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On December 21, 2016, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution establishing a mechanism to assist in the investigation of serious crimes committed in Syria since 2011.

Secretary-General Ban (shown on screens) addresses the General Assembly on December 12, 2016. © 2016 United Nations

"The General Assembly today demonstrated that it can take the reins on questions of justice in the face of Security Council deadlock. The countries that voted for this unprecedented Syria resolution took a critically important stand for victims of massive grave crimes. By establishing the investigative mechanism, the General Assembly is helping pave the road to accountability after years of unchecked atrocities. Simply condemning the murder and mayhem inflicted on civilians is not enough. Perpetrators now know that evidence of their misdeeds will be collected to hasten the day when they find themselves in the dock."  

Balkees Jarrah, Senior International Justice Counsel at Human Rights Watch

The resolution received 105 yes votes from the General Assembly, with 52 abstentions. Here is the list of the 15 countries that voted against the resolution:

(1) Algeria

(2) Belarus

(3) Bolivia

(4) Burundi

(5) China

(6) Cuba

(7) DPRK

(8) Iran

(9) Kyrgyzstan

(10) Nicaragua

(11) Russia

(12) South Sudan

(13) Syria

(14) Venezuela

(15) Zimbabwe

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