China and Russia on Thursday vetoed a draft UN Security Council resolution to refer civil war in Syria to the International Criminal Court.
Whereas 13 Security Council member countries voted for the move, the delegations of Russia and China used their veto right.
The resolution has not been adopted as two permanent Council members voted against it, UN Security Council President for May, Permanent Representative of South Korea Oh Joon announced.
Syria has not ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, so any investigations regarding Syria should be sanctioned by the Security Council.
Russia will veto a resolution to refer the conflict in Syria to the International Criminal Court, says Russian Permanent Representative to the UN, Vitaly Churkin. “Yes, we’ll do this. I’ll explain the reasons tomorrow,” Churkin told journalists on Wednesday. “The adoption of such a resolution may have negative implications for common efforts toward settling the crisis in Syria,” he said.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov had told Interfax earlier that a UN Security Council draft resolution on referring findings on crimes committed in Syria to the ICC was unacceptable.
The vote has been tentatively set for May 22. The initial draft resolution was proposed by France. “The draft urges the referral of files to the ICC. We have said all along that we oppose such an approach in the Security Council, because we see this as counterproductive in the current situation. The draft’s idea is to get the UN Security Council to pass a resolution connected with Chapter 7 of the UN Charter as the groundwork for using force against Damascus,” Gatilov said. This document is “knowingly politicized,” he said, Interfax reports.
Russia will veto a draft UN resolution to refer the civil war in Syria to the International Criminal Court if it comes to a vote in the Security Council, Interfax news agency quoted a Russian official as saying on Tuesday. “The draft resolution that is currently submitted to the Security Council is unacceptable to us and we will not support it. If it is put to a vote, we will veto it,” said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov on Tuesday.
The United Nations Security Council was set to vote on a French-drafted resolution referring the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court on Thursday.
Russia was already widely expected to veto the measure, along with China, as it has vetoed three previous Western resolutions since the start of the Syrian crisis three years ago.
Gatilov said that Russia opposes Syria going before the International Criminal Court, “since we consider that this is counterproductive in the current situation.”
The Russian deputy foreign minister further termed the drafting as “intentionally politicized,” adding that the ulterior motive behind the move is to gain permission for using force in Syria.
“The main plan is to get a Security Council resolution passed on Chapter 7 of the UN Charter as a basis for future use of force in Damascus,” Gatilov said.
Syria is not a party to the statute that established the ICC, so the only way it can be referred to the tribunal at The Hague is by the UN security council.
Russia and the United States initiated a peace process that led to talks between the government and its opponents, but it has faltered and Moscow’s confrontation with the West over Ukraine has further reduced the chances for success.
Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since 2011. Some sources put the death toll from the foreign-backed militancy in Syria at around 150,000.