UPDATE 2-Syria on cusp of civil war, death toll 4,000-UN

Thu Dec 1, 2011 7:29pm GMT

The U.N. Human Rights Council is holding an emergency session on Syria on Friday following a report by an independent U.N. commission of inquiry that said Syrian forces have committed crimes against humanity including executions, torture and rape.

"I intend to add my voice to the finding of the commission of inquiry with regard to evidence pointing to the commission of crimes against humanity," said Pillay, a former U.N. war crimes judge who will address the one-day session in Geneva.

Pillay noted that she had called in August for the Security Council to refer Syria to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged crimes against humanity.

"In my own view, based on our own monitoring of the situation, there is need for prosecution of perpetrators at the highest level for crimes against humanity," she said.


The United States, European Union and Arab League blacklisted Syrian VIPs and companies on Thursday, hoping to force an end to the eight-month military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters challenging Assad's rule.

"I want to endorse what was said to me by one of the Arab state ambassadors who is sponsoring the special session tomorrow, and that is of course they also feel totally hopeless, they feel that the sanctions will bite because the wealth is concentrated on the family around him," Pillay said, in a reference to Assad.

"And they feel that the momentum has to be maintained. So the council session is important, my statements are important, eventually to get to the Security Council and also to get the message to those who are holding back on drastic action by the Security Council, so they will also understand this is serious."   Continued...

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