Victims in Houla
Photo: AP

Amnesty accuses Syria of crimes against humanity

Rights group issues 'Deadly Reprisals' report reviewing grave violence against civilians in Syria; says Assad's regime continuous flouting of international community's demands, violations of humanitarian law amount to war crimes

Amnesty International accused Syria of committing crimes against humanity meant to punish communities supporting rebel forces.


The statement, made Thursday, followed a call by senior United Nations officials on the international community to take immediate action to protect civilians in Syria.


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"With the increasing violence and deepening sectarian tensions, the risk of further mass atrocity crimes is high. The time for action is now," the Special Advisers of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide and on the Responsibility to Protect, Francis Deng and Edward Luck said in a joint statement. 



Syria's Foreign Ministry adamantly rejected international concerns that he growing violence will escalate into civil eat, saying that the country was embroiled in "a struggle to uproot the plague of terrorism, abduction and payment of ransoms, aggressions and explosions."


"Any talk about a civil war in Syria doesn't reflect the reality," the ministry insisted.


Amnesty called for an international response after claiming it had fresh evidence of the brutal carnage of civilians: "This disturbing new evidence of an organized pattern of grave abuses highlights the pressing need for decisive international action," said Amnesty’s Donatella Rovera on the release of the 70-page report entitled "Deadly Reprisals."


The London-based rights group's report concluded that government forces and militias were guilty of "grave human rights violations and serious violations of international humanitarian law amounting to crimes against humanity and war crimes.”


Earlier this month, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said that there is a strong possibility that Syria's "shabbiha" militia – who perpetrated the massacres in Houla and Hama – may be liable for prosecution for crimes against humanity,


"These acts may amount to crimes against humanity and other international crimes and may be indicative of a pattern of widespread or systematic attacks against civilian populations that have been perpetrated with impunity," she said.


The UN estimates that over 14,000 people were killed since the Syrian uprising began, in March 2011.


News agencies contributed to this report



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פרסום ראשון: 06.15.12, 11:01
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