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On Syria, Latin Absence from ICC Call, Pillay's Benetech, Late Letters

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 18 -- After the Syria briefing and stakeout by Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, now it is announced that five Security Council member will come to issue a joint statement: France, United Kingdom, Australia, Luxembourg and the Republic of Korea.

  These five signed on to the letter urging the Council -- that is, themselves -- to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court. The US, which hasn't joined the ICC, didn't dare sign on to the letter (though the US did vote to refer Libya to the ICC in Security Council Resolution 1970.)

  Among members of the Security Council not signing on to the ICC call coordinated by Switzerland, and not listed in the UN Media Alert for the post-Pillay joint statement are Guatemala and Argentina -- the country of former ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo.

  Meanwhile, the January 18 UN Journal, on a seven and a half month delay, made public letters from Syria dated May 31, 2011. Earlier this week Syria's Permanent Representative Bashar Ja'afari complained about the UN delaying publication of its submissions to the Security Council, which have included lists of foreign fighters killed in Syria.

  Today, Inner City Press is putting online a copy of Syria's response to the US State Department funded Benetech's report on deaths in Syria, commissioned for $25,000 by Pillay's office -- click here for that, here for the most recent of Inner City Press' five stories on the topic. And watch this site.

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