An unknown Western country is funding [LAT report] an investigation into Syria's recent human rights abuses, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday. A diplomat acknowledged that an anonymous Western nation is working to collect enough testimony to potentially try President Bashar al-Assad [Al Jazeera profile] for war crimes in the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website]. The anonymous official also stated his nation is not pressuring the UN Security Council [official website] to act against Syria, although they recently condemned and urged the Syrian government to address the requests of its people [JURIST report] through a political process that guarantees fundamental freedoms. Syrian and international human rights groups have demanded [JURIST report] that the ICC investigate the hundreds of civilian deaths during protests against al-Assad. The ICC has yet to comment on the situation in Syria. Syria is not a party to the Rome Statute of the ICC, has not accepted the court's jurisdiction and has not yet been referred to the court by the Security Council.
There has been a major struggle to put an end to Syrian violence [JURIST report] since the protests began earlier this year. Last week, a group of UN human rights experts condemned the Syrian government [JURIST report] and called for a cessation of the continued use of lethal violence to suppress peaceful protests. The UN expressed concern [press release; JURIST report] over violence in Syria several times before that and urged the Syrian government to stop using force against protesters. UN HIgh Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has called for Syria to immediately halt the killings [JURIST report] and violence against civilian protesters in response to the fatal shootings of peaceful anti-government protesters. In April, al-Assad ended [JURIST report] the country's 48-year-old state of emergency, but protests have continued.