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UN Rights Body Blasts Syria, Names Investigator

A YouTube video grab from September showed what antiregime activists said are pro-government militia members dressed as soldiers kicking the corpse of a man in the city of Homs, Syria.
The UN's top human rights body has appointed a special investigator to probe abuses in Syria and criticized that country's crackdown on opposition protesters.

At an emergency session in Geneva, the 47-member UN Human Rights Council voted 37 in favor of the resolution, which was backed by the Arab League, the United States, and European countries.

The final draft removed direct references to the UN Security Council.

Russia, China, and four other members voted against, with six abstentions.

The emergency session was called after independent investigators found evidence security forces murdered and tortured civilians following orders from top officials in President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Navi Pillay, United Nations' High Commissioner for Human Rights, had called earlier in the day for the Security Council to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC) over alleged crimes against humanity committed by government forces.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Syria was now isolated more than ever.

The Russian Foreign Ministry responded with criticism of the Human Rights Council's findings on Syria to be "unacceptable" and warned against using them as a pretext for military action.

The UN says more than 4,000 people -- including 307 children -- have been killed since the start of the eight-month uprising.

compiled from agency reports