The International Criminal Law blog

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The International Criminal Law blog

Bashar al-Assad

Syria: Is Now the Right Time for Bashar al-Assad to Face Justice?

8 August 2011 by Administrator

The use of lethal force to disperse demonstrations is within a government’s prerogative and is not an international crime. But months of a persistent and brutal crackdown, the likes of which are occurring in Syria, which, according to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has left some 2,000 people dead since anti-government protests began in March, does amount to a crime against humanity. This is contrary to Article 7 of the ICC Treaty, if multiple acts of murder or persecution are committed, pursuant to state policy, “as part of a widespread or systematic attack against any civilian population.” The deliberate decision to use tanks, machine guns, and snipers against unarmed crowds repeatedly over the last few months is clear evidence of exactly such a crime. But the question remains - is now the time for the Security Council to refer Bashar al-Assad and certain members of his family to the International Criminal Court?


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