UK pushes for Syria to be referred to ICC

Amer Sultan in London, Saturday 17 May 2014

London wants to see alleged war crimes committed in Syria brought to the International Criminal Court; calls on UN Security Council to draw up new resolution on humanitarian aid

London 11
London 11 members pose to get their photo taken (Photo: Amer Sultan)

The UK has called on international powers to agree to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

This is the first time London has publicly expressed its readiness to respond to the Syrian opposition's demand to refer human rights violations and alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria to the ICC.   

“We will strongly support the principle of a resolution referring the Syrian regime to the International Criminal Court," International Development Secretary Justine Greening said.

London has repeatedly charged that the Syrian regime is responsible for the human sufferings of Syrian civilians inside and outside Syria.

The UK government accuses the Syrian regime of refusing to grant access to international aid agencies, saying it is vital that further steps are taken to address the Syrian humanitarian crisis.

“The Syrian regime's refusal to allow humanitarian agencies to deliver aid is clearly a breach of international humanitarian law," Greening said in a statement.

The UK has already committed £600 million to help people who are in desperate need of assistance across Syria and neighbouring countries.  

The UK statement also called on the UN Security Council to adapt a new resolution on allowing humanitarian aid into Syria.

The British appeal came hours after the meeting of the "London 11" group on Syria that consists of Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the UAE, the UK and the US.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy, who visited the UK recently for two days, did not attend the meeting as he left London hours before its opening. 

The meeting agreed unanimously to take further steps through a coordinated strategy.

According to its final statement, this strategy includes holding the Al-Assad regime accountable for “the terror it is perpetrating against its own people and spreading across the region.”

Group members have directed their officials to implement an action plan on Syrian that calls for increasing “the support for the moderate opposition National Coalition, its Supreme Military Council and associated moderate armed groups.”

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