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In ’Clear Violation of Domestic and International Law,’ Trump Bombs Syria

Saturday 14 April 2018, by siawi3

Source: https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/04/13/clear-violation-domestic-and-international-law-trump-bombs-syria?utm_term=In%20%27Clear%20Violation%20of%20Domestic%20and%20International%20Law%2C%27%20Trump%20Bombs%20Syria&utm_campaign=In%20%27Clear%20Violation%20of%20Domestic%20and%20International%20Law%2C%27%20Trump%20Bombs%20Syria&utm_content=email&utm_source=Act-On+Software&utm_medium=email&cm_mmc=Act-On%20Software-_-email-_-In%20%27Clear%20Violation%20of%20Domestic%20and%20International%20Law%2C%27%20Trump%20Bombs%20Syria-_-In%20%27Clear%20Violation%20of%20Domestic%20and%20International%20Law%2C%27%20Trump%20Bombs%20Syria

Published on
Friday, April 13, 2018

In ’Clear Violation of Domestic and International Law,’ Trump Bombs Syria

“Strikes against the Syrian regime – without congressional input or authorization – shows a contempt for the U.S Constitution and is without legal justification.”

by Jon Queally,
staff writer

U.S. President Donald Trump makes remarks as he speaks to the nation, announcing military action against Syria for the recent apparent gas attack on its civilians, at the White House, on April 13, 2018, in Washington, DC. President Trump announced that a joint operation of ’precision strikes’ is underway in Syria with armed forces from the United Kingdom and France. (Photo: Mike Theiler - Pool/Getty Images)

Foreign policy experts, human rights groups, and anti-war activists all immediately and forcefully condemned the U.S. bombardment of Syria on Friday night after reports indicated the “illegal” attack on the sovereign Middle East nation had begun and President Donald Trump announced in a national address that he had ordered the strikes alongside French and U.K. forces.

“By illegally bombing a sovereign nation, President Trump has once again denied the American people and Congress any oversight or accountability in these endless wars.” —Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.)“Trump’s decision to strike Syrian forces was impulsive, dangerous and a clear violation of domestic and international law,” declared Jon Rainwater, executive director of Peace Action, in a statement. “This attack endangers U.S. forces in the region, and invites escalation from Russia, Iran and Syria.”

According to the Associated Press:

Loud explosions rocked Syria’s capital and filled the sky with heavy smoke early Saturday after U.S. President Donald Trump announced airstrikes in retaliation for the country’s alleged use of chemical weapons. Syrian air defenses responded to the joint strikes by the United States, France and Britain. Associated Press reporters saw smoke rising from east Damascus and the lit-up sky turning orange for the blasts.

Watch Trump’s address attempting to explain his decision—despite receiving neither authorization from the U.S. Congress nor sanction from the United Nations—to bomb Syria:

But the American Civil Liberties Union, without hesitation, joined those who said the attack on Syria was a clearly illegal act.

“This military action is illegal,” declared Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project, after the U.S.-backed assault on Syria was announced.

“In the face of constitutional law barring hostile use of force without congressional authorization, and international law forbidding unilateral use of force except in self-defense, President Trump has unilaterally launched strikes against a country that has not attacked us — and without any authorization from Congress,” Shamsi said. “Doing so violates some of the most important legal constraints on the use of force.”

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Calif) decried Trump’s decision, saying the “strikes against the Syrian regime – without congressional input or authorization – shows a contempt for the U.S Constitution and is without legal justification.”

Lee added, “This is not a dictatorship. Congress, not the president, is responsible for debating and authorizing military action. By illegally bombing a sovereign nation, President Trump has once again denied the American people and Congress any oversight or accountability in these endless wars.”

At the same time, Reza Marashi, the research director for the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), explained how “tremendously dangerous” the situation in Syria remains and warned that Trump risks “throwing fuel on the regional fire” with strikes that could have severe consequences.

“Given that Iranian and Russian forces are closely embedded with Syrian government, there is a significant risk that any strikes will trigger retaliation and a bloodier, wider war with few discernible ways to deescalate the conflict,” Marashi said.

As others have repeatedly done, he emphasized that a large reason “Syria is in ruins today is because nearly all actors have pursued military solutions instead of diplomacy aimed at halting the bloodshed. An eye for an eye approach will not bring justice or peace to Syria, and there is no moral high ground for those who respond to abhorrent violence with more violence.”

According to Raed Jarrar, advocacy director for Middle East North Africa at Amnesty International USA, the Syrian people “have already endured six years of devastating attacks, including chemical attacks, many of which amount to war crimes.”

Anti-war activists further questioned how the bombings ordered by Trump on Friday night would do anything to actually end the conflict in Syria that has been ongoing since 2011:

Late Friday night, the Pentagon held a press conference to address questions about the U.S. attack: video here

°°°

Source: https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/04/12/international-law-experts-warn-trump-attack-syria-would-be-crime-aggression?utm_term=International%20Law%20Experts%20Warn%20Trump%20That%20Attack%20on%20Syria%20Would%20Be%20%27Crime%20of%20Aggression%27&utm_campaign=In%20%27Clear%20Violation%20of%20Domestic%20and%20International%20Law%2C%27%20Trump%20Bombs%20Syria&utm_content=email&utm_source=Act-On+Software&utm_medium=email&cm_mmc=Act-On%20Software-_-email-_-In%20%27Clear%20Violation%20of%20Domestic%20and%20International%20Law%2C%27%20Trump%20Bombs%20Syria-_-International%20Law%20Experts%20Warn%20Trump%20That%20Attack%20on%20Syria%20Would%20Be%20%27Crime%20of%20Aggression%27

Published on
Thursday, April 12, 2018

International Law Experts Warn Trump That Attack on Syria Would Be ’Crime of Aggression’

“Our point is a simple one: the only way to resolve the Syrian crisis is through commitment to well-settled principles of international legal norms.”

by Jake Johnson,
staff writer

Photo: Protesters chant and hold placards during a Stop the War Coalition demonstration oposite Downing Street on April 7, 2017 in London, England. (Photo: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

Just ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump’s tweet early Thursday warning that a military attack on Syria will take place at some point in the future—either “soon or not so soon”—a group of international law experts declared in a statement that any such attack would amount to an illegal act of aggression, which has been defined as “the supreme international crime.”

“The unlawful killing of any human being without legal justification, under every legal system, is murder,” the experts said. “And 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, as noted by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg in 1946.”

“We urge the United States to abide by its commitment to the rule of international law and to seek to resolve its disputes through peaceful means.”

“Our point is a simple one: the only way to resolve the Syrian crisis is through commitment to well-settled principles of international legal norms,” the experts continued. “We urge the United States to abide by its commitment to the rule of international law and to seek to resolve its disputes through peaceful means.”

In addition to violating international law, American members of Congress have argued in recent days that any unilateral attack on Syria would also violate the U.S. Constitution.

“President Trump has no legal authority for broadening the war in Syria,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said in a statement on Wednesday. “It is Congress, not the president, who determines whether our country goes to war, and Congress must not abdicate that responsibility.”

Nonetheless, Trump—with the corporate media dutifully beating the war drums in the background—has continued to escalate tensions and threaten missile strikes against Syria on Twitter, stoking fears of a direct confrontation with Russia and Iran.

As Common Dreams reported, Trump on Wednesday directly warned Russia to “get ready” because missiles “will be coming” at Syria.

Read the international law experts’ full statement against Trump’s push for military action below:

We are practitioners and professors of international law. Under international law, military strikes by the United States of America and its allies against the Syrian Arab Republic, unless conducted in self-defense or with United Nations Security Council approval, are illegal and constitute acts of aggression.

The unlawful killing of any human being without legal justification, under every legal system, is murder. And 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, as noted by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg in 1946.

The use of military force by a state can be used in self-defense after an armed attack by another state, or, with the approval of the United Nations Security Council. At present, neither instance would apply to a U.S. strike against Syria.

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.

Accordingly, we urge the United States and its allies to refrain from illegal conduct against Syria. 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. In 1986, in The Nicaragua Case, the International Court of Justice reprimanded the United States for arming and supporting contra militias and combatants, and for mining Nicaragua’s harbors, as acts which violated the U.N. Charter and 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.

We take pains to note what should be obvious: our demand that the United States and its allies immediately comport themselves with their international legal obligations 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. But our point is a simple one: the only way to resolve the Syrian crisis is through commitment to well-settled principles of international legal norms. We urge the United States to abide by its commitment to the rule of international law and to seek to resolve its disputes through peaceful means. These means include recourse to the use of established and legitimate institutions designed to maintain international peace and security, such as the U.N. Security Council or the International Court of Justice. 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.

Inder Comar
Executive Director
Just Atonement Inc.

Dr. Curtis F.J. Doebbler
Research Professor of Law
University of Makeni
UN Representative of International-Lawyers.org

Dr. Ryan Alford
Associate Professor,
Bora Laskin Faculty of Law, Lakehead University

Abdeen Jabara
Civil Rights Attorney and Co-Founder of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

Marjorie Cohn
Professor Emerita
Thomas Jefferson School of Law

Ramsey Clark
66th Attorney-General of the United States

Jeanne Mirer
President
International Association
of Democratic Lawyers