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UN Human Rights Council mechanisms shouldn’t be used to investigate Houla massacre

June 01, 2012, 21:47 UTC+3

Russia strongly condemns the Houla crime but opposes the use of mechanisms of the UN Human Rights Council in its investigation

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GENEVA, June 1 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia strongly condemns the Houla crime but opposes the use of mechanisms of the UN Human Rights Council in its investigation, Russian Permanent Representative to the Geneva headquarters of the UN and other international organizations Alexei Borodavkin told Itar-Tass on Friday.

He thus explained why Russia voted down the resolution dedicated to the Houla events, where more than 100 civilians were slain on May 25.

This vote “does not mean the absence of our condemnation,” Borodavkin said. “The draft was not balanced; it was partial and contained a number of one-sided evaluations. It lacked many significant elements, which should have been included in such document, such as condemnation of terrorism. It did not even mention the important work the UN observers were doing in Syria. The resolution went beyond the mandate of the UN Human Rights Council and actually anticipated results of the Houla investigation. Therefore it disagreed with the UN Security Council press release of May 27,” he said.

The Russian amendments to the resolution were not supported, and the resolution “contained plenty of wordings, which disavowed the very idea of independent investigation by putting the blame on one side straightforwardly,” he said.

“We do not need to broaden the mandate of the independent investigative commission, because the UN Observation Mission in Syria is already holding the investigation by the order of the Un Security Council. There should be no duplication of this work and consequent calling into question of the mission’s competence,” he said.

The diplomat expressed concern that the resolution “might display an imbalanced attitude of the Council to the Syrian situation, build up confrontation in that country and destabilize the region.”

“The only way out of the Syrian crisis, including its human rights component, is demilitarization of the conflict through pressure on the sides for the termination of violence and unwavering support to the Kofi Annan plan. Russia will stick to this position and calls on other states to do the same,” Borodavkin stressed.

The resolution was drafted by Qatar, Kuwait, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United States and the European Union and supported by the majority of members of the UN Human Rights Council. The investigative commission formed in August 2011 to monitor possible violations of human rights in Syria was entrusted to make a report on the Houla incident already by the 20th session of the Council due on June 18-July 6.

Forty-one out of 47 delegations supported the resolution, three (Russia, China and Cuba) were against and two abstained (Ecuador and Uganda).

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