Syrian security forces have executed more than 100 civilians and opposition fighters during recent attacks, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported [text, PDF] Monday. Accompanying the report, emergencies researcher at HRW stated [press release] that in an attempt to stop uprisings, pro-government and government officials have gone too far without any apparent concern about accountability for their crimes. International human rights laws prohibits this type of summary or extrajudicial executions, and unless these executions pertain to actively participating combatants, they would be considered war crimes. HRW has previously documented abuses by opposition fighters [JURIST report], but notes that these do not justify the violations committed by the government. They called on the UN Security Council (UNSC) [official website] to refer the matter to the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website].
Last Friday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon [official website] condemned [JURIST report] the recent attacks by pro-government troops against innocent civilians. In March, HRW reported that Syrian government officials were rounding up civilians [JURIST report] and forcing them to walk in front of the army in order to shield the army from opposition forces. Also in March, the UN Human Rights Council [official website] voted to pass [JURIST report] a non-binding resolution condemning Syrian authorities for continued bloodshed and violations of human rights. This official condemnation from the rights body came on the heels of a demand for a cease-fire [JURIST report] by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] in late February. Also in February, the UN-appointed International Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria accused the government of violating international human rights law [JURIST report] after finding that Syrian forces are engaging in torture and killings under orders from high level government officials. The increasing unrest in Syria has garnered international attention and has sparked controversy in America about what its role should be [JURIST op-ed].