A leading human rights group is accusing the United States of undermining efforts to bring the regime of Syria's President Bashar Assad before the International Criminal Court.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch says also Russia and China have consistently shielded Syria from concrete action at the United Nations such as arms embargoes.

The group says the international community in general is being too timid and failing to meet its responsibility to protect civilians in Syria.

In its annual report released Tuesday in Berlin the group contrasts the handling of the three-year conflict in Syria with the swift reaction of the international community in Central African Republic, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.