Geneva: Syrian forces have fired on peaceful protestors throughout the country, often at short range and without warning, killing at least 1,900 civilians in what may amount to crimes against humanity, UN human rights investigators said on Thursday.
Tanks, grenades, snipers, heavy machine guns and helicopters have been used in the assault aimed at quashing opposition to the rule of President Bashar al-Assad, they said in a damning report to the UN Human Rights Council. The 47-member Geneva forum is to hold a special session on Syria on Monday.
"The mission found a pattern of human rights violations that constitutes widespread or systematic attacks against the civilian population, which may amount to crimes against humanity," it said, specifically citing the Rome Statutes of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The team, whose report covers mid-March to mid-July, was not allowed into Syria but interviewed victims and witnesses in the region. It compiled a list of 50 alleged perpetrators at various levels of the Syrian government for possible use in future prosecutions.