UN Panel Will Share Syria Suspects’ Names With Prosecutors

by Associated Press in 'The New York Times,' March 17, 2015

BERLIN — The head of a U.N. panel investigating human rights violations in the war in Syria said Tuesday the panel is willing to give names from its secret list of alleged war criminals to any prosecutors pursuing cases.

Paulo Sergio Pinheiro told the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva that the group will “share names and information about the specific alleged perpetrators” with prosecuting authorities preparing cases “to be heard before a competent and impartial judiciary.”

So far, the panel has helped three countries that are pursuing investigations and prosecutions, a member of the panel, Vitit Muntarbhorn, said in an email.

“We are not in a position to state which type of information was provided, and to which countries,” he added.

Pinheiro said people violating international law in Syria appear to have “no fear of future accountability” but he added that the U.N. panel will not release the names publicly for now.

The panel has said it kept four lists of names for possible prosecution confidential because its investigations don’t meet the normal requirements of due process.

In order to receive the information, there must be an open investigation and prosecutors or other judicial authorities will have to write the commission, which will weigh procedural concerns including the rights of the accused as well as whether the state making the request is respectful of human rights.

A state “cannot be making a fishing expedition,” said commission member Carla del Ponte.

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