The United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday voted to establish a special team to “collect, consolidate, preserve and analyze evidence” as well as prepare cases on war crimes and human rights abuses committed during the conflict in Syria.
Liechtenstein U.N. Ambassador Christian Wenaweser told the General Assembly ahead of the vote: “We have postponed any meaningful action on accountability too often and for too long.” He said inaction has sent “the signal that committing war crimes and crimes against humanity is a strategy that is condoned and has no consequences.”
The special team will “prepare files in order to facilitate and expedite fair and independent criminal proceedings in accordance with international law standards, in national, regional or international courts or tribunals that have or may in the future have jurisdiction over these crimes.”
The team will work in coordination with the U.N. Syria Commission of Inquiry. The Commission of Inquiry, which says it has a confidential list of suspects on all sides who have committed war crimes or crimes against humanity, has repeatedly called for the U.N. Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court.
The Syrian UN Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari, along with Syrian allies Russia and Iran, spoke out against the resolution.