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Hollande says action needed in ICC on Syrian regime''s crimes

PARIS, Aug 24 (KUNA) -- French President Francois Hollande on Friday said "overwhelming" evidence points to the responsibility of the Syrian regime in "crimes against humanity" during the conflict there, and said the International Criminal Court (ICC) will have to be seized on this matter.
The latest statement is the clearest indication that France wants investigators at the ICC to pursue President Bashar Al-Assad and his supporters and bring charges against them as happened in Libya last year.
In a statement after a meeting with the International Federation of Human Rights here (FIDH), the Elysee Palce said Hollande stressed the "worrying situation in Syria" and outlined what he was doing to help the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the fighting.
The statement also quoted Hollande as saying that "the International Commission of enquiry, whose last report overwhelmingly established the responsibility of the Syrian regime in crime against humanity committed in this country for 18 months, should be extended." The Commission ordered by the Geneva-based Human Rights Council (HCR) reported major abuses of human rights by Syrian security forces and pro-government militias, including execution, killings, torture, arbitrary detention and forced displacement of populations. Hundreds of children were reported to have been among victims of killing and torture.
Shelling and bombing of civilian areas has also been reported by the investigation.
Hollande said that the Commission's "means should be reinforced" to allow it to continue compiling evidence.
"In the face of such crimes, there cannot be any impunity and the International Criminal court will need to be seized," the French leader said.
France presides a "ministerial" meeting of the UN Security Council on August 30 to discuss mainly humanitarian issues but the question of the ICC and Syria could also figure on the agenda to get backing for an official procedure against Al-Assad and his leadership. (end) jk.bs KUNA 242200 Aug 12NNNN