Issue 281, Friday 28 September 2012 - 11 Dhu al-Qa'dah 1433
Killings continue in Syria as UN sends another envoy to resolve the crisis
By Ahmed J Versi
New UN-Arab League joint special representative, veteran diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi, has been appointed to try to resolve the 18-month-old crisis in Syria. The visit comes amid a surge in violence in across Syria, where according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights more than 5,000 people were killed in the month of August alone.
“I do know it is a very difficult task, but I believe it is my right to try my best to give as much help as possible to the Syrian people,” Brahimi said.
However, most Syrians pin little hope on Brahimi's mission, bearing in mind previous foiled attempt by his predecessor, Kofi Annan, as well as the failure of Arab and international observers' missions in Syria.
Meanwhile, earlier this month, the UN Human Rights Commissioner, Navi Pillay, has warned Syria’s warring factions that prosecutors will catch up with suspected war criminals. She told the UN Human Rights Council that both sides in Syria are culpable. Pillay predicted that suspects would "eventually" be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.
She said the use of heavy weapons and shelling of populated areas by the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad had resulted in high civilian casualties and displacement. She also warned rebel forces that they were not immune from prosecution.
According to the Observatory, more than 26,000 people have been killed in Syria since the revolt began in March last year. The UN puts deaths at about 18,000.