Russia and China exercised their veto power Thursday on a U.N. Security Council resolution that would have allowed the International Criminal Court to prosecute war crimes in Syria.
The resolution, which was sponsored by France, received 13 yes votes (out of 15 council members). Human rights groups supported the proposed resolution, claiming reports of extrajudicial killings and torture on both sides of the conflict have increased since the start of the war in 2011.
Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson urged the council to approve the resolution.
"The Security Council has an inescapable responsibility in this regard to insure justice for victims of unspeakable crimes," he said.
The Security Council has failed to pass several resolutions on the Syrian conflict because of the political deadlock between the permanent members. Russia and China have both used their veto power four times, blocking any coercive action by the council in the Syrian conflict. According to U.N. estimates, the conflict has killed more than 150,000 people.