UN to vote on Syria war crimes cases

UNITED NATIONS: The UN General Assembly votes on setting up a panel to build cases for the prosecution of war crimes in Syria, in what would be a first step towards punishing those responsible for atrocities in the nearly six-year war. The draft resolution prepared by Liechtenstein is co-sponsored by 54 countries including the United States, France, Britain, Italy and Germany as well as Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Liechtenstein’s Ambassador Christian Wenaweser said the new UN panel would gather evidence and ensure the files are “trial-ready for the moment when there is a court that can exercise jurisdiction over these crimes, which is currently not the case.” A UN Commission of Inquiry set up in 2011 has submitted several reports detailing atrocities committed during the war that has killed more than 310,000 people. Civil society groups have also been compiling documents, lists of witnesses and video footage that could one day be admissible in a court of law.