The UN General Assembly on Wednesday voted to establish a special team to “collect, consolidate, preserve and analyze evidence” as well as to prepare cases on war crimes and human rights abuses committed in Syria.
The General Assembly adopted a Liechtenstein-drafted resolution to establish the independent team with 105 in favor, 15 against and 52 abstentions. The team will work in coordination with the UN Syria Commission of Inquiry.
Liechtenstein UN Ambassador Christian Wenaweser told the General Assembly ahead of the vote: “We have postponed any meaningful action on accountability too often and for too long.”
Wenaweser said inaction has sent “the signal that committing war crimes and crimes against humanity is a strategy that is condoned and has no consequences.”
The special team will “prepare files in order to facilitate and expedite fair and independent criminal proceedings in accordance with international law standards, in national, regional or international courts or tribunals that have or may in the future have jurisdiction over these crimes.”
The UN resolution calls on all states, parties to the conflict, and civil society groups to provide any information and documentation to the team.
The UN Security Council on Wednesday approved the delivery of humanitarian aid across borders and conflict lines in Syria for another year in a resolution aimed at reaching thousands in need in rebel-held areas without government approval.
The resolution, adopted unanimously, expresses grave distress at “the continued deterioration of the devastating humanitarian situation in Syria” where more than 13.5 million people require urgent assistance.
It cited the alarming situation in besieged areas where hundreds of thousands of civilians are trapped.
The UN Security Council accused the Assad regime of increasing “impediments” to aid deliveries across conflict lines, and the Islamic State extremist group and Al-Qaeda-linked groups of hindering and preventing aid deliveries “through deliberate interference and obstruction.”
The UN Security Council expressed grave concern at “the lack of effective implementation” of its previous resolutions on cross-border and cross-line aid deliveries which called for a halt to all attacks on civilians, schools, medical facilities and water supplies.
The Council demanded an end to the indiscriminate use of weapons, including air strikes and barrel bombs, as well as suicide attacks, torture and executions, and “the use of starvation of civilians as a method of combat” including by besieging populated areas.
The resolution, which extends the mandate for aid deliveries until Jan 10, 2018, demands “the full and immediate implementation” of all previous council demands.
The resolution asked Syrian authorities to positively and expeditiously respond to all requests for aid deliveries across conflict lines.
The resolution also reaffirms that the council will take further unspecified measures “in the event of non-compliance with this resolution” or previous ones.
The Syrian Coalition earlier stressed the need to coordinate efforts with local and international organizations to alleviate the suffering of the people of Aleppo who were forcibly displaced from their homes. It called for saving the lives of thousands of women, children, and the elderly who remain trapped in eastern Aleppo under siege by regime forces and their allied foreign militias. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office + Agencies)