.
“The situation of detainees in Syria is critical, and represents an urgent and large-scale crisis of human rights protection,” the Commission of Inquiry in Syria report said.
“With thousands of persons still in custody, urgent steps need to be taken by the Syrian Government, armed groups, the external backers of various belligerents, and the wider international community to prevent further deaths.”
The commission of inquiry found there are “reasonable grounds to believe that high ranking officers… knew of the vast number of deaths occurring in detention facilities under their control”.
It said such people, in the heighest ranks of the Syrian regime, were “individually criminally liable” – but did not go so far as to name names.
Among its recommendations, the commission suggested the UN Security Council demand all sides end custodial deaths and torture and answer to the International Criminal Court.
And it called on the Security Council to “adopt targeted sacntions against persons, agencies and groups credibly suspected of being responsible for or complicit in conduct leading to custodial deaths, torture and enforced disappearances”.