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Amnesty International: UN Should Take Syria To International Criminal Court


An image grab taken from YouTube footage shows hundreds of thousands of Syrian antigovernment protesters flooding the streets of the central city of Hama on July 1.

An image grab taken from YouTube footage shows hundreds of thousands of Syrian antigovernment protesters flooding the streets of the central city of Hama on July 1.

Rights watchdog Amnesty International has issued a report saying Syrian forces could be charged with crimes against humanity and called on the United Nations to take the case to the International Criminal Court.

The report by the world's largest human rights organization comes as French Foreign Ministry spokesman Romain Nadal on July 6 called for UN intervention in Syria, saying the world should not stand by "inactive and powerless" in the face of "ferocious armed repression."

Amnesty's report was based on witness testimony from refugees who have taken refuge in neighboring countries.

It details "devastating" violence unleashed by Syrian forces on the residents of Tel Kalakh in mid-May, describing brutal instances of torture and arbitrary arrests meant to quell protest activity there.

The town was one of many invaded by troops on the orders of President Bashar al-Assad as part of an attempt to maintain control in the face of rising protests against his rule.

Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director Philip Luther today said the Tel Kelakh incident painted "a deeply disturbing picture of systematic, targeted abuses to crush dissent."

Also today, rights activists in the besieged Syrian city of Hama told the French news agency AFP that 22 people were killed by security forces on July 5.

The city has seen some of the largest protests since the unrest began in March.

Syrian activist say at least 1,400 people have so far been killed in the violence.

compiled from agency reports

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