NPR : News

Filed Under:

Syrian Officials To Blame For Crimes Against Humanity, U.N. Panel Suggests

A United Nations panel says it has evidence that top Syrian officials "bear responsibility for crimes against humanity and other gross human rights violations" during the nearly year-long crackdown on dissent that has left thousands of civilians dead.

The New York Times has obtained a copy, and posted it online, of the report to the U.N.'s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights from the panel of three investigators.

The panel's members have not named the officials, however.

But The Associated Press says the panel has "a secret list of top Syrian officials who could face investigation for crimes against humanity carried out by security forces in Syria's crackdown." And, it adds, "the U.N. experts indicated the list goes as high as President Bashar Assad."

The report says "the commission is satisfied that a reliable body of evidence exists that, consistent with other verified circumstances, provides reasonable grounds to believe that particular individuals, including commanding officers and officials at the highest levels of Government" bear responsibility for the crimes.

United Nations officials, including Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and human rights chief Navi Pillay, have been saying in recent weeks that they feared the Syrian government's actions would amount to crimes against humanity. The panel's report adds evidence to those concerns.

The report also comes as "the United States, Europe and Arab nations are preparing to demand that Syrian President Bashar Assad agree within days to a ceasefire and allow humanitarian aid into areas hardest hit by his regime's brutal crackdown on opponents," the AP adds.

In related news, the AP says that French journalist Edith Bouvier, who was "wounded in shelling in Syria that killed two other Western journalists is pleading with her government to evacuate her so she can have an operation." She makes her case on YouTube.

Bouvier was injured in the shelling that killed American reporter Marie Colvin and French photojournalist Remi Ochlik.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit


French Bulldog At Heart Of New Children's Book 'Naughty Mabel'

Mabel is a naughty French bulldog at the center of a new children's book by Nathan Lane and Devlin Elliott. NPR's Scott Simon speaks with Lane about his inspiration for the fictional dog.

How Do We Get To Love At 'First Bite'?

It's the season of food, and British food writer Bee Wilson has a book on how our food tastes are formed. NPR's Scott Simon speaks with her about her new book, "First Bite: How We Learn to Eat."

Snapshots 2016: Trump's Message Resonates With A Master Cabinet Maker

From time to time during this election season we'll be introducing you to ordinary people that our reporters meet out on the campaign trail. Today: a snapshot from a Donald Trump rally in New Hampshire.

What Is Li-Fi And When Will You Use It To Download Everything Faster?

Li-Fi is a lot like Wi-Fi, but it uses light to transmit data. NPR's Scott Simon speaks to the man who invented the faster alternative: Harald Haas.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.