GENEVA – United Nations war crimes investigators on Syria said on Tuesday that lower-level perpetrators should be prosecuted by foreign authorities until senior military and political figures can be brought before international justice.
The UN Commission of Inquiry, which has documented atrocities committed by all sides, has compiled a confidential list of suspects and maintains a database with 5,000 interviews. It has begun providing judicial assistance abroad in some cases. “The adoption of measures that lay the ground for accountability need not and should not wait for a final peace agreement to be reached,” Paulo Pinheiro, chief of the inquiry panel, told the UN Human Rights Council. Carla del Ponte, a former UN war crimes prosecutor serving on the team, told reporters that it had received about 15 requests for information from various countries. The cases involved low- to middle-level perpetrators or foreign fighters. “It is a start towards international justice,” she said.