UPDATE 3-Syrian forces committing crimes on orders from top - UN

Thu Feb 23, 2012 2:52pm GMT

* U.N. human rights report details murders, rapes, torture

* List of suspects in U.N. hands for possible prosecution

* Investigator Pinheiro expects international body to act

* Team queried 369 victims, witnesses, used satellite images (Adds quotes from Reuters interview with Pinheiro)

By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA, Feb 23 (Reuters) - A confidential list of top Syrian officials suspected of ordering crimes against humanity including murder, abductions and torture has been given to the United Nations for possible future prosecution, U.N. investigators said on Thursday.

Syrian forces bent on crushing a popular uprising have shot dead unarmed women and children, shelled residential areas and tortured wounded protesters in hospital under orders from the "highest level" of army and government officials, the independent panel said in a report.

The three-member panel said that they had drawn up a secret list of names of commanding officers and officials alleged to be responsible for gross violations. The list, which also identifies armed opposition units tied to abuses, might help "future credible investigations by competent authorities".

"The list we have deposited with the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights is based on evidence we have collected since being appointed and covers the period from March 2011 to now," Brazilian expert Paulo Pinheiro who lead the team told Reuters.   Continued...

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