Former French judge to head UN body to probe Syria crimes

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appointed a French legal expert and former judge to head the U.N. investigative body that will assist in documenting and prosecuting the most serious violations of international law in Syria, including possible war crimes and crimes against humanity.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric announced the appointment Monday of Catherine Marchi-Uhel who has been serving as the ombudsperson for the Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against the Islamic State extremist group and al-Qaida.

The 193-member General Assembly voted last December over strenuous objections from Syria and close ally Russia to establish a new body “to closely coordinate” with the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, which was established by the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council. The commission said last year that war crimes are “rampant” in Syria.

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