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Russia against referring Syria war crimes case to ICC

Free Syrian Army fighter inspects damages in Harem town, Idlib Governorate, January 14, 2013. Picture taken January 14, 2013.

By Al Arabiya with Agencies / 16 Jan 2013

Russia on Tuesday said it would be “counterproductive” to refer war crimes committed in the Syria conflict to the International Criminal Court (ICC) as proposed by dozens of states led by Switzerland.

“We view this initiative as untimely and counterproductive to solving today’s main goal -- an immediate end to the bloodshed in Syria,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

On Monday, more than 50 countries asked the U.N. Security Council to refer the Syria crisis to the ICC, which prosecutes people for genocide and war crimes, in order to send a signal to Syrian authorities.

At least 26 children were killed in violence in Syria on Monday, a watchdog said, fuelling international calls for a war crimes probe into the 22-month conflict.
Explosions at Aleppo university

In a related story, at least 15 people were killed and dozens wounded in two explosions that rocked the University of Aleppo in Syria’s second largest city on Tuesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

State television said there had been one explosion at the university, which lies in the government-controlled area, describing it as a “terrorist attack.”

Rebels have used car bombs and suicide attacks in fighting government forces and attacking government-controlled areas.

Fighting between rebels and government forces has reached a stalemate in Aleppo and left the city divided. Rebels say they control more than half the province.

State television footage showed at least one body lying on the street and several cars burning.

The second explosion reported by the Observatory, a British-based opposition monitoring group, may have been caused by a burning car, but there was no independent confirmation.

One of the university buildings was damaged. The state news agency said the explosion occurred on the first day of exams.


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