Dec. 13 - The United Nations human rights chief says the number of casualties in Syria's crackdown on protesters is now more than 5, 000. Paul Chapman reports.
PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL The U.N.'s human rights chief says more than 5, 000 people have now lost their lives in Syria's crackdown against anti-government protests. Navi Pillay says the figure includes army defectors, civilians, and those executed for refusing to shoot protesters. SOUNDBITE: Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, saying (English): "It's based on the evidence and the widespread and systematic nature of the killings, the detentions and the acts of torture that I felt that these acts constituted crimes against humanity, and I recommend that there should be a referral to the International Criminal Court." Amateur video captures the scene in the city of Homs. It's a province where opposition to President Bashar al-Assad is among the strongest. Hundreds of people are reported to have died here since the uprising began in March. Residents say government forces are targetting civilians deemed to be against the regime. But Syria's ambassador to the U.N. is dismissing the Human Rights High Commissioner's latest estimate of the death toll. SOUNDBITE: Bashar Ja'afari, Syria's ambassador to the United Nations, saying (English): "She has allowed herself to be misused in misleading the public opinion by providing information based on allegations collected from 233 defectors. How could defectors give positive testimonies on the Syrian government." The Syrian government says more than 1, 100 members of the army, police and security forces have also been killed. It's barred most independent journalists, making it hard to assess conflicting accounts of events in an increasingly bloody struggle. Paul Chapman, Reuters