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UN Votes to Set Up Body to Document Syria War Crimes

Despite objections from Syria and Russia, the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday voted to set up an investigative body to document and prosecute war crimes in Syria. The resolution passed with a vote of 105 to 15, with 52 abstentions. The resolution pitted Russia and Syria against the West, with Russia accusing those in favor of the resolution of interfering in the work of the Security Council, which is traditionally in charge of international peace and security. Syrian UN Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari denounced the vote as “flagrant interference in the affairs of a UN member state” and “a direct threat to a solution” to the five-year war. Liechtenstein UN Ambassador Christian Wenaweser, who sponsored the resolution, said the Security Council had been sidestepped precisely because of Russia’s penchant for vetoes. Those vetoes “have led to inaction at the expense of the people of Syria,” he said. “Our inaction tends to signal that war crimes and crimes against humanity are condoned and have no consequences,” he said.