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SYRIA

Del Ponte urges probe into Syrian war crimes

The International Criminal Court should be called in to probe war crimes in Syria, former UN prosecutor Carla del Ponte said in Geneva on Monday.

Del Ponte urges probe into Syrian war crimes
Photo: Devra Berkowiz/UN

"The international community — and the UN Security Council — must take the decision to refer this to justice," del Ponte, member of a UN-mandated commission of inquiry on the Syria conflict, told reporters.
   
"We suggest the International Criminal Court. We can't decide, but we are pressuring the international community to act, because it's time to act," she said after releasing a report by the commission on the situation in Syria after almost two years of conflict.

The commission is due next month to submit a confidential list of individuals and units allegedly involved in war crimes to the UN's Human Rights Council, but is not planning to make the list public.

Del Ponte gained renown for her tough stance as the UN's top prosecutor investigating war crimes in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.

"I'm not the prosecutor dealing with this case, unfortunately," she said, adding: "Justice is a contribution for peace and reconciliation."

Del Ponte, a former Swiss attorney-general, was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to the commission investigating Syrian war crimes in September 2012.

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SYRIA

Swiss woman stands trial for attempting to join Islamic State

A 31-year-old woman from Winterthur who tried to travel to Syria to join Islamic State (IS) is standing trial under Swiss anti-terror laws.

Swiss woman stands trial for attempting to join Islamic State
The federal criminal court in Bellinzona. Photo: Swiss Confederation/OFCL

The alleged ‘jihadi tourist' appeared before Switzerland's federal criminal court in Bellinzona on Friday, the Swiss news agency SDA reported. 

In December 2015, the woman, accompanied by her four-year-old child, attempted to travel to Syria via Greece and Turkey in order to join IS, the authorities allege. 

Her intended destination was Raqqa, which was at the time an IS stronghold in Syria.

The woman was prevented from continuing her journey by the Greek authorities and was arrested at Zurich airport on her return to Switzerland in January 2016. 

The Swiss attorney general's office filed an indictment against the Swiss national for offences under the federal law that bans terror groups including Isis. 

According to the indictment, the woman radicalized herself through internet propaganda after converting to Islam in 2009.

It says the Swiss national believed it was the duty of all Muslims to support IS.

She said she rejected western values.

This is only the second case concerning a so-called ‘jihadi tourist' to go before Switzerland's federal criminal court. 

The first prosecution of its kind took place in 2016, when a 26-year-old man was found guilty of attempting to travel to join Isis and given an 18-month suspended jail sentence.

Islamic State has been banned in Switzerland since 2014.