Conflict & Justice

Syrian president target of war crimes investigation


Syrian President Bashar al Assad. (Photo by Salah Malkawi/Newsmakers)


Salah Malkawi

A fact-finding mission funded by at least one Western government is said to be gathering evidence to be used to indict Bashar Assad over crackdown on pro-democracy movement.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that at least one Western government is bankrolling a project to gather evidence that could be used to indict Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad at an international tribunal over his crackdown on the country's democracy movement, said a jurist leading the effort and a diplomat whose government is sponsoring it.

The LA Times’ Borzou Daragahi reports that the fact-finding mission mostly involves assembling testimony from Syrian refugees that conforms to standards of international law necessary to sustain a war crimes trial at the International Criminal Court, said the diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

The ICC, which answers to the United Nations Security Council, recently indicted Moammar Qadafi and his sons on charges related to their violent suppression of the rebellion in Libya.

The Western official stressed that no decision had been made among diplomats to press the Security Council to refer Assad and his family to the court.

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