The United Nations General Assembly has adopted a $3.07bn operating budget for 2020, which for the first time also includes funding for an investigation into war crimes in Syria.
In a statement released late on Friday, the UN said that the budget would fund the investigation of crimes committed in Syria since the outbreak of the civil war in 2011, alleged war crimes in Myanmar since a crackdown on the Rohingya Muslim minority began in 2017, an observer mission in Yemen, and a political mission in Haiti.
It added that the Syria and Myanmar investigations – which were previously financed by voluntary contributions – would receive compulsory contributions from 193 member states.
Russia – a key backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – proposed multiple amendments during negotiations in the Committee on Budgetary Questions meeting and in the General Assembly plenary session.
At each vote, Russia, Syria, Myanmar and their supporters, including North Korea, Iran, Nicaragua and Venezuela, were outvoted. They all stated that they dissociated themselves from references to investigative mechanisms in the adopted resolutions.
Russia said it would examine its future obligatory payments in light of the vote outcome. Moscow argued that the investigative mechanism was illegitimate, while Damascus stressed that it had no mandate from the Security Council.