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Gordon Brown calls for war crimes probe of Syria school strike


United Nations, United States | AFP | 

Former British prime minister Gordon Brown on Thursday called for a war crimes investigation of the deadly strike on a school in Syria that killed 22 children.

“This is the worst assault on school children among 98 separate attacks on Syrian schools in the last two years,” Brown, the United Nations envoy for global education, told a news conference.

“I am calling on the Security Council to immediately agree that the International Criminal Court prosecutor conduct an investigation into what I believe is a war crime,” he said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said “warplanes — either Russia or Syrian — carried out six strikes” on Wednesday in a village in rebel-held Idlib province, including on a school complex.

UNICEF director Anthony Lake said the school compound in the village of Hass was “repeatedly attacked,” leaving 22 children dead and six teachers.

Russia said it had nothing to do with the air strikes and demanded an immediate investigation.

Brown said that now that Russia was calling for a probe, it should support a move by the Security Council to ask the ICC to investigate the attack as a war crime.

Russia, Syria’s ally in the war against opposition rebels and jihadists, has used its veto in 2014 to block a resolution demanding that the ICC investigate war crimes in Syria.



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