Congressman Chris Smith talks a lot of sense in proposing the creation of a Syrian War Crimes Tribunal:
Raining down Tomahawks and Cruise missiles on the beleaguered people of Syria will not make their situation any better.
Less than 2% of the 100,000 Syrians who have died in this appalling conflict have been killed by chemical weapons – unconscionable though their use is. It’s overwhelmingly conventional weapons that have been resulted in the shocking haemorraghing of human life.
Atrocities have been committed on all sides – and it is risible to describe “the Opposition” in terms usually reserved for those championing liberty and the protection of minorities. The Opposition is a gaggle of dispirit militias and factions – some of whose objectives are even more tyrannical than those of the regime’s.
What is important is that those who are carrying out these unspeakable acts of violence know that one day they will be held to account. There must be a Nuremberg day of reckoning. Recourse to international law – an immediate referral to the International Criminal Court, for instance, along with the creation of a Tribunal – must always be the first recourse of civilised states.
As for the use of chemical weapons: the UN Security Council must require Syria to surrender its chemical weapons and this must be done by a Chapter VII Resolution. Without it, there will be no legal obligation for Syria to surrender these weapons, and if Russia and China block such a resolution they will simply be postponing direct military action, not preventing it.
For now, we do well to give full support to Congressman Smith’s proposal for a Syrian War Crimes Tribunal.