France demands that Syrian leaders face international justice


French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe on Monday demanded at the UN Security Council that Syrian leaders face international trials over the deadly crackdown on opposition protests.

Juppe also appealed for Russia and China to hear the “world conscience” and agree on a UN resolution condemning the Syria violence.

“The crimes of the Syrian regime cannot go unpunished,” Juppe told a Security Council meeting on the Arab uprisings.

“The day will come when the civilian and military authorities of this country will have to answer for their acts to justice.

“We must prepare now the conditions for the International Criminal Court to be seized,” Juppe said.

Syria has not signed the international court’s founding treaty so its prosecutors cannot investigate the conflict, where the UN says well over 7,500 people died in the past year.

The court could only investigate the deaths and allegations of widespread human rights abuses if the case were referred by the Security Council. The council called in the ICC for Libya, but permanent members Russia and China now oppose strong international action on Syria.

Russia and China have twice vetoed European-drafted resolutions on Syria in the past six months, saying they were unbalanced and only aimed at regime change.

“It is unacceptable that our council be stopped from assuming its responsibilities,” Juppe said.

He called for support for the mission of UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan and an Arab League plan to end the conflict.

“After months of blocking, I appeal to China and Russia to hear the voices of the Arabs and the world conscience and join us,” Juppe said.

Now Lebanon