Following an inquiry into human rights violations during the bloody Syrian civil war, the U.N. has for the first time implicated Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
In a press conference U.N. Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay said there was "massive evidence... [of] very serious crimes, war crimes, crimes against humanity." (Via GlobalPost)
“The evidence indicates responsibility at the highest level of government including the head of state.” (Via BBC)
Pillay didn’t go so far as to name Assad — as the suspects in the investigation are currently confidential. Though that term "head of state" is pretty revealing. The names could go public pending prosecution by the International Criminal Court. (Via Wikimedia Commons / Antonio Cruz)
However, the odds of that happening might be unlikely as Syrian allies China and Russia have the power to veto that prosecution.
For its part, the Syrian government has denied the claims. The country’s deputy foreign minister responded to the accusation saying Pillay “has been talking nonsense for a long time and we don't listen to her." (Via The Guardian)
According to the U.N. more than 100,000 people have died since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011. (Via CNN)
Though the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights puts that number at nearly 126,000 — with civilians making up more than one-third.
Pillay also implicated rebel forces in violations of human rights, though pointed to the Syrian government as holding the bulk of the responsibility. (Via CBC)