A boy walks through a devastated part of Homs, Syria in June 2014. File photo
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Damascus, Syria – Investigators of the United Nations reported Friday their intention to release secret lists of alleged war criminals in Syria who participated in atrocities during the four-year-old war.
“Releasing the lists would put alleged perpetrators on notice, and could serve to maximise the potential deterrent effect and help to protect people at risk of abuse,” a commission of inquiry said in a new report.
The commission has reportedly prepared four lists which include names of individuals and groups believed to have participated in war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria.
“We are trying to convince, to mobilise the international community to consider all options on the table for accountability and not to ignore the horrific, the abominable situation of the victims of this war,” Brazilian Paolo Pinheiro, who heads the panel, told reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York.
The investigators are set to hand over a fifth list of suspected war criminals to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva next month, and Mr Pinheiro said he expects a decision during the March 17 meeting on the release of the names.
“Not to publish the names at this juncture of the investigation would be to reinforce the impunity that the commission was mandated to combat,” the commission said in its report.
The report detailed a horrifying array of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by the Syrian regime, Islamic State jihadists and other armed opposition groups.
More than 210,000 people have been killed in Syria and half of the population has been forced to flee their homes since the conflict erupted in March 2011.
Reporting by: Laila Majdalawi