Print Edition - 2017-08-10 | Oped
Frustration over a war
- The only hope for a real end to the carnage is to keep seeking a diplomatic solution
Aug 10, 2017-
Carla del Ponte has spent most of her professional life busting war criminals and fighting organized crime, so when she quits the United Nations panel investigating atrocities in Syria in disgust, she deserves a hearing. Everyone in the Syrian civil strife was on the “bad side,” she said, the murderous Assad regime and the “extremists and terrorists” fighting it, and the United Nations Security Council has failed to act on the reports on war crimes and crimes against humanity her panel produced. But the Security Council’s inaction has not been for lack of trying. It is because Russia has obstinately propped up President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, using its veto to block measures against him. The latest veto came on April 12, blocking a resolution demanding that Mr. Assad cooperate with an investigation into a deadly gas attack. The General Assembly, where there is no veto, voted to set up another body, the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism, charged with building cases for any court that might have jurisdiction. With General Assembly backing, the new body presumably has more clout than Ms. del Ponte’s, which was set up by the Human Rights Council, and its drill includes building actual cases against specific individuals. It is up to the International Criminal Court to make use of the evidence. But because the court cannot take action on its own against a nonmember like Syria, cases must be referred by the Security Council, and Russia and China have blocked that idea.The Syrian conflict is an infernal tangle of political goals, ideologies and actors. Syria is still a long way from peace.
Published: 10-08-2017 07:49