UN chief renews call to refer Syria to war crimes court

UN chief renews call to refer Syria to war crimes court

UN chief renews call to refer Syria to war crimes court


U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Oct. 10 asked once again the Security Council to formally request that the International Criminal Court (ICC) begin investigations of war crimes in Syria.
Such a request was blocked in 2014 by Russia and China, which have veto powers, but Ban said the council should try again.

“I ask and urge the Security Council to bring this matter to the ICC. I am urging them again,” Ban told reporters, AFP reported.

Describing the situation in Aleppo as “heartbreaking,” Ban said he was disappointed that the council failed to take action during a meeting on Oct. 9 when two resolutions were defeated.

Russia vetoed a French-drafted text demanding an end to the aerial bombardment of Aleppo and to military flights over the city while a second measure drafted by Moscow urging a cease-fire was defeated.

In May 2014, France presented a draft resolution calling for war crimes to be investigated in Syria, but the measure was defeated when Russia and China used their veto power to block the request.

On Oct. 10, French President Francoise Hollande said that “Those who commit these acts will have to pay for their involvement, including at the International Criminal Court.”

Hollande also described the bombing of Aleppo as a “war crime.”

Upon these accusations, Russian President Vladimir Putin cancelled Oct. 11 a visit to France.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin was “ready to visit when it is comfortable for President Hollande,” adding that Moscow would “wait for when that comfortable time comes.” 

Hollande responded that he was prepared to meet Putin “at any time... to further peace.”

Putin had been due in Paris on October 19 to inaugurate a spiritual center at a new Russian Orthodox church near the Eiffel Tower, but Hollande had insisted his Russian counterpart also took part in talks with him about Syria.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif agreed in a phone call on Oct. 11 on the need for a new international diplomatic push to resolve the Syria crisis, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. 

Lavrov and Zarif said the Syria crisis could only be solved by political agreement, the ministry said in a statement.

On the same day, British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson called for anti-war campaigners to protest outside the Russian embassy in London, during a parliamentary debate on the bombing of Aleppo in Syria.

“I’d certainly like to see demonstrations outside the Russian embassy,” Johnson said.

Erdoğan and Putin talk Syria in Istanbul 

On Oct. 10, Turkish President Erdoğan and Putin said they had agreed on the importance of delivering aid to the city of Aleppo.

“We have a common position that everything must be done to deliver humanitarian aid to Aleppo. The only issue is ... ensuring the safety of aid delivery,” Putin told a joint briefing in Istanbul after his talks with Erdoğan. 

“We discussed ... how we can cooperate on this matter, especially on humanitarian aid to Aleppo, what strategy can we implement so that people in Aleppo can find peace. We will come together with our foreign ministries and top military leaders and intelligence officers,” Erdoğan said.