UN Human Rights Council: Interactive Dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on Syria
Human Rights Watch
4 June 2013
Human Rights Watch is deeply concerned by the escalating level of violence in Syria.
In particular, we express grave concern for the safety of the remaining civilian population in al-Qusayr as well as wounded and captured fighters on all sides. Local opposition activists told Human Rights Watch that recent government attacks on fleeing civilians, including a reported attack on May 31, have made it difficult to escape and put remaining civilians, including many wounded, at great risk. They estimated that amid intense shelling approximately 8,000 civilians and another 1,200 wounded were in need of urgent assistance in al-Qusayr and nearby Eastern Buwayda and Dab`a. (…)
Research lead by Human Rights Watch in Northern Aleppo province in April 2013 demonstrated that the Syrian government continues to use air-dropped banned cluster bombs and indiscriminate aerial attacks in populated areas, making the airstrikes unlawful. These attacks are serious violations of international humanitarian law and the laws of war. Those who order or carry out such violations with criminal intent – that is, deliberately or recklessly – are responsible for war crimes.
The opposition is increasingly conducting offensive operations and some opposition forces have carried out serious abuses like kidnapping, torture, indiscriminate shelling and extrajudicial executions. (…) Human Rights Watch urges the opposition Syrian National Coalition and the Free Syrian Army leadership to take all possible steps to hold those responsible for war crimes accountable and prevent such abuses by anyone under their command. Any party with the power to do so should do all it can to keep weapons from reaching the brigades responsible for atrocities.
Human Rights Watch repeats its call to the Human Rights Council to call for access to the Commission of inquiry and call on the United Nations Security Council to refer the Syria situation to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to ensure accountability for all war crimes and crimes against humanity.