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France's human rights envoy to collect testimony on Syria violence

France’s ambassador for human rights has been sent to neighbouring countries of Syria, in an attempt to gather evidence about the uprising for use against the regime at the International Criminal Court.


Diplomats confirmed on Wednesday that François Zimeray was “in the region” to collect testimony from witnesses of the fighting in Syria.

French diplomats would not detail Zimeray’s trip, to protect his contacts and research methods.

France hopes that evidence of abuse, including torture and murder, could be used to push the international community to act against Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

As Syria has not signed the ICC’s founding treaty, the only way the court could bring a charge against the Syrian regime would be by the order of the UN Security Council.

Since Russia and China have prevented any kind of condemnation of Assad’s regime, the possibility of a positive outcome at the ICC remains slim.

The ICC was set up with UN support to prosecute genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity when national courts fail.

France is not the only one to have initiated research-gathering operations regarding the Syria violence. The United Nations Commission for Human Rights has sent a group of observers to the region to collect testimony.

Officials in Paris said that several non-governmental human rights groups had already begun gathering evidence to help governments.

The Syrian regime’s crackdown on protesters began one year ago, which led to increasing violence in the country. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the fighting has left 8,500 people dead.

The UN Refugee Agency has registered 30,000 who have fled Syria since the uprising began.

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