What the international community can do now for Syria


RN Chairman Mallat in an interview with lawyer Sushila Rao for Harvard Law and Policy Review explained how, under international law, short-term actions to support the Syrian opposition could include heightened recognition of the SNC, troop buildup to provide credible establishment of no-fly and no-drive zones, and the creation of ‘safe zones’ for civilians, in parallel with strategic use of international law to request ICC Prosecutor opening an investigation on crimes against humanity under Article 15 of the Rome Statute.



Eschewing impunity: What the International Community Can Do for the Embattled Syrians

Sushila Rao, October 14, 2011

Exemplifying “international politics at its worst,” Russia and China recently vetoed a draft UNSC resolution, supported by the US and the EU, to condemn Bashar Assad’s regime. The regime is believed to have committed crimes against humanity that resulted in the deaths of at least 2,700 pro-reform protesters. As US Ambassador Rice pointed out, the watered-down draft had already eliminated explicit references to “sanctions.” In their place was rather nebulous language to the effect that the UNSC would “consider its options” in 30 days  if Assad failed to stop the violence, and would seek a peaceful settlement of the crisis.

Those who share the US/EU outrage need not despair just yet. Even in the face of intractable veto-wielding Assad supporters in the UNSC, international law provides other tools that can be flexibly harnessed to protect Syrians from their own fratricidal government, and can prevent us from finding ourselves on the wrong side of history. (Continue Reading)


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