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.

 

Saudi Crown Prince calls Iran supreme leader 'new Hitler'

Lebanon’s Hariri suspends resignation

Syrian opposition agrees to send united delegation to Geneva talks

Revolt in US State Department over child soldier law

Outrage in Iraq over 'child marriage' bill

Hezbollah hails PM's suspension of resignation

Syrian opposition aims for unity at talks in Riyadh

Egypt police kill 3 Islamists in shootout

Turkey unsure if Assad to be part of Syria political transition

Migrant arrivals from Libya down since EU deal

Palestinian factions leave Cairo talks with little progress

Sudan’s Bashir looks to Putin for ‘protection’ from US aggression

China, Djibouti forge 'strategic' ties

IS propaganda channels fall quiet in 'unprecedented' hiatus

Kremlin to create Syria congress despite Turkey ‘reservations’

Netanyahu berates deputy minister for 'offensive' remarks on US Jews

Egypt PM heads to Germany for medical treatment

Egypt destroys 10 SUVs carrying arms on Libya border

Iraq launches operation to clear last IS holdouts from desert

Saudi-led coalition to reopen Yemen airport, port to aid

Turkey court rules to keep Amnesty chief in jail

France calls for UN meeting on Libya slave-trading

Egypt detains 29 for allegedly spying for Turkey

WTO panel to hear Qatar’s complaint against UAE blockade

Three dead as diphtheria spreads in Yemen

Israel seizes explosive material at Gaza border

Activists call for release of UK journalist held by IS

Bahrain upholds jail sentence for activist

Iraq attacks at lowest since 2014

Turkey continues crackdown in post-coup probe

Hariri back in Lebanon

Putin to hold Syria peace talks with Erdogan, Rouhani

US carries out air strikes against IS in Libya

Divided Syria opposition meets in Riyadh

Lebanon's Hariri in Egypt ahead of return home

Rebels say Sanaa airport 'ready to run' after coalition bombing

Greece to amend historic sharia law for Muslim minority

Turkey to ask Germany to extradite top coup suspect

Car bomb in northern Iraq kills at least 24

Morocco bans bitcoin transactions

13 million Syrians need aid despite relative drop in violence

Sudan urged to improve plight of Darfur's displaced people

Brain drain means Syria can’t recover for a generation

Palestinians close communication lines with Americans

Anti-IS coalition strikes drop to lowest number