Thursday, January 31, 2013

Brahimi's 6 principles for a political transition in Syria

Sources said that the Joint Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi proposed "elements (paragraph 44) which could inform an initiative of the Security Council which in turn, would offer a base for negotiations" between the government and the opposition in Syria. He submitted this report in the Security Council's closed meeting on 29 January 2013, diplomats said. 
Brahimi briefs correspondents following 
Security Council Consultations on Syria. 29 January 2013

Joint Special Representative for Syria
 Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi
New York, 29 January 2013
Thank you very much indeed, Mr. President,
Mr. President,
Distinguished Members of the Council,
1. It is an honor to come to this Informal Consultations of the Council to discuss the Syrian situation, and it gives me particular pleasure to do so under your Chair, Mr. President. I believe it is not too late to express to you and to your Colleagues and Staff a happy 2013. I guess that the best wish one could express to the Security Council as a whole is that you have no work at all. Indeed no work at all for you would be what the people of the world would appreciate most.
2. In my opening remarks, I’ll address the disastrous consequences of the crisis on the people of Syria. I will speak after that about the political and military situation and how in my view, the conflict needs to be addressed. I hope to show that intervention of the Council is now necessary. Without your action, Mr. President, Syria runs the risk of sliding fast into Somalianisation.
3. Things in Syria are not any better today than they were when I last briefed the Council, on 29 November 2012: as we, and most observers keep repeating, things continue to get worse by the day. You were briefed ten days ago by High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and by the Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos. Since then more Syrians have lost their lives, more Syrians have lost their limbs; and more Syrians have lost hope.
4. I thought that the sickening attack at the University of Aleppo earlier this month was the most revolting illustration of the immense suffering this conflict is inflicting on the people of Syria: the mass murder of nearly one hundred students and displaced persons living on the Campus, and the wounding of scores of others had no military value. It was killing for the purpose of terrorizing and inflicting harm on the civilian population and little else.
5. But then came those unbearable images brought back by Lyse Doucet of the BBC from the rural settlement of Haswaeyeh near the city of Homs; there, we saw that it was still possible to reach even worse levels of horror. In this rural, and until then rather peaceful part of Syria, God knows how many peaceful, helpless civilian men, women and children were literally slaughtered and burned by cruel, evil men.
6. But the tragedy simply does not have an end. Just before coming down, we read of yet another horror, in a suburb of Aleppo this time; sixty-five bodies discovered with their hands tied and shot in the head.
7. Or look also at the nearly 30 bakeries targeted in the course of 2012, often when long queues of people were waiting to buy a loaf of bread. After each of these and similar crimes, both sides were quick to claim innocence and accuse the other party of the crime. Due to a track record and, at times, circumstantial evidence, strong suspicion if not actual evidence often points the finger at Government Forces or their shadowy militia, the Shabiha as the perpetrator. It is however an established fact, that armed opposition groups have also been known to commit equally outrageous crimes against civilians.
8. These amount surely to crimes of war and crimes against humanity and it may be useful to initiate specific inquiries into crimes such as those committed earlier this month in Aleppo University, the village of Haswayeh or the Bakery attacks. It is of course difficult to undertake such tasks from a distance but I feel certain that, in many instances, it will be possible to establish responsibility. And that is worth doing; as it would be a useful complement to the serious work being done by the International Commission of Inquiry led by Professor Paulo Sergio Pinheiro.
9. Valerie Amos told you, Mr. Chairman, everything there is to say about the dire humanitarian situation. To further underline the magnitude of the problem, please listen to the following sentence I have taken one out of the large number of reports and articles we all see every day. I quote: “The U.N. refugee agency in Jordan says there has been a spike in the number of Syrians fleeing the civil war at home and crossing into Jordan. UNHCR's representative Andrew Harper says about 3,000 Syrians have entered Jordan every night for the past 5 days. Harper said Tuesday that the spike is due to intensified shelling, fighting and the "desperate situation" in Syria's southern villages. He says Jordan's Zaatari refugee camp is filling up quickly and UNHCR is running out of money to expand and set up other camps”. End of quote.
10. Another illustration of the magnitude of the tragedy: talking to a visiting UN delegation a few days ago, a senior official of the Syrian Government said that the city of Daraya in the suburbs of Damascus has seen its population dwindle to seventy thousand – 70,000 – from an original total of more than 300,000; which means that more than two thirds – 2/3 – of the inhabitants of that city have left it.
11. Let us, for a minute or two play a game of guess work: should the military situation around Damascus take a turn for the worst, we will of course see a massive exodus of civilians fleeing the capital. Let us suppose that, not two thirds like Daraya, but one third only of them leave. You would then be speaking of more than one and a half million people getting out of Damascus. Let us further suppose that one third of the people on the move find refuge somewhere else inside Syria.
12. Where would the remaining one million people go? Obviously to the nearest borders, that is the Lebanese and Jordanian borders.
13. This is of course a worst case scenario; but it would be totally wrong to assume that this is far fetched or only a very remote possibility. Someone who knows Syria much better than me speaks of another scenario far more gloomy and frightening: he sees Damascus being the theater of a long and bloody confrontation where the beautiful Old City will be completely destroyed.
14. But let us stay with our own scenario: I am sure you’ll agree with me that Lebanon would collapse under the weight of 500,000 additional people forcing their way into its territory and that Jordan will be equally critically destabilized by the flow of half a million new arrivals from Syria.
15. Do we need to add to this description the familiar figures of 60,000 people at the very least of those killed and probably 5 times maybe more that number of the wounded during this conflict. And the refugees already abroad 700,000 of them, predicted to go up to one million in a few months time. And the internally displaced – more than 2 million. And those who need help inside the country – 4, perhaps already close to 5 million.
16. Let us also remember the detainees: I saw a nominal list of nearly 30,000. Their real number is certainly very very much higher; some speak of 60,000 others of 100,000. It has been established, as you all know, that torture is routinely practiced in official and non-official detention centres. And there are also countless people who have disappeared and are said to have been detained or killed by the many security organizations of the State and the much feared, shadowy Shabbiha.
17. And do I need to mention again the physical destruction of the country? Those parts of some cities that look like Berlin in 1945. The priceless cultural heritage of Syria being destroyed or plundered. The bandits and traffickers doing what they do best? The hospitals and other health facilities destroyed completely or closed or used by security agents to arrest people suspected of being part of the opposition? Electricity being cut off for long hours every day? In some place lately there is no electricity at all. Shortages in almost everything? The galloping unemployment and punishingly high prices that continue to increase almost by the day: two very quick examples of how difficult life is for Syrians today: to get some gas it is necessary to queue with you car for up to 24 hours in front of a petrol station. And the price of a cooking gas canister has gone up – listen to this - from 350 to 5000 liras.
18. Syrians themselves are helping one another to the best of their ability. For example in the small town of Salmya is home to 100,000 to 120,000 mainly Ismailis. They have received and are supporting 100,000 IDPs, with little help from outside. Some Kurdish villages have seen their population shoot up from 10,000 to 60,000 people.
19. Syria’s neighbours deserve everyone’s admiration and profound gratitude for their inspiring sense of international responsibility, their fraternal solidarity with their neighbours and their amazingly generous hospitality extended to those hundreds of thousands of refugees.
20. All UN Agencies are mobilized, as you know. Together with others, the ICRC chief among them, they are doing their best to come to the rescue of all these people, be they inside or outside Syria, in Government or opposition controlled territory. Theirs is not an easy task. They do not always succeed in reaching those who need them the most; and their work is not without risk for national and international staff alike. But it is indispensable to do this work and it is being done as well as conditions permit.
21. In addition to the physical difficulties faced on the ground, humanitarian aid is crippled by the lack of funding, so much so that food rations are now being curtailed. In addition to what Valerie Amos told you on the subject, let me quote from what the Secretary General said a few days ago in Davos. I quote: “The humanitarian community needs $1.5 billion for the next six months -- the largest-ever short-term appeal. However, our appeals to date have been woefully under-funded. That is why I am convening a pledging conference in Kuwait on January 30th.
For many years, Syrians have shown great generosity and solidarity in hosting refugees from Palestine, Iraq and Somalia. The international community should come to Syria’s aid in its own time of need.”
Mr. President,
22. Of course humanitarian action is indispensable and urgent. It will address the needs created in and around Syria by the terrible crisis which has been affecting the country and its people as well as their neighhbours for close to two years now.
23. But humanitarian aid does not address the core of the problem; it addresses only the consequences. To go to the roots of the problem, a lasting solution has to be found for the crisis.
24. Two months ago, when I briefed the Council, many believed that the Syrian regime was crumbling and President Assad about to fall or flee the country in a matter of weeks perhaps even days. Today, the mood has shifted; President Assad is said to be doing well and his regime still strong. He will be there for the foreseeable future if not forever, we are told. To drive the point home some journalists in Damascus and Beirut write very optimistically articles about the progress being made every day. One went as far as to say total victory, for the regime of course, is not more than a few weeks away!
25. We were not convinced by the analysis which prevailed two months ago, anymore than we are convinced by what is being said today. The truth is that the regime has been seriously shaken and it has not regained its balance. It was under stronger pressure two months ago than it is today, but Kissinger’s formula is as valid today as it was yesterday: “A conventional army loses if it doesn't win; the guerilla army wins if it doesn't loose”.
26. The regime is still strong enough to keep President Assad in power. But its legitimacy has been severely, probably irreparably damaged and many are those who have serious doubts that President Assad will be able to regain that legitimacy anytime soon, if at all. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of the Russian Federation has come closer to the truth than most when he said a few days ago in Davos and I quote: I think that every day, every week, every month the chances of him (meaning President Assad) surviving are becoming less and less. And Prime Minister Medevdev added “but I repeat, again, this must be decided by the Syrian people. Not Russia, not the USA not any other country.” End of quote.
27. Much has been said in 2011 about the fact that in the countries of the so-called Arab spring “the wall of fear has come down.” In the course of the dramatic developments of these past months in the region, this may have been forgotten. But that is a fundamental reality and it is as valid in Syria as it is elsewhere. The regime in Damascus is still as repressive as it has been, if not more, and is engaging in a full scale war against entire segments of its population, but it is nevertheless still true that people are less afraid to speak out and many have taken arms to challenge the domination of the regime. Indeed, many, as you know, have deserted the ranks of the armed forces, the Police, the Government, the Baath party and the bureaucracy.
28. In this connection much nonsense has been written or said about what passed between President Assad and myself when we met on 24 December 2012. Our conversation was in fact perfectly “normal”, exactly what a conversation between a Head of State and a United Nations Envoy is and should be. Our exchange was easy, candid and mutually respectful. I invited the President to tell me how he saw the situation and what he intended to do, and he did tell me. I then told him honestly how I saw things and what, in my opinion, the reactions of Syrians and non-Syrians would be to what he had told me of his forthcoming initiative. And he listened to me with attention and patience.
29. I later spoke publicly about President Assad’s speech of 6 January 2013. I stand by everything I said except for the word “sectarian” which was not an accurate description of what was in the speech. A few days later, on 9 January I think, Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Walid Al-Mouallem sent to the Secretary-General a memorandum, which tried to give an infinitely more positive reading of the speech than what had been actually said by the President. And yesterday, Syria’s Permanent Representative sent you another letter to inform you of how his country’s Government is trying to implement President Assad’s initiative.
30. The fact remains, however, Mr. President that the Syrian parties to the conflict are still very far apart. For President Bashar, the problem is almost exclusively, an external conspiracy implemented by terrorist organizations trained, armed and funded by external enemies of Syria. As for the opponents of the Government, they see a popular uprising against a repressive regime that has lost its legitimacy. It is important to note in this connection that this analysis of the opposition is shared by all of the components of the opposition, those who are working from abroad and those who are inside the country; those who have taken up arms and those who still believe in the possibility of peaceful protest and action.
31. One change that has taken place, however, deserves attention: the Government as well as opposition groups now speak timidly of “a political solution” even if neither appears to be ready to give up its fundamental preconditions.
  • For the government those preconditions are that the “external conspiracy has to come to an end first; funding and arming of the rebellion must be suspended and “the terrorists” as they call their opponents put down their weapons; and
  • For the opposition groups those preconditions are that President Assad abandons power, if not immediately, within a very short period of time.
32. But this very modest progress in no way means that things have changed enough for what I call the “inner circle” meaning the Syrian track to be the place where a peaceful process maybe initiated. The Syrians alas, are not really ready to talk to one another even through intermediaries. They need much help to reach that stage.
33. And, as I said in my previous briefing, at the regional level, the picture is not very promising either. It is in fact worrisome. The challenge of building a regional consensus for a peaceful settlement in Syria is made difficult by the clear alignment of most regional parties with one or the other of the parties in Syria.
34. Grave concern is expressed in many ways among Syria's immediate neighbors as to the present impact of the Syrian crisis and of its future implications if the crisis continues spiralling, as well, we all fear it could. There is, first and foremost, the problem of the well-being of hundreds of thousands of displaced Syrians rendered more serious by particularly harsh winter conditions. Public opinion in each of those countries is already divided on the Syrian issue with factions having expressed support for the government and others for the opposition. The flow of Syrian refugees is increasingly becoming a matter of controversy in those countries with some calling for an open borders policy to help alleviate the displaced people’s misery and others insisting on closing the borders before them. There are also strong indications that Syrian factions are getting material support from allies in neighbouring countries and that citizens of those countries are fighting alongside their Syrian allies.
Hence the two big risks that are of serious concern to the international community:

35. The first is the transformation of Syria into a playground for competing regional forces, governments and non-state actors alike. This process is largely underway and can become acute in view of the high stakes embedded in the Syrian tragedy. As many have already observed, what we are presently witnessing in Syria is AT THE SAME TIME, and with the same intensity, a struggle INSIDE Syria and a struggle FOR Syria. The combination of these two processes substantially fuels the present conflict and complicates its settlement through diplomatic mediation.

36. The second, and no less serious concern, is the risk of a full-fledged regionalization of the Syrian civil war through the growing osmosis of that war with unresolved domestic issues within its immediate environment. No country, and certainly not Lebanon or Jordan, Iraq or Turkey, not to mention the Palestinians, is immune to the military and political fallout of the Syrian civil war. The Syrian civil war may well end up becoming contagious and affect the whole Levant where similar sectarian makeups and cleavages are to be found not to mention trans-state ideological and partisan movements. In other words, Mr. President, far from being in a position to help Syrians solve their present problem, the region is facing the risk of being itself contaminated by Syria’s difficulties and engulfed in its crisis.
37. We are still where we were two months ago: only the Security Council is in a position to help, if I may so Mr. President, and the time to act is now.
Mr. President,
38. As you and the other distinguished members of the council are aware, since I last briefed the Council I had three meetings with representatives of the Russian Federation and the United States. The first meeting was in Dublin on 6 December and was attended by Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the second and third meetings took place in Geneva on 9 December 2012 and 11 January 2013 respectively, and were attended by the Personal Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for the Middle East and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and United States Deputy Secretary of State Mr. William Burns.
39. I am deeply grateful to Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Lavrov for meeting with me in Dublin and for agreeing to the two other meetings with their respective deputies. I will not be so presumptuous as to comment on those meetings in the presence of Ambassador Susan Rice and Ambassador Vitaly Churkin.
Mr. President,
40. I am sorry if I sound like an old, broken record. But I seriously don’t see where else one should start or end except in saying that, things are bad and getting worse, the country is breaking up before everyone’s eyes; there is no military solution to this conflict – at least not one that will not destroy Syria completely and destroy also the  nation of Syria; Syrians cannot themselves start a peace process, their neighbours are not able to help them; only the international community may help and is the international community is first and foremost the United Nations Security Council. And the Geneva Communiqué and Action Plan offer good bases to initiate the necessary action to provide that help.
41. There evidently is now a better assessment worldwide, of the tragic dimension of the crisis and its terrible consequences on the Syrian population and, no less important, of the huge disintegrating impact it is having on the social fabric of the country, of the rising influence of extremist groups on both sides and of the growing violent sectarian alignments.
42. Compared to the upheavals that have struck some countries in the Arab world, the Syrian conflict has indisputably proven to be the deadliest and most intractable, the most threatening for its neighbours and the most worrisome for the country’s future. Does international action measure up to this climatic peak in the so-called “Arab Spring”? Does the diplomatic management measure up to the dimensions of the tragedy and the stakes at play? Does the pressure from third parties on the belligerents to accept a negotiated settlement measure up to the violence and devastation? To all these questions, I am sure you will agree, distinguished members of the Council, the answer is, at best, a very polite “not enough.”
43. I think that public opinion the world over is now looking up to the Security Council to take a determined, strong lead.
44. The principles on which the Council’s actions might be based are explicitly or implicitly contained in the Geneva Communiqué:
a) Syria’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity must be preserved;
b) There must be clear recognition that the ultimate objective is to enable the Syrian people to exercise their legitimate rights to dignity and human rights and to have a full say in the manner in which they are governed;
c) An essential element in that process is the formation of a transitional Government with full executive powers. The meaning of “full executive powers” has to be clarified before the Syrian parties come together to discuss the formation of that transitional government. Leaving that definition, the definition of full executive powers, to the parties is fairly certain to lead to a dead end;
In this connection, the Geneva communiqué was elegant and creative in that it did not speak of President Bashar Al-Assad and his role in the transition and beyond. I think, however, it is largely understood that “governing body with full executive powers” clearly meant that the President would have no role in the transition;
Now, Mr. President,
And this is another point that needs to be taken into consideration,

d) The actual negotiation should take place between a strong, fully representative team on behalf of the opposition and a strong civilian- military delegation representing the Government. Of course both negotiating teams should be comprised of individuals capable of reaching a compromise agreement during a reasonable period of time;

e) These negotiations should start outside of Syria and take place according to an agreed timetable to enable the process to move – as fast as possible - towards the democratic process which would include the election, constitutional reform and referendum. From what I heard in Damascus and elsewhere, it will not be to difficult to secure agreement to move the country from the present Presidential system to a Parliamentary system of Government;

f) It is important that the Council unequivocally expresses support for the right of each citizen in Syria to enjoy full equality before the law irrespective of gender, religion, language or ethnicity.

Mr. President, Distinguished Members of the Council

45. I have put down a number of elements, which in my view, could inform an initiative of the Security Council which in turn, would offer a base for negotiations between a team representing the opposition and another one acting on behalf of the Government.

This, of course, not a draft resolution; I would not be so presumptuous as to submit such a draft to all the experts around this table.

Mr. President,
46. I have been blamed by many because I did not submit my plan for the resolution of the conflict soon enough.

I accept that criticism. In my defence, I will only say that I did not consider that presenting my own personal plan was the main objective of my mission.

I thought and still think that the main objective was and still is to ensure that there is a SYRIAN PLAN, a plan that the Syrians can accept and implement.

47. I believe that difficult as it is, reaching that stage is possible. But it is necessary to obtain, first, a strong, unequivocal support from the Security Council. And that is what I am asking you Mr. Chairmn and honourable delegates today.

I thank you.
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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Security Council resolution 2087 on North Korea

United States of America: draft resolution
The Security Council,
Recalling its previous relevant resolutions, including resolution 825 (1993), resolution 1540 (2004), resolution 1695 (2006), resolution 17!8 (2006), resolution 1874 (2009),' resolution 1887 (2009), as well as the statements ofits President of 6 October 2006 (S/PRST/2006/41), 13 April 2009 (SiPRST/2009/7) and 16 April 2012 (S/PRST/2012/13),
Recognizing the freedom of all States to explore and use-outer space in accordance with international law, including restrictions imposed by relevant Security Council resolutions,
1. Condemns the DPRK's launch of 12 December 2012, which used ballistic missile technology and was in violation of resolutions 1718 (2006) and 1874 (2009);
2. Demands that the DPRK not proceed with any further launches using ballistic missile technology, and comply with resolutions 1718 (2006) and 1874 (2009) by suspending all activities related to its ballistic missile program and in this context re-establish its pre-existing commitments to a moratorium on missile launches;
3. Demands that the DPRK immediately comply fully with its obligations under resolutions 1718 (2006) and 1874 (2009), including that it: abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclealÿ programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner; immediately cease all related activities; and not conduct any further launches that use ballistic missile technology, nuclear test or any further provocation;

Friday, January 18, 2013

Security Council statement on attack in Amenas, Algeria

Security Council Press Statement on Terrorist Attack in AMENAS

The following press statement was issued today by Security Council President Masood Khan (Pakistan):

The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist attack in In Amenas, Algeria, launched on 16 January, resulting in numerous deaths and injuries.  They expressed their deep sympathy and sincere condolences to the victims of these heinous acts and their families and to the people and Governments of Algeria and those countries whose nationals have been affected.

The members of the Security Council underlined the need to bring perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism to justice, and urge all States, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with the Algerian authorities in this regard.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, and that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their determination to combat all forms of terrorism, in accordance with their responsibilities under the Charter of the United Nations.

The members of the Security Council reminded States that they must ensure that measures taken to combat terrorism comply with all their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law.
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UK, France, Luxembourg, S-Korea, Australia: Syria should be referred to ICC

18 January 2013 - Syria/ICC - 

Joint statement by Australia, France, Luxembourg, the Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom

We are appalled by the horrendous humanitarian and human rights situation that High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos described to the members of the Council today.
The High Commissioner for Human Rights has reported that more than sixty thousand Syrian citizens have been killed in the 22-month crisis that started with peaceful demonstrations, crushed by the brutal repression of the Syrian authorities. This appalling death toll surpasses the worst assessments previously made and continues to skyrocket. Mrs Pillay denounced an increasing trend of crimes against humanity and war crimes mainly committed by the Syrian regime. She has consistently called for an ICC referral and repeated this position today.
Countries from around the world have been united in condemning the human rights violations taking place in Syria. The United Nations General Assembly and the Human Rights Council have repeatedly condemned the continuing violence in Syria and called for the Syrian regime to put an immediate end to such human rights violations and attacks against civilians.
In the face of such a dramatic death toll and the silence of the Security Council, we felt that we must speak out on the absolute need for accountability and to send a clear message that the international community is not turning a blind eye to the atrocities being committed in Syria. Without accountability, there will be no sustainable peace. The Syrian government has not responded to repeated calls from the international community to ensure accountability through a national procedure. We therefore believe that the ICC has a role to play. Equally, in case of a referral the Council should play a role in supporting the action of the ICC.
That is why the Swiss sent a joint letter on behalf of 58 countries, including the 5 Members of the Council represented here, namely Australia, France, Luxembourg, the Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, calling for the Security Council to refer the situation in the Syrian Arab Republic to the International Criminal Court. We fully support the Swiss initiative and will remain at the forefront of the international community in calling for the situation in Syria to be referred to the ICC and in ensuring that, without exception, all perpetrators of the most serious international crimes in Syria are held to account. We hope other countries will join this initiative.
Linked to this, we fully support the UN Commission of Inquiry’s call for human rights violations and abuses to be thoroughly investigated. It is important to document these atrocities for future prosecutions.
As members of the Council, we are committed to support a peaceful transition in Syria. We call on the Syrian regime to put an immediate end to all human rights violations and attacks against civilians. We call on all sides to put an end to the violence and to pursue a process of genuine political transition to meet the legitimate demands and aspirations of the Syrian people.
We deeply regret that the Security Council is not today in a position to make a referral to the ICC but we will do our utmost in the Council to uphold this call for accountability.
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Friday, January 11, 2013

Switzerland and 57 countries call on Security Council to refer Syria to ICC

Switzerland, on behalf of 57 countries, will submit this letter to the Security Council's president on Monday, 14 January 2012, diplomats said. The letter "asks the Security Council to act by referring the situation in the Syrian Arab Republic as of March 2011 to the International Criminal Court (ICC) without exceptions and irrespective of the alleged perpetrators."
Here is a list of States supportive of the letter.

Lakhdar Brahimi (centre) meets with US Deputy Secretary
of State William J. Burns (left) and Mikhail L. Bogdanov,
Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Russia
at the UN Headquarters in Geneva.11 January 2013
Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations
(To) H.E. Mr. Masood Khan
President of the Security Council for the month of January 2013
Security Council Secretariat
New York, 14 January 2013
I am writing to you on behalf of the government of Switzerland, supported by Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Botswana, Bulgaria, Chile, the Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Maldives, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, the Republic of Korea, Romania, San Marino, Samoa, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tunisia, United Kingdom, and Uruguay.

Already in November 2011, the UN’s independent international Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic documented patterns of summary execution, arbitrary arrest, enforced disappearance, torture, including sexual violence, as well as violations of children’s rights, and it expressed its grave concern that crimes against humanity had been committed since the beginning of the unrest in the country in March 2011. Since then, the situation on the ground has only become more desperate, with attacks on the civilian population and the commission of atrocities having almost become the norm.

Relevant decisions of the Human Rights Council, several appeals of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Final Communiqué of the Action Group that met in Geneva on 30 June 2012 have all put a strong emphasis on accountability and have made it abundantly clear that there should be no impunity for the most serious crimes under international law.

While acknowledging that accountability is primarily a national responsibility and that the role of international criminal justice is complementary, we note with regret that the Syrian Arab Republic has, so far, not reacted to repeated calls from the international community to ensure accountability through a national procedure which needs to be credible, fair and independent in order to bring all perpetrators of alleged serious crimes to justice. Without accountability, however, there will be no sustainable peace in Syria.

We are firmly of the view that the Security Council must ensure accountability for the crimes that seem to have been and continue to be committed in the Syrian Arab Republic and send a clear signal to the Syrian authorities. Given the competence of the Security Council under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and barring credible and timely measures to establish accountability within the Syrian Arab Republic itself, the most efficient way to ensure accountability in this serious situation would be a referral of the situation to the Court.

We therefore ask the Security Council to act by referring the situation in the Syrian Arab Republic as of March 2011 to the International Criminal Court (ICC) without exceptions and irrespective of the alleged perpetrators. At the very least, the Council should send out an unequivocal message urging the Syrian authorities and all other parties to fully respect international human rights and humanitarian law in the ongoing conflict and announcing that it intends to refer the situation to the ICC unless a credible, fair and independent accountability process is being established in a timely manner. We believe that such a warning would have an important dissuasive effect.

In case of a referral, we further call upon the Council to fully commit the necessary resources and its diplomatic support to any subsequent efforts to investigate crimes and to facilitate the execution of potential arrest warrants.

We would appreciate if this letter could be circulated to all members of the Council.

Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.

Paul Seger
Permanent Representative
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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Security Council statement on Mali

New York, 10 January 2013

The members of the Security Council express their grave concern over the reported military movements and attacks by terrorist and extremist groups in the north of Mali, in particular their capture of the city of Konna, near Mopti. This serious deterioration of the situation threatens even more the stability and integrity of Mali and constitutes a direct threat to international peace and security.
The members of the Security Council recall resolutions 2056 (2012), 2071 (2012) and 2085 (2012) adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations as well as the urgent need to counter the increasing terrorist threat in Mali.
The members of the Security Council reiterate their call to Member States to assist the settlement of the crisis in Mali and, in particular, to provide assistance to the Malian Defence and Security Forces in order to reduce the threat posed by terrorist organizations and associated groups.
The members of the Security Council express their determination to pursue the full implementation of its resolutions on Mali, in particular resolution 2085 in all its dimensions. In this context, they call for a rapid deployment of the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA).
The members of the Security Council call for the immediate issuance of an agreed political roadmap, which includes serious negotiations with non-extremist Malians in the north and presses for the full restoration of democratic governance. 

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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Syrian Opposition's President calls UN to protect civilians, prevent genocide

A Message from Syrian Coalition's President
In the name of God, the most Gracious, the most Merciful

Secretary General of the United Nations,
Members of the UN security Council,
Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation,
Secretary General of the League of Arab states,
United Nations Envoy to Syria,
World leaders,

Ending the massacre in Syria is the responsibility of the international community. It is not enough that the criminal regime is bombarding citizens by planes, rockets and heavy weapons, but has gone as far as to literally kneading the bread with the flesh and blood of innocent children. It has destroyed the bakeries, Mosques and fuel station, in addition to committing a mass genocide. There is no crime against humanity that this regime has (not) committed.

You are all requested to hold international responsibility: politically and ethically. Meanwhile, we wish all the people of the world, a year full of tolerance, security and peace. May a bloodless dawn rise on us all. 
Cairo 04-01-2013
Ahmad Mouaz AL KHATIB 
 Follow me on Twitter @NabilAbiSaab

رسالة من رئيس الائتلاف الوطني السوري
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

السيد الأمين العام لهيئة الأمم المتحدة
السادة أعضاء مجلس الأمن الدولي
السيد الأمن العام لمنظمة التعاون الاسلامي
السيد الأمين العام لجامعة الدول العربية
المبعوث الدولي الأستاذ الأخضر الابراهيمي
ملوك وأمراء ورؤساء حكومات العالم

إن إيقاف ما يجري في سورية من مجازر هو مسؤولية دولية على الجميع تحملها.
لم  يكتف النظام المجرم بقصف المدنيين بالطائرات والصواريخ والأسلحة الثقيلة، بل إنه عجن الخبز بلحوم ودماءالأطفال الأبرياء، وقصف حتى المخابز والمساجد ومحطات الوقود، ويمارس إبادة جماعية كاملة، ولم يترك جريمةً ضد الإنسانية إلا وارتكبها.

إن شعبنا يتعرض للإبادة، وبلادنا تدمر والصمت الدولي يشجع النظام على ارتكاب المزيد من الجرائم.
نضعكم جميعاً أمام مسؤولياتكم الدولية: السياسية والأخلاقية، ونتمنى لكافة الشعوب عاماً مليئاً بالمحبة والتسامح والأمان، وأن يشرق عليها الفجر بلا دماء.

القاهرة، 04-01-2013
أحمد معاذ الخطيب