The U.N. inquiry has identified military units and security
agencies as well as insurgent groups suspected of committing abuses,
Paulo Pinheiro told the Human Rights Council.
Four confidential lists of suspects on both sides have been drawn up
"This 'perpetrators list', as we call it, contains names of persons
criminally responsible for hostage-taking, torture and executions,"
said Pinheiro, a Brazilian chairing the inquiry.
"It also contains names of the heads of intelligence branches and
detention facilities where detainees are tortured, names of military
commanders who target civilians, airports from which barrel bomb
attacks are planned and executed, and armed groups involved in
attacking and displacing civilians."
In its update report, the U.N. commission of inquiry on Syria said
the period of January 20 to March 10 was marked by escalating
hostilities between insurgent groups throughout northern and
northeastern provinces as Islamist rebel strongholds came under
Syrian government forces have dropped barrel bombs on Aleppo and
other cities, causing extensive civilian casualties in areas with no
clear military target, and severely tortured detainees.
Insurgents seeking to topple President Bashar al-Assad have used car
and suicide bombs targeting civilian areas, also violations of
international law, it said.
Fighters from al Qaeda splinter group the Islamic State of Iraq and
the Levant, also known as ISIS, executed detainees, including
civilians and captured soldiers, in Aleppo, Idlib and al Raqqa in
the hours and days before coming under attack by other armed groups
such as the Islamic Front, it said.
ISIS used the Children's Hospital building in Aleppo as its
headquarters and as a detention facility. Later, fighters from
another group discovered an 'execution field' near the hospital.
"In the days and hours prior to attack, ISIS fighters conducted mass
executions of detainees, thereby perpetrating war crimes. The number
killed as well as allegations of mass graves connected to these
executions remain under investigation," it added.
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The independent team of more than 20 investigators, set up in
September 2011, months after the start of the revolt now in its
fourth year, includes former U.N. war crimes prosecutor Carla del
It has called repeatedly for the Security Council to refer the
situation in Syria to the prosecutor of the International Criminal
Court (ICC), a call endorsed again by Britain, the European Union
(EU), France and Switzerland on Tuesday.
"It is this volume of testimony that will be the enduring legacy of
the Commission: an archive of Syrian voices and a resource for
future prosecutions," Pinheiro said.
Syrian ambassador Faysal Khabbaz Hamoui took the floor to denounce
"Referral to the ICC is a politicized and unlawful step as there are
national judicial mechanisms available in Syria," he said.
He accused the commission of working for the political agendas of
countries that are supporting the rebels — naming the United States,
Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
Iran, which supports Assad, condemned extreme violence committed by
"terrorist and extremist groups" in Syria. The Iranian delegation
said the move to refer its ally to the ICC constituted a
"highly-politicized and illegitimate incitement".
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; editing by Angus MacSwan)
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