First Published: 2013-01-15

 

Russia faithful to its stance: We’re against referring Syria to ICC

 

Traditional Syria ally that vetoed three resolutions sanctioning Assad argues war crimes referral could only escalate crisis.

 

Middle East Online

As Syrians die, diplomacy is at standstill

MOSCOW - Russia said Tuesday it would be "counterproductive" to refer war crimes committed in the Syria conflict to the International Criminal Court as proposed by dozens of states led by Switzerland.

"We view this initiative as untimely and counterproductive to solving today's main goal -- an immediate end to the bloodshed in Syria," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Switzerland sent a petition on Monday demanding referral from the 15-member UN Security Council -- the only body that can send the case to the ICC but where Russia wields veto power.

The letters' signatories included many European and Latin American nations as well as Australia and Japan.

Only the Security Council has the right to refer the Syria case to the Hague-based court because Syria is not an ICC member.

But Russia -- a traditional Syria ally that vetoed three prior Council resolutions sanctioning President Bashar al-Assad -- argued that a war crimes referral could only escalate the crisis.

"We are convinced that speculation on the subject of international criminal prosecution and a search for the guilty will only entrench the two sides' irreconcilable positions and complicate a search for a political settlement of the Syrian conflict," the Russian statement said.

Moscow also once again reaffirmed its support for a Syrian transition plan agreed by world powers in June that was never implemented because of the fighting.

That deal called for the quick creation of an interim government with full powers. But it never assigned a clear role for Assad and was interpreted differently by Russia and the West.

Russia argued on Sunday that Assad's removal from power was impossible because outside players had no right to meddle in the conflict under the terms of the June pact.

That comment and Tuesday's decision not to refer the Syrian case to the ICC are likely to further complicate Russia's relations with Western and Arab nations that view Moscow as Assad's last meaningful ally.

 

Erdogan asks Americans: Who’s your partner, Turkey or Kurds?

Algeria parliament adopts Bouteflika’s constitutional reforms

Turkey promises to let in Syria refugees 'if necessary'

UAE ready to send ground troops to Syria

Iran carmaker reveals 427 million euros in Peugeot perks

Hamas armed branch executes one of its own members

Syria army advances towards rebel town of Tal Rifaat

Netherlands probes civilian casualties in Iraq air strikes

Tunisia completes construction of Libya border fence

Algeria parliament to vote on constitutional reforms

Egypt returns body of Italian student Giulio Regeni

Iran reverses mass ban on candidates for parliamentary polls

Thousands of Syria refugees brave bad weather at border with Turkey

New photos reveal serious abuse of Iraq prisoners in US facilities

EU reminds Turkey: Keep your border open to Syria refugees

Somalia recaptures key port of Merka from Shebab

Iran warns Saudi Arabia over possible ground action in Syria

Palestinian journalist to keep up hunger strike

Iraq’s Sistani to end weekly political sermons

Shebab fighters recapture key port in Somalia

Syria regime forces close in on Daraa

Israeli leaders slam Arab MPs, refuse to return Palestinian corpses

IS jihadists rise in Libya, drop in Iraq and Syria

World powers pledge $10 billion to help war-hit Syrians

Morocco king inaugurates first solar power plant

Saudi ready to send ground troops to Syria

Israel charges cop for exposing woman's ID

Russia accuses Turkey of preparing to invade Syria

Syria talks were an inevitable failure

Saudi says Iranian pilgrims still welcome

Italy demands truth from Egypt over slain student

Fear stalks Libya's Sirte

US adds $890 million to Syria humanitarian aid effort

Tunisia lifts nationwide curfew

Two Israelis jailed for burning Palestinian teen alive

Sweden expects 100,000 asylum seekers in 2016

Turkey refuses access to Russian flight as Aleppo bombardment continues

40,000 Syrians flee Assad regime's Aleppo offensive

US implicitly blames Russia for collapse of Syria peace talks

Rome summons Egypt’s ambassador over student’s death

Israeli forces lock down West Bank town

Two Algerians 'linked to IS' arrested in Germany

Assad regime accused of undermining Syria peace talks

Top Qaeda chief killed in Yemen drone attack

EU agrees on details of Turkey refugee deal as Italy drops objections