Syrian forces carried out 'war crimes' in Houla
16 August 2012
The Syrian government and Shabiha militia were responsible for the deaths of around 100 civilians,half of whom were said to be children, during a massacre in the village of Houla in May which amounted to a war crime perpetrated by the ruling Assad regime, according to a UN report.
Crimes against humanity, including murder and torture, as well as breaches of international human rights laws, are regularly being committed during the conflict in the country, a new report by an independent international commission of inquiry found.
The situation in Syria is "deteriorating", the report found, adding that the basic human rights to life, liberty and personal security were being violated as fighting entered its 17th month.
Regarding the massacre at Houla, the report said that 47 interviews with witnesses "were consistent in their depiction of events and their description of the perpetrators as government forces and Shabiha".
Two witnesses in a Syrian government report on the massacre were dismissed as unreliable, with the UN report finding the government had failed in its duty to properly investigate the killings.
"Accounts of other witnesses interviewed by different investigators remained consistent, including those collected from children, despite the fact that they were conducted over an extended period of time," the report said.
"…On the basis of available evidence, the commission concluded that the elements of the war crime of murder have been met. The killing of multiple civilians, including women and children, was deliberate and connected to the ongoing armed conflict."
Rebel forces are also said to have carried out murders in the country during the conflict.
"While both parties to the conflict perpetrated unlawful killings, the gravity, frequency and scale of the violations committed by government forces and Shabiha was, according to information available, well in excess of those committed by anti-government armed groups," the report said.
HAVE YOUR SAY
16 August 2012
So "the gravity, frequency and scale" of killings perpetrated by government forces are "well in excess" of those perpetrated by "anti-government armed groups" (or, in plain English, jihadists and other violent extremists) - "according to information available". Well, they would be, considering that anyone testifying in favour of the government is ipso facto dismissed as "unreliable". How does the suicide bombing carried out by "anti-goverment armed groups" fit into this neat, simple little picture, that toes the agreed party line so nicely?
The media coverage of the civil war in Syria is an insult to our intelligence, just like the coverage of the fighting in Libya.
Stan - York