Islamic State could be added to Syria war crimes list: UN

In this June 16, 2014 photo, demonstrators chant pro-Islamic State group slogans as they carry the group's flags in front of the provincial government headquarters in Mosul, Iraq.

In this June 16, 2014 photo, demonstrators chant pro-Islamic State group slogans as they carry the group’s flags in front of the provincial government headquarters in Mosul, Iraq.

UNITED NATIONS, United States: Islamic State fighters accused of atrocities in Syria are expected to be added to a list being drawn by the United Nations of possible war crime indictees, the chief rights investigator said Friday.

Brazilian Paulo Pinheiro, who heads the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria, said incriminating evidence against IS would be easier to collect because “there are indications of a strong chain of command.”

“They are good candidates for the list,” said Pinheiro, who briefed the UN Security Council on the results of their inquiry.

“I can assure you that we are collecting information on perpetrators from all sides including non-state armed groups and ISIS,” he told reporters.

“I am not in a position to say who is winning the World Cup of human rights violations. Both sides are doing horrific things and they will continue if there is no accountability.”

The UN Security Council failed in May to agree on a formal request to the International Criminal Court to take action toward prosecutions after Russia and China vetoed the move.

Set up in September 2011, the Commission of Inquiry has collected witness accounts, satellite photographs and other documents to build up its caseload of human rights violations, although none of the members have traveled to Syria.

The war crimes list being drawn up by the inquiry remains confidential but Pinheiro said it included intelligence chiefs, heads of detention centers that have torture chambers and military commanders “who target civilians.”

Islamic State fighters have been accused by rights groups of summary executions, abductions, murder among other atrocities since they launched their offensive last month and proclaimed a “caliphate” that encompasses parts of Syria and Iraq.

 
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