GENEVA -- The U.N.'s top human rights body has criticized Syria's crackdown on opposition protesters and appointed a special investigator to probe abuses in the country.

The 47-member U.N. Human Rights Council voted 37 in favor Friday of a resolution backed by the Arab League, the United States and European countries.

Russia, China and four other members voted against, with six abstentions.

The final draft removed direct references to the powerful U.N. Security Council.

U.N. rights chief Navi Pillay had called earlier Friday for the Security Council to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court over alleged crimes against humanity committed by government forces.

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The U.N. says more than 4,000 people have been killed since the start of the eight-month uprising.