UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday again asked the Security Council to formally request that the International Criminal Court (ICC) begin investigations of war crimes in Syria.
A similar request was blocked in 2014 by Russia and China, which have veto powers and have five times vetoed resolutions on Syria, but Ki-moon said the council should try again.
“I ask and urge the Security Council to bring this matter to the ICC. I am urging them again,” Ki-moon said. Describing the situation in Aleppo as “heartbreaking,” he said he was disappointed that the council failed to take action during a meeting on Saturday when two draft resolutions were defeated.
France is working to find a way for the ICC prosecutor to launch an investigation into war crimes it says have been committed by the Assad regime and Russian forces in eastern Aleppo, Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on Monday.
Ayrault described the ongoing aerial bombardment of Aleppo as war crimes. “These bombings – and I said it in Moscow – are war crimes,” Ayrault told France Inter radio after Russia vetoed the French-drafted UN Security Council resolution on Syria on Saturday. “It includes all those who are complicit for what’s happening in Aleppo, including Russian leaders.”
Ayrault pointed out that Russia uses advanced weapons capable of penetrating underground shelters used by civilians, referring to the bunker-buster bombs fired by Russian jets on Aleppo.
French UN Ambassador Francois Delattre did not rule out another attempt, but said diplomats need to be “creative” about how to get the ICC involved in a war crimes probe in Syria.
“When you bomb hospitals, when you bomb schools, when you kill children, if these are not war crimes then frankly then I don’t know what war crimes are,” Delattre said.
The EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini also criticized Russia’s vetoing of the draft resolution on Syria at the UN Security Council. At a press conference with Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström on Monday, Mogherini said it was very unfortunate how the UN Security Council remained silent over the ongoing assault on Aleppo and Russia’s use of its veto to block action at the UN Security Council. (Source: Agencies)