Russia Distrusts UN Syria Probe Impartiality

Russia’s envoy to the UN, Vitaly ChurkinRussia’s envoy to the UN, Vitaly Churkin

The idea that an investigation “funded by voluntary contributions” will be able to maintain impartiality instead of delivering the results desired by its sponsors is somewhat dubious, said Russia’s UN envoy who derided the UN General Assembly’s recent resolution on Syria.

The non-binding resolution, approved by the United Nations assembly on Thursday, created a dangerous legal precedent and would not contribute to the cessation of hostilities in Syria, Russia’s envoy to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, told newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

Russia Today reported Churkin as saying, “This decision of the General Assembly was not right ... We honestly believe that the general assembly does not have the authority to establish such institutions. The secretary-general, however, has received corresponding instructions, and it looks like the new secretary-general will have to deal with the issue.”

According to Churkin, it has apparently become a common and dangerous practice in the UN, when a flawed resolution fails to get a consensus within the UN Security Council, it gets passed through the general assembly.

“This is despite the fact that the issues currently under UNSC consideration should not be interfered with by the general assembly, according to the UN Charter,” he said.

The resolution basically contradicts not only the UN Charter but the basic principle of state sovereignty and blatantly interferes with the domestic affairs of a UN-member state.

The whole idea of an “independent” institution that depends on “voluntary donations” to investigate alleged “war crimes” in Syria raises serious concerns.

“The resolution states that the new structure will be based on voluntary contributions. That means, in fact, that the one who’ll give money, sponsor this group will expect the results they desire. It will obviously be ‘anti-Damascus’ and ‘anti-Assad’ investigations,” the Russian diplomat said.

“The general assembly’s resolution is a result of everyone having nerves ‘naked’ regarding the Syrian issue. Many delegations are willing to vote in favor of anything, any resolution with a declared goal of ceasing hostilities in Syria.”

Churkin noted that a majority of the UN members are ready to support such a document, without thinking of its legal and practical consequences.

“The reality is that if you propose a resolution to the general assembly and say that it’s crucial for stopping the violence in Syria, the majority would vote for it without even reading the document,” he said.

The UN General Assembly adopted the resolution on Thursday calling for the creation of an “impartial and independent mechanism” to assist in the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for the “most serious crimes” in Syria.

The resolution was introduced by Lichtenstein and actively backed by the US, France, the UK, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar–the countries openly supporting the so-called moderate, not-so moderate and openly extremist groups in Syria.

The general assembly asked the secretary-general to establish this mechanism in 20 days.


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