A group of international law experts have issued a joint statement warning that a US military strike on Syria would be illegal, if not in self-defense or with UN Security Council authorization. The statement was signed by lawyers, law professors and a former Attorney-General of the US and says that military strikes against Syria “are illegal and constitute acts of aggression.” It continues, “An act of violence committed by one government against another government, without lawful justification, amounts to the crime of aggression: the supreme international crime which carries with it the evil of every other international crime.”
The group state that military force is only justified in self-defense or with the approval of the United Nations Security Council but, “At present, neither instance would apply to a US strike against Syria.”
Not that the US cares much about its domestic law let alone international law when it comes to war, but it's still worth noting that a new strike on #Syria would be illegal under both.https://t.co/7JjDOFkMEq— Eric Schuler (@ericschuler) 12 April 2018
'A Road That Leads to Hell'
It continues, “We understand the urge to act to protect innocent civilians. We strongly condemn any and all violence against civilians, whoever the perpetrators. But responding to unlawful violence with more unlawful violence, bypassing existing legal mechanisms, is a road to a lawless world. It is a road that leads to Hell.”
The statement urges the US and its allies to resist the call for military strikes against Syria, adding, “We must point out that for the last several years, as is now common knowledge, the United States has armed rebels/insurgents to overthrow the current government of Syria. This is illegal under international law… Perhaps the Syrian crisis would look differently today if the United States and its allies had consistently respected law for the last several years. They have not.”
Demanding that the US respect and “comport themselves with their international legal obligations” the group acknowledge that this, “is not a justification, excuse, or some type of free pass on the investigation and accountability for international legal violations committed by other actors who may be involved in this sad affair.”
Iraq,Lybia, Afghanistan Yemen and especially Syrian attacks were all illegal— Le Critique (@JP_IH) 12 April 2018
'The Monster It Seeks to Destroy'
Continuing, the group’s statement reiterates that, “the only way to resolve the Syrian crisis is through commitment to well-settled principles of international legal norms.” It exhorts the US government to, “abide by its commitment to the rule of international law and to seek to resolve its disputes through peaceful means.”
Presenting the alternative routes of the UN Security Council and the International Court of Justice the statement concludes, “Unilateral action is a sign of weakness; recourse to the law is a sign of strength. The United States must walk back from becoming the very monster it now seeks to destroy.”
Don't let us do again what we condemn in others — or we're doing the groundwork for Armageddon:https://t.co/sNiwZNTcwn
— Winble (@Katebuffery01) 12 April 2018
The group's statement was in response to calls for Western military strikes in the aftermath of an alleged chemical incident which took place in Douma, in South-West Syria. US authorities immediately blamed the Syrian government and have threatened to attack Syria in retribution. Moscow have suggested the attack was a false flag provocation and called for a full investigation. Experts from the Russian MOD are investigating the incident and have found no trace of chemical weapons.