The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has called for the international prosecution of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad for the commission of war crimes.
Pillay reiterated her call to refer the Syrian president to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes committed by his forces in Syria, where the United Nations says they were responsible for the deaths of at least 70,000 people.
In an interview given over the weekend, the UN official conceded that the international community is hesitating about the intervention in Syria because the crisis there "could turn into a long and protracted war."
Pillay asserted that there is ample evidence to conclude that "war crimes are being committed by President al-Assad forces, his security agencies and other groups associated with him."
She confirmed that "he (al-Assad) is responsible for these crimes, and the Security Council should resort to the International Criminal Court."
At present, the UN Security Council remains divided on the Syrian issue. Russia has on several occasions used or threatened to exercise its veto to prevent any western attempt to exert pressure on President al-Assad's regime.