Syrian, Russian acts beg investigation for war crimes: Kerry

Syrian, Russian acts beg investigation for war crimes: Kerry

New York, Oct 8 (IANS) Syrian government troops are advancing gradually against opposition fighters inside Aleppo, even as the US secretary of state calls for Russia and Syria to face a war-crimes investigation for alleged attacks on Syrian civilians.

Kerry denounced what he called “this siege in the 21st century … of innocent people,” the Guardian reported.

“Last night the regime attacked yet another hospital and 20 people were killed and 100 people were injured. Russia and the regime owe the world more than an explanation about why they keep hitting hospitals and medical facilities and women and children,” he said.

“These are actions that beg for an appropriate investigation of war crimes and those responsible would and should be held accountable for these actions,” the secretary of state added. “They are beyond the accidental now. Way beyond, years beyond the accidental. This is a targeted strategy to terrorise civilians and to kill anybody and everybody who is in the way of their military objectives.”

The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon set up a board of inquiry at the end of last month into the 19 September bombing of a UN humanitarian convoy in rebel-held Aleppo province, for which the US and UK officials have held Russian aircraft responsible. The panel of experts will currently being convened and will report to the security council, which is currently being presided over by Russia. Moscow has said it would welcome an investigation.

Ban has repeatedly called for the Syrian conflict to be referred to the International Criminal Court, but the Syrian regime is not a signatory to the court’s founding statute, so any referral would have to be agreed by the security council – something Russia has blocked up to now.

France presented its resolution on Syria to the security council on Friday without having won Russia’s prior agreement to the text. The country’s ambassador to the UN, Francois Delattre, called Aleppo “a human tragedy, a black-hole destroying all we believe in, but also the harbinger of many more disasters to come.”

“It has been one week now that we have been negotiating very hard, literally night and day, with the 15 members of the security council to try and unite the council,” Delattre said. “After one week of intense negotiations we are close to the moment of truth. And now it is up to the security council and its 15 members to take their responsibilities.”

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