UN evidence on Syria war crimes implicates Assad

December 03, 2013 - 6:20:46 am

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay gives a press conference in Geneva, yesterday.
GENEVA: Evidence collected by UN investigators probing Syrian war crimes implicates President Bashar Al Assad, United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay said yesterday.

Pillay later denied having direct knowledge of their secret list of suspects, but her revealing remarks about the head of state were at odds with a policy of keeping the identity of alleged perpetrators under wraps pending any judicial process.

The UN investigators, who collect testimony in utmost secrecy and independently from Pillay, have previously said the evidence points to the highest levels of Syria’s government, but have not named Assad or any other officials publicly.

They have compiled secret lists of suspects and handed them to Pillay for safe storage, in hope that one day suspects will face trial for violations including torture and mass killings.

“They point to the fact that the evidence indicates responsibility at the highest level of government, including the head of state,” Pillay told a news conference.

But Pillay said even she cannot unseal the confidential lists, and insisted she was only repeating what the investigators led by Brazilian expert Paulo Pinheiro had said.

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