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Russia, China Block U.N. Move To Investigate War Crimes In Syria

A U.N. Security Council resolution that calls for the International Criminal Court to investigate war crimes in Syria has failed, after Russia and China voted against the measure Thursday.

The resolution seeking accountability for wartime atrocities was introduced by France and had the backing of the U.S.

For our Newscast unit, NPR's Michele Kelemen reports:

"Although more than 60 countries supported the resolution, Russia dismissed the vote as a publicity stunt , once again shielding Syrian leader Bashar al Assad's regime.

"U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson says for three years now, the council has been unable to end this 'extraordinarily brutal war.'

" 'If members of the Council continue to be unable to agree on a measure that could provide some accountability for the ongoing crimes, the credibility of this body and of the entire organization will continue to suffer,' Eliasson says.

"More than 160,000 people have been killed in Syria. U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power says that because of the Russian veto, the Syrian people will continue to see crime, not punishment."

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.