The AP reports that the British Government has ordered an investigation into the death of war correspondent Marie Colvin to build a war crimes case against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (6th paragraph down).
I rang the Foreign Office to confirm the story (emails to the AP went unanswered). An FCO spokesperson issued the statement below:
“We are deeply concerned at suggestions that the media centre was deliberately targeted by the regime. We don’t have any evidence at present but it is entirely possible given the intentional shelling of civilians areas and continued attempts to prevent the truth coming out of Syria.
We have been in constant contact with Mr Conroy [Sunday Times photographer injured in the attack that killed Colvin] since his return to the UK to discuss the circumstances surrounding the attack. The UK’s expert human rights team – which includes lawyers and forensic investigators – is currently on the ground gathering evidence of atrocities in Syria and will meet Mr Conroy immediately on its return to document exactly what happened and collect any evidence he has. We will use this to help ensure there is a day of reckoning for anyone guilty of any crimes as we urgently take forward with partners international work to hold the regime to account for their actions”.
I initially rang the Ministry of Defence press office; they found the story strange. Given that Colvin was not a British citizen by birth [she's a native of Oyster Bay, New York], they didn’t think it was accurate. While I haven’t verified this, the impression I got was this was not normal procedure; surely it would be the American government who would open an investigation into her death? Strange.