UN rights council appoints international Syria inquiry panel

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The president of the UN Human Rights Council has appointed three experts who are to examine human rights violations in Syria, as mandated during an August emergency session.

"The three experts are Ms. Yakin Erturk, Mr. Sergio Pinheiro, and Karen Abu Zeid," the rights body said in a statement Monday.

Erturk, of Turkey, is a professor of sociology at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara. Pinheiro, a retired professor of political science at the University of Sao Paulo and a Brazilian diplomat will chair the commission.

Abu Zeid, of the United States and a career UN official, was previously a UN assistant secretary-general. Between 2005 and 2010 she was head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees.

On August 23, at an emergency session, the Human Rights Council ordered a probe into violations committed by the Syrian regime during its crackdown on popular protests.

Investigators have been asked to establish the facts and circumstances of violations and to identify the perpetrators so that they can be held accountable.

A source at the Human Rights Council said it would take "at least a month" before the investigators go to Syria.

Earlier on Monday, UN human rights chief Navi Pillay said that at least 2,600 people had been killed in the unrest in Syria since popular protests first broke out in mid-March, raising the toll from 2,200 in August.

© 2011 AFP

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