On February 18, 2013, the independent international commission of inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic announced that, “A confidential list of individuals and units believed to be responsible for crimes against humanity, breaches of international humanitarian law and gross human rights violations will be submitted to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights at the close of the commission’s current mandate, in March 2013.” See “Report of the independent international commission of inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic.”
According to the commission report, dated February 5, 2013, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s (in photo below):
Government forces and affiliated militia committed the crimes against humanity of murder, torture, rape, enforced disappearance and other inhumane acts. War crimes and gross violations of international human rights and humanitarian law — including arbitrary arrest and detention, unlawful attack, attacking protected objects, and pillaging and destruction of property — were also committed.
Anti-Government armed groups have committed war crimes, including murder, torture, hostage-taking and attacking protected objects. They continue to endanger the civilian population by positioning military objectives inside civilian areas. Where armed groups carried out bombings in predominantly civilian areas, it had the effect of spreading terror and amounted to the war crime of attacking civilians. The violations and abuses committed by anti-Government armed groups did not, however, reach the intensity and scale of those committed by Government forces and affiliated militia.
The report contends that, “Both Government-affiliated militia and anti-Government armed groups were found to have violated the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, to which the Syrian Arab Republic is a party.”
According to the commission, “Government-affiliated militia used children under the age of 18 in direct hostilities. Children under the age of 15 actively participated in hostilities as part of anti-Government armed groups, conduct that constitutes the war crime of using, conscripting and enlisting children.”
The commission’s conclusion: “… the only solution to the Syrian conflict is a political one, based on the framework set forth in the final communiqué of the Action Group for Syria of 30 June 2012 (Geneva communiqué) (A/66/865-S/2012/522).”