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Russia, China veto UN move to refer Syria to ICC

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Russia and China have vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution referring the Syrian crisis to the International Criminal Court for investigation of possible war crimes.

This is the fourth time the countries have used their veto power as permanent council members to deflect action against the government of President Bashar Assad.

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Dozens of countries signed on to support the French-drafted resolution in a dramatic move to demand a path to justice in the conflict, which has entered its fourth year.

The resolution would have referred Syria’s crisis to the world’s permanent war crimes tribunal without targeting either the government or the opposition.

Before the vote, U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson pleaded with council members to find unity and ‘‘put an end to this long nightmare.’’

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