UN rights investigators slam Syria militants for crimes
UN human rights investigators have for the first time blamed foreign-backed militants operating in Syria for crimes against humanity.
Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, head of the Geneva-based UN commission of inquiry on Syria, said in a Wednesday statement that the UN Security Council “bears responsibility for not addressing accountability and allowing the warring parties to violate” rules of war “with total impunity.”
The UN commission had previously only accused the Syrian government for violations of the rules of war and human rights.
In its latest report to the UN Human Rights Council, the commission said several foreign-backed militant groups in Syria had systematically detained and tortured civilians.
The UN commission further reported that crimes against humanity were committed in the northern province of Raqqa, where ethnic Kurds have been detained and tortured by militants.
The report also confirmed that al-Qaeda-linked groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), al-Nusra Front, the Ahrar al-Sham and the Shahid Walid al-Sukhni Battalion all operate detention and torture centers in areas under their control within Syria.
“The acts committed by non-state armed groups identified above in areas under their control against the civilian population constitute torture and inhuman treatment as a war crime and, in the context of (al-Raqqa), as a crime against humanity,” the UN commission stated in its report.
The commission also censured the UN Security Council for failure to bring those responsible for human rights violations in Syria to justice by referring them to the International Criminal Court.