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Urban warfare: in line with Guterres, Italy calls for investigation of alleged war crimes

NEW YORK, JANUARY 25 – Today the Secretary-General addressed Security Council during an open debate on “War in Cities: Protection of Civilians in Urban Settings”. Antonio Guterres told Council members that the use of explosive weapons in urban areas is a choice that carries a high risk of indiscriminate impact. He noted the effects of urban war in countries like Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria, where civilian infrastructure like hospitals and schools have been damaged, disrupting the lives of millions of people, and also called on countries to demonstrate the political will to investigate and prosecute alleged war crimes to the maximum extent, whenever they occur: “Accountability for serious violations is essential. Member States must demonstrate the political will to investigate and prosecute alleged war crimes to the maximum extent, whenever they occur”, he said.  

This debate comes at a particularly challenging time for the protection of civilians, as several conflicts in urban settings are currently raging throughout the world, stressed the Italian Permanent Representative, Maurizio Massari,  adding that the Covid-19 pandemic is exacerbating this situation, as many of the affected civilians are also more exposed to the effects of the virus.

“Urban warfare is a challenge against the basic principles of International Humanitarian Law with devastating consequences on civilian population and infrastructures, as well as on cultural heritage”, said Massari, adding that war in urban settings has also triggered the creation of new warfare tactics, causing even more disruption and casualties among the civilian population. During the debate the Italian Ambassador affirmed that it is key to ensure the full respect of Geneva Conventions and Protocols, implementation of the United Nations Resolution 2573, accountability through all means, including the International Criminal Court, while safeguarding hospitals, schools and humanitarian workers.

To read Ambassador Massari speech in full, please click here. (@OnuItalia)


Il giornale Italiano delle Nazioni Unite. Ha due redazioni, una a New York, l’altra a Roma.

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