UN panel: Syria subjecting civilians to mass punishment

March 12, 2012 18:01

GENEVA - Syria's government has subjected civilians to "collective punishment" and its forces stand accused of carrying out executions and mass arrests in the devastated Homs district of Baba Amr, United Nations investigators said on Monday.

Paulo Pinheiro, addressing the UN Human Rights Council on behalf of an independent panel, said that those who committed such crimes must face justice. He did not name any suspects.

A month of "unrelenting shelling" by Syrian forces had brought death and destruction to Baba Amr, Pinheiro, the panel's chairman, said. "Those who fled the area reported summary executions and mass arbitrary arrest campaigns," he said.

"What is clear is that civilians continue to bear the brunt of violent strife... Force used by the government against armed groups often led to collective punishment of civilians," Pinheiro said in a speech to the 47-member Geneva forum.

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