Strasbourg, 09.05.2012 – “The so-called ‘elections’ in Syria, organised by the Assad regime against the backdrop of continuing violence and numerous violations of Kofi Annan’s peace plan, merely add yet another obstacle to the search for a peaceful political outcome to a conflict that has already led to more than 11,000 deaths, hundreds of thousands of displaced persons and tens of thousands of refugees,” said today Pietro Marcenaro (Italy, SOC), Rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on the situation in Syria and Chair of the Assembly’s Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy.
“A government which has been slaughtering its own people for so long cannot claim any legitimacy to organise elections. Such a farce runs counter to Annan’s peace plan which calls for an ‘inclusive Syrian-led political process to address the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people’”, Mr Marcenaro added.
Recalling the Assembly’s Resolution 1878, adopted on 26 April this year, Mr Marcenaro said that it would only be after there has been a total cessation of violence and the right to demonstrate peacefully has been guaranteed that conditions could gradually be created to allow for an open political transition and, in due course, free and fair elections, in which the Syrian people would choose their own future. To facilitate the cessation of violence, PACE asked for an urgent embargo on the import of all weapons and supporting material to Syria, Mr Marcenaro recalled.
In its Resolution, PACE firmly condemned the widespread, systematic and gross human rights violations amounting to crimes against humanity committed by the Syrian military and security forces. It also condemned the human rights violations committed by some of the armed groups combating the regime. PACE insisted that there can be no impunity for those who commit crimes against humanity, whoever they are, and said that perpetrators should be brought to justice, including, as appropriate, before the International Criminal Court.