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The Case For Bashar Assad To Be Tried As A War Criminal

2422 words - 10 pages

Sara Wadlow
PS 434
Research Paper
May 3, 2015

The Syrian Civil War has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. Since 2011, protests and attacks have been a daily occurrence, and the regime of Bashar Al-Assad has done what it believed was necessary to stop rebel forces and end protests. As such, Assad has committed many questionable, at best, and criminal, at worst, actions against the civilians of Syria in an effort to stop the rebels. The indiscriminate warfare Assad has used against Syrian citizens is shown in multiple international doctrines as illegal, and is thus a war crime, which should be prosecuted.
The Statue of the International Criminal ...view middle of the document...

Soon a "day of rage" was set for February 4-5, but it was uneventful (BBC, Mid-East Unrest: Syrian Protests in Damascus and Aleppo 2011). On March 6, the Syrian security forces arrested about 15 children in Daraa, in southern Syria, for writing slogans against the government. Thousands of protesters gathered in Damascus, Aleppo, al-Hasakah, Daraa, Deir ez-Zor, and Hama on 15 March, with recently released politician Suhair Atassi becoming an unofficial spokesperson for the "Syrian revolution (Holliday 2011).” The next day there was reports of approximately 3,000 arrests and a few martyrs, but there are no official figures on the number of deaths. On April 18, 2011, approximately 100,000 protesters sat in the central Square of Homs calling for the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad. By late December, the battles between the government's security forces and the rebel Free Syrian Army intensified in Idlib Governorate. Cities in Idlib and neighborhoods in Homs and Hama began falling into the control of the opposition, during this time, military operations in Homs and Hama stopped.
On January 29, the fourth regiment of the Syrian Army led by the president's brother Maher al-Assad and the Syrian Army dug in at Damascus, and the fighting continued where the FSA was 8 km away from the Republican palace in Damascus (Holliday 2011). Following this, the opposition forces began losing neighborhoods in Homs to the Syrian Army including al-Inshaat, Jobr, Karm el-Zaytoon and only Homs's old neighborhood's, including Al-Khalidiya, Homs|al-Khalidiya, remained in opposition hands. By March 2012, the government began military operations against the opposition in Idlib Governorate including the city of Idlib, which fell to the Army by mid-March (BBC, Syria in Civil War, Red Cross Says 2012).
Legal Doctrine
The Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, or the Geneva Protocol, is a treaty prohibiting the use of chemical and biological weapons in international armed conflicts. Signed in 1925, this was a step in helping prevent some of the agonizing problems of World War I, but many thought it did not go far enough in preventing the development, distribution, and stockpiling of chemical weapons. This led to the Chemical Weapons Convention, drafted in 1992, and signed by Syrian in 2013, and the establishment of Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in 1997 (UNODA 2016).
Indiscriminate Warfare in Syria
The Syrian Regime has been accused of using indiscriminate warfare against its own civilians under the guise of attacking areas harboring extremists. An indiscriminate weapon is a weapon that cannot be directed at a military objective or whose effects cannot be limited as required by international humanitarian law. Under international humanitarian law, the use of such an inherently indiscriminate weapon is prohibited (Geneva Academy 2013). The...

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