U.N. Official: Syria Death Toll Nears 70,000 - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

U.N. Official: Syria Death Toll Nears 70,000

Posted: Updated:

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The death toll in Syria is likely approaching 70,000 with civilians paying the price for the U.N. Security Council's lack of action to end the nearly 2-year-old conflict, the U.N. human rights chief said on Tuesday.

Navi Pillay, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, repeated her call for Syria to be referred by the 15-member council to the International Criminal Court to send a message to both parties in the conflict that there would be consequences for their actions.

Pillay told a council debate on protection of civilians in armed conflict that the death toll in Syria was "probably now approaching 70,000."

On January 2 Pillay said more than 60,000 people had been killed during the revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which began with peaceful protests but turned violent after Assad's forces tried to crush the demonstrations.

"The lack of consensus on Syria and the resulting inaction has been disastrous and civilians on all sides have paid the price," she said. "We will be judged against the tragedy that has unfolded before our eyes."

World powers are divided on how to stop the escalating violence in Syria and the Security Council is unlikely to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which is not an official U.N. body.

Permanent Security Council members Russia and China have acted as Syria's protector on the council by repeatedly blocking Western efforts to take stronger U.N. action - such as sanctions - against the Syrian government to try to end the war.

Both sides to the Syria conflict have been accused of committing atrocities but the United Nations says the government and its allies have been more culpable.

"Syria is self-destructing," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Council on Foreign Relations on Monday evening. "After nearly two years, we no longer count days in hours, but in bodies. Another day, another 100, 200, 300 dead."

"Fighting rages. Sectarian hatred is on the rise. The catalogue of war crimes is mounting," he said. "The Security Council must no longer stand on the sidelines, dead-locked, silently witnessing the slaughter."

More than 50 countries asked the U.N. Security Council last month to refer the Syria crisis to the International Criminal Court, which prosecutes genocide and war crimes cases.

Syria is not a party to the Rome Statute, which set up the International Criminal Court, so the only way the court can investigate the situation is if it receives a referral from the Security Council. The council has previously referred conflicts in Libya and Darfur, Sudan to the court.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Prosecutor: No criminal liability in officer involved shooting

    Prosecutor: No criminal liability in officer involved shooting

    Friday, August 1 2014 1:02 PM EDT2014-08-01 17:02:00 GMT
    UPDATE:The Spokane County Prosecutors Office has reviewed the case of the Officer Involved Shooting (OIS) incident on February 11, 2014 involving Spokane County deputies and Jed Zillmer. The incident occurred in the intersection of Indiana and Sullivan in Spokane Valley.
    >>
    UPDATE:The Spokane County Prosecutors Office has reviewed the case of the Officer Involved Shooting (OIS) incident on February 11, 2014 involving Spokane County deputies and Jed Zillmer. The incident occurred in the intersection of Indiana and Sullivan in Spokane Valley.
    >>
  • Otter attacks swimmers in Washington river

    Otter attacks swimmers in Washington river

    Friday, August 1 2014 11:53 AM EDT2014-08-01 15:53:58 GMT
    MACHIAS, Wash. (AP) - A river otter attacked an 8-year-old boy and his grandmother as they were swimming in the Pilchuck River at a park in the Snohomish County town of Machias. The boy's mother, Tabitha Moser, told KING that she saw the 4-foot otter attack her son Thursday morning at Lake Connor Park. She says her mother saved him.>>
    MACHIAS, Wash. (AP) - A river otter attacked an 8-year-old boy and his grandmother as they were swimming in the Pilchuck River at a park in the Snohomish County town of Machias. The boy's mother, Tabitha Moser, told KING that she saw the 4-foot otter attack her son Thursday morning at Lake Connor Park. She says her mother saved him.
    >>
  • FIRST ON KHQ.COM: hikers find body in Spokane Valley; homicide investigation begins

    FIRST ON KHQ.COM: hikers find body in Spokane Valley; homicide investigation begins

    Friday, August 1 2014 1:50 PM EDT2014-08-01 17:50:42 GMT
    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash.- On Thursday night major crimes detectives with the Spokane County Sheriff's Office began investigating the discovery of a body in Spokane Valley.The body was found earlier in the evening by a couple walking in a wooded area near Parkside At Mirabeau Apartments.>>
    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash.- On Thursday night major crimes detectives with the Spokane County Sheriff's Office began investigating the discovery of a body in Spokane Valley.The body was found earlier in the evening by a couple walking in a wooded area near Parkside At Mirabeau Apartments.>>
  • National NewsMore>>

  • Hamas agrees to 24-hour holiday truce in Gaza war

    Hamas agrees to 24-hour holiday truce in Gaza war

    Sunday, July 27 2014 10:36 AM EDT2014-07-27 14:36:04 GMT
    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - Hamas says it has agreed to a 24-hour humanitarian truce in the Gaza war ahead of a major Muslim holiday. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the truce would go into effect at 2 p.m. Sunday. The three-day Eid al-Fitr holiday, which caps the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, is expected to begin Monday or Tuesday, depending on the sighting of the new moon.>>
    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - Hamas says it has agreed to a 24-hour humanitarian truce in the Gaza war ahead of a major Muslim holiday. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the truce would go into effect at 2 p.m. Sunday. The three-day Eid al-Fitr holiday, which caps the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, is expected to begin Monday or Tuesday, depending on the sighting of the new moon.>>
  • Dutch: 1st victim identified from Flight 17

    Dutch: 1st victim identified from Flight 17

    Saturday, July 26 2014 5:55 PM EDT2014-07-26 21:55:02 GMT
    THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) - The Dutch government says the first victim has been identified from the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 disaster.The name and sex of the victim, a Dutch national, weren't released. The government said Saturday the next of kin and mayor of the victim's hometown have been informed.>>
    THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) - The Dutch government says the first victim has been identified from the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 disaster.The name and sex of the victim, a Dutch national, weren't released. The government said Saturday the next of kin and mayor of the victim's hometown have been informed.>>
  • 3 rockets hit Israel as Hamas rejects Gaza truce

    3 rockets hit Israel as Hamas rejects Gaza truce

    Saturday, July 26 2014 5:19 PM EDT2014-07-26 21:19:11 GMT
    JERUSALEM (AP) - The Israeli military says three rockets have been fired from Gaza at Israel despite a proposed extension of a humanitarian truce in the Gaza war.Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the group rejected Israel's proposal to extend an original 12-hour lull by four hours, until midnight Saturday.>>
    JERUSALEM (AP) - The Israeli military says three rockets have been fired from Gaza at Israel despite a proposed extension of a humanitarian truce in the Gaza war.Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the group rejected Israel's proposal to extend an original 12-hour lull by four hours, until midnight Saturday.>>
  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • BREAKING: Body found at Mullan Hill Terrace mobile home park

    BREAKING: Body found at Mullan Hill Terrace mobile home park

    Friday, August 1 2014 6:32 PM EDT2014-08-01 22:32:04 GMT
    SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash.- The Spokane County Sheriff's office is investigating the discovery of a dead woman, whose body was found on the porch of a mobile home in the 8900 block of South Mullen Hill. That area is south of Spokane, just off Highway 195.>>
    SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash.- The Spokane County Sheriff's office is investigating the discovery of a dead woman, whose body was found on the porch of a mobile home in the 8900 block of South Mullen Hill. That area is south of Spokane, just off Highway 195.>>
  • 2 Ebola victims to be treated at Atlanta hospital

    2 Ebola victims to be treated at Atlanta hospital

    Friday, August 1 2014 4:44 PM EDT2014-08-01 20:44:43 GMT
    CONAKRY, Guinea (AP) - Presidents from the West African countries hit by the Ebola outbreak are meeting with world health leaders to come up with ways to stop the spread of the deadly disease. The World Health Organization said Friday it is launching a new joint $100 million response plan to the outbreak that has killed at least 729 people in four countries.>>
    CONAKRY, Guinea (AP) - Presidents from the West African countries hit by the Ebola outbreak are meeting with world health leaders to come up with ways to stop the spread of the deadly disease. The World Health Organization said Friday it is launching a new joint $100 million response plan to the outbreak that has killed at least 729 people in four countries.>>
  • Obama: GOP not even trying to solve immigration

    Obama: GOP not even trying to solve immigration

    Friday, August 1 2014 4:39 PM EDT2014-08-01 20:39:54 GMT
    WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama says House Republicans are trying to pass the most extreme and unworkable version of an immigration bill even though they know the bill isn't going anywhere.Republicans are pushing legislation that could clear the way for eventual deportation of more than 500,000 immigrants brought here illegally as kids and address the surge of immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.>>
    WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama says House Republicans are trying to pass the most extreme and unworkable version of an immigration bill even though they know the bill isn't going anywhere.Republicans are pushing legislation that could clear the way for eventual deportation of more than 500,000 immigrants brought here illegally as kids and address the surge of immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.>>