Amnesty International said that Russia’s use of its veto power at the United Nations Security Council to block a one-year term extension for the joint investigative mechanism (JIM) mandated with investigating chemical attacks in Syria “has dealt a huge blow for justice in Syria.” Amnesty stressed that Russia has “shown once again their callous disregard for all those who have been killed and injured in these attacks.”
In a statement released on Tuesday, Sherine Tadros, Head of Amnesty International’s UN office in New York said: “This routine abuse of the veto has become the equivalent of a green light for war crimes, allowing all parties involved in the conflict in Syria to act with complete impunity and disregard for international law, with civilians paying the ultimate price.”
“For the ninth time, Russia has used its veto power to shield its ally, the Syrian government, from any punitive consequences it could face for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed since the start of the conflict over six years ago,” Tadros added.
“The UN Secretary General as well as Security Council members can no longer idly stand by as the UNSC is transformed into an instrument for political posturing between permanent members, and which has consistently failed to enforce resolutions adopted to end war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
Russia on Tuesday used its veto power to block the adoption of a US draft resolution calling for the extension of the gas attacks probe in Syria for another year.
The draft resolution stipulated that the panel comprising experts from the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) would determine those responsible for the use of chemicals whether they were individuals, entities, or governments.
The Syrian Coalition said that the Russian veto aimed at obstructing JIM’s efforts is a tacit admission of Assad’s total and direct responsibility for the crime of using chemical weapons in Syria.
In a press release issued on Wednesday, the Coalition strongly condemned Russia’s use of its veto power on the UN Security Council. “It is the ninth time Russia has used its veto power at the UN Security Council to hinder international action on Syria in an attempt to shield perpetrators from answering for their actions.”
The Coalition warned that the Russian position risks opening the door to a world in which war criminals commit crimes without any fear of the consequences.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Al-Hayat Newspaper + Agencies)