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.

 

Yemen blockade 'killing' as many civilians as war

Palestinian baby killed in arson attack by Jewish settlers

EU urges Israel to show 'zero tolerance for settler violence'

Pentagon denies US-trained rebels captured in Syria

Cash-strapped Tunisia's Syphax airline grounds flights

Kurds in Diyarbakir fear return to war

State of emergency in Tunisia extended

Jerusalem Gay Pride attack suspect lashes out in court

'Kurdish Obama' faces his biggest test

Morocco king calls for development of remote regions

Host of US celebrities endorses Iran nuclear deal

PKK braces for fight with Turkey in Iraq mountain bastions

Kurdish party chief dismisses Turkey anti-IS raids

Thomas Cook warns Tunisia attacks affect annual results

Three Al-Jazeera journalists await Egypt retrial verdict

Kuwait uncovers new IS cell

One Turkish police killed in attack blamed on PKK

Israel approves law allowing force feeding of prisoners

New sexist gaffe of Turkish deputy PM: 'As a woman, be quiet!

UN envoy invites Syrians to ‘thematic’ talks

Egypt's gift to the world: Suez Canal Axis

Pentagon to worried lawmakers: We will remain vigilant on Iran

Hamas calls for revolt against Palestinian Authority

ISIS claims deadly car bomb in Yemen capital

Allies tolerate Turkey's double game to boost IS fight

Somalia ‘making progress’ despite insecurity and election delay

Germany, Iraqi Kurds say Turkey should resume peace process

Syria skeptical about Turkey's intentions in fight against ISIS

Somalia indentifies hotel bomber as former German resident

US gets formal approval to use Incirlik air base in Turkey

Saudi policeman killed, 2 injured in attack

Israel PM approves 300 settler homes in occupied West Bank

Jordan jails 8 for "plotting a terrorist act"

Israel committed war crimes on 'Black Friday'

Israeli strike on Syrian town kills 5 pro-regime fighters

Yemen orders militia to merge with army

Erdogan heads for China for talks

France seeks to revive ties with Iran

Syria army, Kurds oust IS from Hasakeh city

Yemen truce has failed to take hold

Iran urged to free Washington Post journalist

UN aid chief calls for greater Syria access

Rebels gain ground near Syrian regime heartland

Cairo furniture factory fire kills 25

Javad Zarif has 'no concern' about nuclear deal