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Syrian war crimes UN chief Ban Ki-moon supports Swiss plea

Ban Ki-moon stands with Switzerland on issue of Syrian war crimes

(Keystone)

In a letter to the UN Security Council last week, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon supported Switzerland’s plea that war crimes in Syria be investigated by the International Criminal Court.

At Monday’s meeting of the UN General Assembly, the Swiss said they welcomed Ban’s support.

Switzerland has maintained for more than three years that serious violations of international law are being committed by all parties to the conflict in a climate of impunity, said Tatjana von Steiger of the Permanent Swiss Mission to the UN, on Monday.

“The security council has taken no action so far, despite compelling arguments,” she said.

According to von Steiger, the broad disregard for human rights in Syria has encouraged parties on all sides to commit further humanitarian crimes. This cycle must be broken, she said.

Von Steiger added that Switzerland supports all efforts to document violations of international law and human rights in the region. This documentation could then be used at some point in the future to punish the perpetrators and bring justice to the victims on a national or international level, she said.

von Steiger stressed further that all parties to the conflict are morally bound to protect civilians at all times. Access to humanitarian aid must be quicker, more sustainable and without obstruction, and medical missions should be respected and protected, she said.

On Monday, the United Nations also released a statement by Ban Ki-moon external linkwelcoming an agreement announced by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, as co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) Ceasefire Taskforce, on the terms of a nationwide cessation of hostilities in Syria scheduled to come into effect on February 27, 2016.

The agreement “demonstrates the commitment of the ISSG to exert influence on the warring parties to bring about an immediate reduction in violence as a first step towards a more durable ceasefire,” said the statement on the United Nations website. “Above all, it is a long-awaited signal of hope to the Syrian people that after five years of conflict there may be an end to their suffering in sight.”
 

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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