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.

 

UN Syria peace talks begin in Geneva

Israel to deny Human Rights Watch visas for being ‘biased’

Iraqi forces enter IS-held west Mosul

Suicide bomb attack on rebels kills 51 near Al-Bab

Marrakesh clinches top ranking of African urban life

UN considers Syria sanctions over chemical attacks

Saudi Comic-Con slammed as ‘sin’ in online backlash

Jordanians protest government price hikes

Baghdad coordinated anti-IS airstrikes with Damascus says source

New Hamas Gaza leader makes first public appearance

Palestinian protestors clash with Israeli soldiers in West Bank

Jordanian F-16 crashes in Saudi, pilot survives

Iraqi PM says air force strikes IS targets in Syria

UN slams light sentence for Israeli soldier

Saudi king seeks investment on rare Asia tour

Saudi minister discusses hajj with Iran

136 Turkish diplomats, soldiers seek German asylum since coup

New Hamas ‘strongman’ could spell fresh Israeli conflict

Suicide car bomb kills eight outside Yemen army base

Fired Turkish academics protest ‘unjust’ dismissals

Iraqi forces jovial after Mosul airport entry

Syrian rebels announce capture of flashpoint town from IS

Iraqi forces enter IS-held Mosul airport

Swedish citizen jailed for IS Facebook post

Somalia names new prime minister

Netanyahu backs pardon for Israel soldier who shot Palestinian

UN envoy meets Syrian rivals, hopes of breakthrough slim

Yemeni government forces pin back rebels on coast

Israeli Supreme Court appoints deeply right-wing judges

Hundreds of Australians protest Netanyahu

Yemen rebel fire kills policeman on Saudi border

UN condemns Israel's new West Bank demolition plans

UN envoy says Russia asked Syria to halt bombing during talks

Bahrain arrests 20, approves military trials for civilians

Israel blocks EU lawmakers from Gaza entry

Syrian migrant on trial in Austria over 20 murders

UN says rapes, killings still blight Darfur

Yemen president says Saudi saving $10 bn for reconstruction

Top Yemen commander killed in missile strike

New Somali president says ability to deal with nation's problems 'limited'

Israel lifts ban on basketball team playing in Turkey

Arab League condemns Israeli soldier’s lenient sentence

Turkey lifts ban on Islamic headscarves in army

Israeli ministry orders removal of Haifa ammonia tank

Iraqi forces ready for assault on Mosul airport