Friday, April 13, 2018

US Attack on Syria Would Be Illegal Under International Law (Part 1 of 2) — Ben Norton interviews Alfred de Zaya

BEN NORTON: ... would a strike led by Donald Trump, would a U.S. strike be legal?

ALFRED DE ZAYAS: I could answer that in two seconds. Of course it would be illegal. And I remind you that international law is also the law of the land in the United States and on American citizen. And Article 2, Paragraph 4 of the United Nations Charter is very clear in stipulating a prohibition on the use of force. There are only two exceptions. Force can be used in self-defence. Article 51. Or if the Security Council so decides pursuant to Article 39, it must first determine that there is a threat or a breach of international peace. And then if you have a clear resolution of the Security Council then certain use of force would be legal.
Otherwise you have the crime of aggression. And since 2010 we have a definition of what the crime of aggression entails, and of course an unprovoked attack on Syria by the United States, that is essentially not a party to this civil war and which is acting actually already illegally in the territory. It's interesting to note, most people don't know that, that in international law if there's a civil war, there's an obligation of neutrality for the rest of the international community. The only country that is there, shall we say, by invitation, and therefore legally is Russia. We may not want to accept it but that is what international law says and so whatever activities the United States is having in Syria at present are incompatible, both with the United Nations Charter and with customary international law.
There you have it.
We are eroding those very principles that we ostensibly want to protect. So we're doing more damage to international law and to international relations than we seem to understand. And what bothers me is the misuse of certain concepts, like human rights. I have spent my career as a professor of law, professor of human rights, secretary of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, chief of the Petitions Department of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and six years as an independent expert. And I am just shocked that those countries that should be the leaders in defending human rights are actually instrumental izing human rights as weapons.
So since there are geopolitical interests in Syria, everybody knows about the pipeline and the conflicting interests of the Russians and the Europeans and the Americans. Now that it seemed like Assad had won the war and had expelled the rebels from this enclave, well, how could you keep the United States in, and how could you get the Europeans back in the game? Well, by creating a false flag, by claiming that there was a chemical attack and that Assad did it....
US Attack on Syria Would Be Illegal Under International Law
Ben Norton interviews Alfred de Zayas, UN Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, professor of international law at the Geneva School of Diplomacy, and retired senior lawyer with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as a retired chief of the petitions department at OHCHR

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