Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Gukurahundi:The way forward.



In January 1983, a crackdown by the elite Fifth Brigade in Matabeleland North was initiated to purge the dissidents, and it lasted until late 1984. The brigade's directives apparently specified a search for local ZAPU officials and veterans of  the Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA).In Bulawayo, for instance, Ndebele men of fighting age were considered potential dissidents and therefore, guilty of subversive activities. Most detained were summarily executed or marched to re-education camps. Most of the dead were shot in public executions, often after being forced to dig their own graves in front of family and fellow villagers. On occasion the Fifth Brigade also massacred large groups of Ndebele, seemingly at random for  instance the  Cewale River bank shooting where 62 people were shot at. Seven survived with gunshot wounds, the other 55 died. Another way 5 Brigade used to kill large groups of people was to burn them alive in huts. They did this in Tsholotsho and also in Lupane. They would routinely round up dozens, or even hundreds, of civilians and march them at gun point to a central place, like a school or bore-hole. There they would be forced to sing Shona songs praising ZANU, at the same time being beaten with sticks. These gatherings usually ended with public executions. Those killed could be ex-ZIPRAs, ZAPU officials, or anybody chosen at random. The Zimbabwe government repudiated these allegations and accused the hostile foreign press of fabricating stories.
The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe documented at least 2,000 deaths, and speculated that the actual number could be 8,000 or higher. Local Ndebele put the figure between 20,000 and 30,000. Journalist Heidi Holland referenced a death toll of 8,000 as a typical conservative estimate. In February 1983 the International Red Cross disclosed that 1,200 Ndebele had been murdered that month alone. However the documentary that reflects what exactly transpired   during the Gukurahundi massacre lies in the oral traditions of the Ndebele people in Zimbabwe. Stories are still being told of how mothers were made to kill their   newly born babies, some stories relate the sexual abuse that women were subjected to. Thus Gukurahundi is a cancer rooted deep within the hearts of the Ndebele people in Zimbabwe hence the recent demonstrations by the Mthwakazi cadres at the ZITF were they were  heckling the President of Zimbabwe to address the issue.
A case in point is the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, where  up to one million people perished and as many as 250,000 women were raped, leaving the country’s population traumatized and its infrastructure decimated. Since then, Rwanda has embarked on an ambitious justice and reconciliation process with the ultimate aim of all Rwandans once again living side by side in peace. In the years following the genocide, more than 120,000 people were detained and accused of bearing criminal responsibility for their participation in the killings. To deal with such an overwhelming number of perpetrators, a judicial response was pursued on three levels:
  • the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda,
  • the national court system, and
  •  
  • the Gacaca courts.
The International Justice system needs to set up  a commission of enquiry to establish the number of people that were lost during this time and also a criminal tribunal to bring to justice the masterminds behind Gukurandi.Zimbabwe also needs to take a lesson from Rwanda those that are guilty for the Gukurahundi massacres should face the full wrath of the law. The Ndebele people could sure use some apologies,some compensation, some acknowledgement in order for them to have closure  that Gukurahundi indeed happened and someone is sorry about it.



Thursday, 28 December 2017

Sources of International law



International law has been defined by Grotius as rules and principles that govern states  in the international system to drive their national interest. Starke (2010) has stated that: “International law consists of a system of laws, the majority of which applies to states but also regulates activities of individuals and international organizations when it becomes the concern for the international community.” Law is necessary so as to preserve international peace and security as well as allow states to achieve their national interest. For any study of the sources of international law Article 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice1 is always the starting point, which is recognized as a definitive statement of the sources of international law. The legal approach applied to the study of international politics, stands on the assumption that law prescribes action to be taken in a given contingency and also forbids same in certain others situations; it even fixes the limits of permissible action (Johari, 2011)

The question of sources is fundamental in any system of law. The first three sources listed are treaties, custom, and principles of law, are sometimes referred to as "primary sources", whereas the last two, judicial decisions and the teachings of publicists are referred to as secondary sources" or evidence of international law rules.International legal system can accommodate the changing requirements for regulation by: law making in new areas; and by upgrading and refinement of existing laws, in the light of its law sources.It is realized that the term “sources” entails many different, sometimes, conflicting meaning. Herbert Briggs states that the confusion of the term “sources” describes it as the methods or procedures by which international law is created. George Schwarzenberger proposed the term law creating process for primary sources thus treaties, customs and general principles of law; and law determining agencies for subsidiary means for determination of law that is judicial practice and doctrines.




TREATIES
A treaty is an agreement creating binding obligations between subjects of international law (Umozurike, 1993). Treaty are of two types namely; bilateral/contract and multilateral/law making treaties. Treaties are known by many other names like agreement, convention, covenant, charter, pact, memorandum of Understanding, etc. They are the most obvious source of international law. Long before the establishment of UN and ICJ, in the 19th and 20th centuries, manytreaties and conventions played a great role in the development of international law, such as Geneva Convention 1864, Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, Treaty of Locarno1925,Law of the Sea to name a few. After establishment of UN in 1945, treaty acquired the most important mode of development of international law, starting from Bill of Rights28 and various sectoral instruments under the United Nations Treaty Series many thousand treaties have been registered with the United Nations.A contract treaty is one that merely regulates a specific relation between two or more states, such as; extradition law, transport agreements, bilateral investment treaties, etc. A law making treaty on the other hand lays down rules for a number of states. Some treaties have been quite successful because they have been ratified by most countries. A good example is the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations. Others suffer like the law of the sea which was initiated in 1973 but took up till 1994 before it was ratified by only 60 states (Schreuer, 1999).
Despite being the most conspicuous of the sources, treaty is bedeviled by some fundamental shortcomings. The first is that, even after entering into force, a treaty only binds those countries that have given explicit consent to be so bound. Secondly, a treaty becomes weak if a powerful country ceases to recognise the dictate of such a treaty. Another setback is that a state can attach far reaching reservations which permits them to exclude or modify the legal effects of certain provisions of treaty; a good example is the 1979 convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women which was ratified by many Arabian states but subject to far-reaching reservation. In the same vein, other states may raise objections to a reservation made by one country thereby leading to legal battles and weakening the effectiveness of treaty.
Furthermore, the interpretation and application of treaties is complicated by different language versions and the diverse social context under which lawyers operate. The ineffectiveness of the bilateral treaty as a source is made obvious according to Schreuer (1999) in that “to create a network of bilateral treaties among all 188 (sic) members of the United Nations, would require over 17000 such treaties” Similarly, such treaties are likely to display variations and consequently do not create uniformity and equality of treatment.
INTERNATIONAL CUSTOMARY LAW
Custom is the oldest and the original source of international law as well as law in general.It is the foundation stone of the modern international law.When a usage receives the general acceptance or recognition by the states in their mutual relations, it is understood that such habit or usage has become right as well as obligation of the states; it becomes a custom. The mere fact that a custom is widely followed does not make it a rule of international law rather it must be accepted by the states as legally binding in order to be considered rules of international law, referred to as opinio juris. Depicting this fact the Article 38 (b)describes international custom “as evidence of general practice accepted as law” which makes clear two essential elements of custom, namely practice and opinio juris. Examples include armed protection of citizens
Judicial application of international custom is understood in the ICJ rulings in S.S. Lotus case In S.S. Lotus case (Turkish International Water) PCIJ (1927), where it was held that “a new rule of customary international law cannot be created unless both these elements as discussed are present.” Nicaragua v. Unites States of America case, In West Rand Central Gold Mining Company Ltd. v. R. (1905) where a test regarding the general recognition of custom was laid down. The court ruled that for a valid international custom it is necessary that it should be proved by satisfactory evidence that the custom is of such nature that it has received general consent of the States and no civilized State shall oppose it.” Asylum case between Columbia and Peru,Advisory Opinion On use of Nuclear Weapons (1996)amongst other cases. Although an international court in the first instance is bound to consider an applicable treaty provisions, in case of doubt, it is interpreted against the customary rule. In case of any conflict of a treaty provision with a jus cogen, it will prevail over the treaty. Customs may be seen as the general practices of states that has become “constant and of uniform usage” (ICJ Asylum Case Report in Umozurike, 1993). In essence, customary law emerges from patterns of behaviour among states. Customs may be garnered from the practice of states as in press conferences, official statements, opinions of legal officials, official instructions to diplomats .


Custom emanates somewhat from consent of the complex international community and thus give it an upper place in the hierarchy of the sources of international law but this notwithstanding, custom as a source of international law is still marred by grave flaws. The first are a set of questions: how widespread must this practice be? How long does it take to be established? How is one rule of international law replaced by another such rule? These questions throw great doubt into customs as a source of international law. Secondly, customs are often somewhat vague and open to conflicting interpretations. Thirdly, if the perceived interests of certain states change, so will their attitude towards customary international law and a particular rule may be challenged. This therefore leaves the rule of international law at the mercy of the selfish national interest of states. Also, a custom may cease to exist through the rise of conflicting customary rule or conventional rule (Umozurike, 1993) Furthermore, it is practically impossible to study the practices of all states so as to derive a universal customary law. Moreover, countries custom is a product of their specific economic, social along with political environment.
GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF LAW   
This source of law under the statute of ICJ refers to general principles of law recognized by civilized nations. For example Law of Sea that binds the usability of high seas which are not owned by any state.The UN maintained that the general principles of law recognised by civilised nations are certain legal beliefs and practices that are common to all developed legal systems.It is similar to treaty and customary law theoretically but in practice, they are used mostly to close gaps left by treaties and customary law (Shaw, 1997). In essence, if there is a relevant treaty or custom, general principles do not apply. Most modern jurists accept that general principles of law are principles of law common to all national legal systems, in so far as they are applicable to relations of States.
They also mean rules or standards which we find repeated in much the same form in the developed systems of law, either due to common origin, or expressing a necessary response to certain basic needs of human associations. Examples are: the rules of pacta sunt servanda, that contracts must be kept; reparation must be made for damage caused by fault; the right of self-defence for the individual against attack on his person, family, or community against clear and present danger; for one’s own cause no one can be a judge; and that the judge must hear both sides. Perhaps the most important general principle, inherent in international legal rules, is that of good faith, enshrined in the United Nations Charter, and its elaboration in the Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States adopted by the General Assembly in resolution 2625 ,1970).
Judicial applications of general principle are provided by the Arbitration Tribunal in the Republic of Indonesia case, Nuclear Tests case The International Court declared in the Nuclear Tests cases that: One of the basic principles governingthe creation and performance of legal obligations, whatever their source, is the principle of good faith.Trust and confidence are inherent in international co-operation, in particular in an age when this cooperation in many fields is becoming increasingly essential. Just as the very rule of pactasuntservandainthe law of treaties is based on good faith, so also is the binding character of an international obligation assumed by unilateral obligation.Chorzow Factory case in 1928 ,Barcelona Traction case (1970), Administrative Tribunal case,and others.
The significance of general principles has undoubtedly been decreased by the increased intensity of treaty and institutional relations between states.The principles of equity in the international context do not retain all the connotations they do under common law.The reference to the principle as ‘general’ signify that,if rules were to be adapted from municipal law,they should be at a sufficient level of generality to encompass similar rules existing in municipal systems.
JUDICIAL DECISIONS.
According to Article 38(1) of its statute,the ICJ is also to apply judicial decisions. States how states should behave towards each other ,guarding international relations.For example the Max Huber’s arbitration of island of Palmas case acquisition of territory.Judicial decisions therefore do not make law but are declaratory of pre-existing law qualifying them as, indirect, law identifying or material sources of law. Article 59 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice,provides that decisions of the courts have no binding force, except for the parties and in respect of the case concerned. Contrary to the Common Law the doctrine of precedence does not exists in international law, still we find that the Court itself in its decisions, the states in their disputes and legal writers in their scholarly works quote judgments of PCIJ and ICJ as an authority.56 Thus even as a subsidiary source, judicial decisions are important in the determination of the existence of the legal rules and their content. A unanimous, or almost unanimous, decision plays an important role in the progressive development of the law, e.g. the decisions and advisory opinions in the Reparation, Genocide, Fisheries, and Nottebohm cases have had decisive influence on general international law
 WRITINGS OF PUBLICISTS.
Article 38(1) of the ICJ states that the teachings  of the most highly qualified publicists of various nations are subsdiary means for the determination of the rules of law. The scholarly works of prominent sources of international  law  are essential in developing the rules that are sourced in treaties,custom and general principles of law. With marked influence in the history of international law from 16th-18th century writers such as Gentili, Grotius, Pufendorf, Bynkershoek and Vattel,latterly scholars such as Florence Knightingale, Henry Dunant.were considered authorities in determining the scope, form and content of international law; at present juristic writings are considered a material or evidential source only. Textbooks are used as a method of discovering what the law is on any particular point rather than as the source of actual rules, and the writings of even the most respected international lawyers cannot create law.
INTERNATIONAL BODIES
These in some instances might be a source of law thus the international economic law commission, the international telecommunications union such as FIFA,such bodies are source of law in their own entity.
JUS COGEN refers to the peremptory norms of international law, which cannot be broken  such as Acts that pose a universal threat against humanity. These are acts that warrant international public opinion for instance the use of nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, and terrorism amongst others
On the other hand though international law has potential as a source of conflict resolution one should bear in mind that law is itself a source of significant conflict hence can be viewed as a myth.Often International Law favours particular group or countries. Not only is it influential when it favours the strongest but the powerful are also typically the source of law. For instance,because much of international law is formed by the U.N,the Security Council has influence in shaping it.International law has been criticised as fundamentally Western, based on western notions.Scholars have argued that widespread acceptance of international law is evidence that the principles on which it is based are strictly Western, the developing countries are however not entirely free to accede to these rules, Western countries are able to provide incentives for less powerful countries to accede their own wishes,meaning international law has at least some force behind it, not nearly much as domestic legal systems.
The United States frequently violates every principle of international law ever envisioned,unprovoked wars of aggression,tortures and assassinations of enemies,sales of nuclear weapons,destabilization of unfriendly governments,creating the largest prison population in the world, the list is virtually endless.Laws binding such acts exists in theory not in practise As international law has no governing body or military force with power to intervene then one tend to wonder what good does it do to invoke  principles.
According to Marks,S(2005) ‘international law’ must at least leave its route of ‘might always make right’.Kennedy.D(1987)viewed international law as a constituent of politics and it has failed millions,that is not an occasion but systematically.Also it is a determining force in global affairs but lacks the capacity to further a just international order. As proved by the tendency of  the ICC as the only scapegoats investigated for war and humanitarian crimes have always been either African or Asian Arabs. Thus Mugabe (2005) had to say “the whole human rights agenda have degenerated into a western managed Kangaroo Court”.Not to say that there should be human rights agitation at all but to say if jus cogens are indeed are of paramount importance the they should not have any double standards connotations and should apply to every states.
For example USA and the EUROPEAN countries played a pivotal role as the watchdogs of Human Rights violations and war crimes.It’s so controversial how and why they continue to wage dangerous wars which results in deaths of millions if they are concerned of those jus cogens, it’s not a century after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it’s not two decades after the bombardment of Kosovo by NATO and it’s not seven months after the Nacanyaru and Cohorts were inflicting some casualties on the people  in GAZA if international law was a reality such incident wouldn’t be existent.Therefore is open to be debated and viewed as a myth.
International Law stipulates that one’s state’s sovereignty should be sacred and respected to mean that Somalia’s decision should be equal to Britain’s decision,every state has the right to decide what is right for its own people.However the North has continually abused its dominant status quo to violate state sovereignty. This is exemplified in by the events which perpetrated the death of Gadhafi in Libya, Saddam Hussein in Iraq .Such Acts were against the customary Law non-intervention protocol particularly on the use of force. Hence as long as the military superior continue to do as they deem necessary the international law continues to be a fable.
Moreover there are some states which have violated treaties as a paramount source of law.The principle of Estoppel has suffocated under the command of buffoons.This principle states that when a certain state rectifies a treaty or concession it becomes a guiding principle in future in order to promote consistency and harmony.In the La Grande Case 2001 USA violated the Vienna Convention Article32(1) but no action was taken against her. Britain and the EU at large had to be reminded that they were signatories of the  Arms Treaty of 2April 2013.As the treaty stipulated that if the exporters of weapons knows that their beneficiaries of certain weapons will cause war crimes against humanity, its therefore an abomination to send those weapons. But their intent to promote banditry in Syria is aaggravation of the treaty. As usually they evaded indictment. Therefore as long as power politics is always applied in conjunction with global statutes international law remains a myth.
CONCLUSION
The above arguments and cases point towards the conclusion that Article 38 is quite comprehensive in detailing major formal and material sources of international law; describing treaties, customs and general principles as the major formal sources,providing general principles as filling the gaps between customary rules and treaties; and as subsidiary means providing judicial decisions, which has now become a trend setting evidence of immense value in determining the rules of law, reflected in the teachings of the most highly qualified publicists of the various nations which are also described as subsidiary means, under the same provision of the article. Judicial decisions however, will remain subsidiary as they are fact specific and apply to the states concerned only. Subject to states’ concerned consent provision of equity is also available. Still the Article cannot be considered totally exhaustive in its provisions as other subsidiary means provided  also contribute in the complexed ever growing matters and phenomena of the international community, in the spheres of public as well as private international law.





REFERENCE
1. Balch, T. W., “Arbitration as a term of international law” (1915), available
at: www.jstor.org/stable/111096 (last visited on 22.01.15).
2. Black’s Law Dictionary, 2nd edition, 700, available at
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3. Brierly, J. L., The Law of Nations, 6th ed., Edited by Humphrey Waldock.
London: oxford University Press, 1963.
4. Briggs, Cf., Herbert, The law of Nations, 2nd ed., New York, 1952.
5. ChamaraSumanapala, International Law: Conventions and Customs, Dec 5,
2010, available at: http://www.suite101.com/content/international-lawconventions-
and-customs-a316939#ixzz17omhh0Q5, (last visited 23.01.15).
6. Dixon, Martin, International Law, 4th ed., London: Blackstone Press Limited,
2000.
7. Fawcett, J.E.S., The Law of Nations, London, 1968.
8. G. Schwarzenberger , International law, vol.1. 3rd ed., London: Stevens and
Sons Ltd., 1957.
9. Halls, W.E., International Law, London: Stevens and Sons. Ltd., 1950.
10. Hamid, Abdul Ghafur, Sources of International Law: A Re-Evaluation, IIUM
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11. Malcolm N. Shaw, International Law, 6th ed., New York: Cambridge
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12.Omar, Shagufta, Sources of International Law in the Light of the Article 38 of the International Court of Justice (July 2, 2011). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1877123 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1877123

Monday, 27 November 2017

Was U.S.A justified in attacking Syria?A scholarly overview.



The nature and applicability of international law is always a subject of debate among international lawyers. This debate largely stems from its nature. Its applicability has been contested given the fact that there is no a world government that is central legitimate authority in the international system which police the behavior of states. However, international law strictly prohibits the intervention of a state in the domestic affairs of other states. In this regard, Article 2 of the UN Charter states that “all members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purpose of the United Nations.” Nevertheless, the UN Security Council has the right to intervene as it sees that there is a threat to international peace and security (Demeke, 2013). For a state to invade another sate it has to seek authorization from the United Nations Security Council. Under international law, there is a distinct way of looking at war that is the reasons to fight. Jus ad bellum (use of force) is the title given to the branch of law that defines the legitimate reasons a state may engage in war which under international law may give legal reasons for a state to invade another state. The essay will look at the legal reasons according to international law that will justify the invasion in Syria by United States.

Syria lies at the Eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea. It is bordered by Lebanon and Israel on the west, Turkey on the north, Iraq on the east, and Jordan on the south. Entering the fifth year of the conflict, a lot of evidence points to the fact that the civil war in Syria will neither be settled politically nor decided militarily in the near future. Regime and rebels are locked in a battle for survival that does not permit any compromise. If the fighting continues or escalates further, the neighboring countries will also bear the brunt. Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq and, to a growing degree, Egypt, are faced with an ever rising number of Syrian refugees whose accommodation and provision with food, shelter and health care turns out to be an enormous challenge for the recipient countries. Almost 200,000 Syrians have lost their lives in the escalating conflict between forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and those opposed to his rule (BBC News, 2014). Syria's bloody internal conflict has destroyed entire neighborhoods and forced more than nine million people from their homes (Ibid, 2014). Pro-democracy protests erupted in March 2011 in the southern city of Deraa after the arrest and torture of some teenagers who painted revolutionary slogans on a school wall. After security forces opened fire on demonstrators, killing several, more took to the streets. The unrest triggered nationwide protests demanding President Assad's resignation. The government's use of force to crush the dissent merely hardened the protesters' resolve. By July 2011, hundreds of thousands were taking to the streets across the country. Opposition supporters eventually began to take up arms, first to defend themselves and later to expel security forces from their local areas. Violence escalated and the country descended into civil war as rebel brigades were formed to battle government forces for control of cities, towns and the countryside. Fighting reached the capital Damascus and second city of Aleppo in 2012. The conflict is now more than just a battle between those for or against President Assad. It has acquired sectarian overtones, pitching the country's Sunni majority against the President's Shia Alawite sect, and drawn in neighboring countries and world powers. The rise of the jihadist groups, including Islamic State, has added a further dimension.

The US was a major political payer in the political panorama in Kosovo/Yugoslavia in the late 1990s (Demeke, 2013). Following the humanitarian crisis, mass killings and massive violation of human rights by Milosevic regime in 1990s, the “international community” decided to respond military to government’s brutality under the doctrine of “humanitarian intervention”. Indeed at the beginning of the conflict, the “international community” viewed the Kosovo crisis as an essentially domestic matter for Serbia to settle it through political and diplomatic means. Similarly, the majority of international actors have recognized the Syrian conflict as an internal matter at the beginning. The US was more effective in leading the effort to stop the increasing humanitarian disaster in Kosovo and bringing the conflicting parties into the negotiation table to achieve durable peace. Likewise, the Obama administration had set a red line for Damascus (use of chemical weapons) where the US will be forced to engage military.

Besides having authority from the United Nations Security Council, a country may invade another country on the principle of “Jus ad bellum”.These rules include self-defense, humanitarian intervention, peace keeping, collective security or “Jus cogens” which contains prohibitions on serious international law violations like genocide, torture, slavery, and crimes against humanity. As a matter of international law, humanitarian intervention such as the use of military force to protect foreign populations from mass atrocities or gross human rights abuses is permissible if authorized by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). In recent years, states have reached general consensus that they have a "Responsibility to Protect" populations from mass atrocities, and that when a government fails in this responsibility towards its own people, international action is appropriate. The US and its allies are trying to make military strikes legal and legitimate under the banner of “humanitarian intervention”.  As Washington clearly stated, the aim is not to topple the Bashar al-Assad regime or to support the coalition of opposition forces by directly involving into the civil war. Rather it focuses on destroying a number of command posts and regimes’ chemical weapons delivery facilities. The Syrian opposition claimed that the chemical weapons attack in a Damascus suburb on 21 August 2013, which was reported to have killed 1,429 civilians, including over 400 children, was carried out by the Syrian Government (Kaye, 2013).  The use of Mass Destructive Weapons (MDWs) or Atomic, Biological and Chemical (ABCs) weapons is strongly prohibited under customary international practices and moral judgments. Violation of high standard of international norms such as the use of chemical weapons against civilians has immediate legal consequences (Schmitt, 2013). Some states had been the victims of chemical weapons during World War I and World War II. For instance, Ethiopian was the victim of chemical weapons when the Fascist led Italian government used it against Ethiopian people in 1935. Yet, the international community failed to punish Italy knowing that it was a serious violation of international customary practices, other than condemning and releasing strong statement against its use. The Geneva Protocol of 1925 prohibits the use of chemical and biological weapons in war.

The Protocol was signed at a conference which was convened in Geneva under the framework of the League of Nations in 1925 and entered into force in 1928. Later, the international community agreed to set a mechanism to deter the use of MDWs and signed the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in 1972 and 1993 respectively. More importantly, the CWC, in which Syria is one of the 6 signatory states, prohibits the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons and on their destruction. For example, Article 1(1) of the CWC noted that “Each State Party to this Convention undertakes never under any circumstances, develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile or retain chemical weapons, or transfer, directly or indirectly, chemical weapons to anyone, to use chemical weapons, to engage in any military preparations to use chemical weapons, and to assist, encourage or induce, in any way, anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Convention.” According to the US government, the legality of their military intervention relies on the Geneva Protocol of 1925 and CWC in which Damascus is accused of violating the terms of the agreement. This is crime against humanity as stated by Blockmans, (2013). Based on the intelligence information, the US government presented to the international community, President Assad developed, produced and made all the necessary military preparation to use it against his own people by violating long standing international norms. As a result, the legal justification of US unilateral military action on Syria is part of enforcing the terms of the Geneva Convention.

According to Schmitt, (2013a) anticipatory self-defense, is the use of force by a state to repel an attacker before an actual attack has taken place, before the army of the enemy has crossed its border, and before the bombs of the enemy fall upon its territory can be a legal reason for the US to invade Syria.  "Anticipatory" is a term that "refers to the ability to foresee consequences of some future action and take measures aimed at checking or countering those consequences”. Obama and his allies should draw very strong lessons from the September 11, 2001 attack on the United States of America by al-Qaeda- an Islamic terrorist group that is threatening world peace.  A lot of Americans perished on this fateful day. The killing of 12 people in France recently by terrorists should alert and teach the United States of America and her allies that if terrorism is left unchecked it can destabilize the whole world. Look at what is happening in Nigeria for example, the monstrous actions of Boko Haram have plunged the Nation into a catastrophe.

Bashar al-Assad the President of Syria is not different from Gadhafi the former president of Libya who was a tyrant. Assad was re-elected Syria’s president in 2014 with 88.7% of the vote. Celebration shots fired by Assad supporters killed at least three people in Damascus as the results were announced and Assad did not take any action to punish the killers. The American Secretary of State John Kerry described the vote as a great zero and urged Assad allies Iran, Russia and Lebanon’s militant group Hezbollah to end the war. The United States department spokesperson Marie Harf observed that the election had internationally denied Syrians the right to vote which is against human rights. Hezbollah militants group which is Syria’s ally is seen by the West as a terrorist group that is causing instability in the Middle East by trying to overrun America’s best ally Israel. The fact that election observers were  from North Korea, Iran and Russia countries allied to Assad regime makes it clear that Assad is a tyrant because the afore mentioned countries leaders are  also dictators. The three countries supported Syrian elections that were held in pools of blood against the international law of human rights.
The proclamation of the “Islamic Sate” in Eastern Syria by ISIS has large implications for every country in the Middle East and the West.  ISIS established itself as a force in Northern Syria in May 2013. ISIS was responsible for the beheading of two American citizens and has captured a swath of territory in northern parts of Syria. ISIS forces those in the areas it controls to live according to its interpretation of Sunni Islam and Sharia law. It is against Shia Muslims, Christians, Yazids and anyone else who won’t submit. ISIS has released dozens of videos parading its ill treatment of civilians, dispelling any possibility that it is the blameless victim of Western propaganda (Blanchard, 2014). ISIS claims to speak for all Muslims and to command their allegiance. ISIS leaders have threatened America and her allies.
Obama and his allies should isolate, contain and quarantine ISIS and Assad by invading Syria where ISIS has proclaimed an Islamic State while Assad continues to butcher his people and forcing thousands Syrians into exile as refugees. Obama should reject the murders, kidnapping and violence against innocent people, destruction of schools and sacred places and forced conversions by ISIS in the name of Islam. ISIS and Assad’s atrocities, massacres and extrajudicial punishments should be stopped and destroyed by the United States and her allies. ISIS has sought to exclude Syrian women and girls from public life. Women have been killed, often by stoning, for unapproved contact with the opposite sex. ISIS regulations dictate what women must wear, with whom they may socialize, and where they may work. Distressing accounts were collected of forced marriages of girls as young as 13 to ISIS fighters. Children have also been the victims, perpetrators and witnesses of ISIS executions (Wedeman, 2014). The armed group employs education as a tool of indoctrination, aiming propaganda at children to foster a new generation of recruits. As an armed group bound by Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions and customary international law, ISIS has violated its obligations toward civilians, amounting to war crimes. In areas where ISIS has established effective control, ISIS has systematically denied basic human rights and freedoms and in the context of its attack against the civilian population, has perpetrated crimes against humanity. Invasion of Syria by an allied force led by the United States is a necessary counter terrorism measure to prevent ISIS from overrunning Syria and becoming a future threat to the United States and her allies. Where there is evidence that crimes that affect humanity such as terrorism, child soldiering are committed under the preemptory norms of jus cogens it gives the legal right to react by a state such as the US in Syria as these crimes have been committed (Hassan, 2015).
Collective security can be understood as a security arrangement in which all states cooperate collectively to provide security for all by the actions of all against any states within the groups which might challenge the existing order by using force nevertheless, if the Syrian opposition clearly asks for America’s help, if the rest of the Arab world supports such a military intervention, and if America's European allies prove ready to join in and indeed lead such an effort, the United States should contribute those military assets which only it can provide under the legal reason of collective security . Forces from the United StatesBahrainJordanQatarSaudi Arabia, and the UAE launched airstrikes in Syria against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and affiliates of al-Qaeda, beginning in September 2014, as part of a multinational force against Islamist extremist militant groups (The Guardian,2014). Rescue mission following the abduction of a number of foreigners in Syria, on July 4, 2014, the U.S. carried out an operation to rescue foreign hostages being held by ISIL. U.S. airstrikes were conducted against an ISIL military base known as the "Osama bin Laden Camp" while at the same time, two dozen special operations members parachuted from helicopters near an ISIS building for high-valued prisoners. No prisoners were found in the building and the special operations members were quickly engaged by ISIL forces dispatched from Ar-Raqqah, and a three-hour firefight ensued. Eventually, U.S. forces concluded that the hostages were no longer at the site and abandoned the rescue attempt.

The Syrian government is under the obligation to secure its population from crimes against humanity committed on its territory. Clearly, it is unable to do so, having lost control over areas occupied by IS. Hence, international action might be taken under the doctrine of humanitarian intervention to liberate the populations concerned from the grip of that movement (Koh, 2013). However, the increasing emphasis on the rights of peoples and populations over the abstract doctrine of sovereignty makes it possible to justify forcible action in extreme circumstances of humanitarian need. The United States remains committed to helping the innocent children, women, and men affected by the ongoing conflict in Syria. Total U.S. humanitarian assistance since the start of the conflict in March 2011 is now more than $3 billion (USAID, 2014). The United States remains the single-largest donor of humanitarian aid for those affected by Syria crisis, which has become the biggest humanitarian emergency of the era. For three years, the children of Syria have experienced the trauma of war. They have had their lives upended, often losing their homes, family members, and friends. 5 million children are affected by this crisis. That’s as if children from the 40 largest school districts in the United States had been affected by violence, hunger, or disease. Of those, 1.2 million have been forced to flee the country. Neighboring nations and host communities are struggling to absorb the influx of refugees, often causing a direct impact on their youngest citizens. Nearly 3 million Syrian children are out of school most for two years now and growing increasingly vulnerable with each classroom destroyed, Syria and the region cannot afford to lose a generation of children to hopelessness, especially when it is children who can help drive forward a future of peace (Ibid,2014). This is why the United States government supports the No Lost Generation initiative. No Lost Generation is an initiative by governments, the United Nations, and international and non-governmental organizations to address the immediate and long-term impacts of the Syria crisis on a generation of children and youth in Syria and the Near East region. It aims to expand access to education and provide psychosocial support to the region's children, strengthen child protection, boost social cohesion and promote peacebuilding to restore hope to millions of Syrian children who fear their future is slipping away. The U.S. government is supporting the No Lost Generation Initiative with programming in all these sectors
In conclusion the US-led military intervention has sufficient legal justification and is making a direct contribution to the protection of populations in Syria from genocide and mass atrocities. Whether it will prove to be too little, too late remains to be seen, but the fate of many depends on the international community’s resolve in dealing with the ISIS threat.











Reference List
BBC News. (2014) Syria: The story of the conflict, achieved at http://bbcnews.com.news (accessed on 8 December 2014).
Blanchard, C., M. (2014) Armed Conflict in Syria: Overview and US Response, achieved at http://www.crs.org, (accessed on 17 September, 2014).
Blockmans, S. (2013) Syria and the red lines of International law, achieved at http://wwwceps.eu (accessed on 4 September 2013).
Demeke, A., M. (2013) Bombing of Syria: Legality and cost of military intervention, achieved at http://aigaforum.com,(accessed on 5 September 2013).
The Guardian. (2014) Syria offers to help fight ISIS but warns against unilateral air strikes, achieved at http://www.theguardian.com,(accessed on 26 August 2014).
Kaye, D. (2013) the legal consequences of illegal wars, achieved at http://www.foreignaffairs.com,(accessed on 29 August 2013).
Koh, H, .H. (2013) Syria and the law of Humanitarian Intervention (Part II: International law and the way forward), achieved at http://www.justsecurity.org/1506/koh-syria-part2 ,(accessed on 2 October 2013).
Schmitt, M., N. (2013) The Syrian Intervention: Assessing the possible International law justifications, International law studies, 89.
USAID. (2014) No lost generation, achieved at http://www.usaid.gov, (accessed on 12 March 2014).
Wedeman, B. (2014) CNN Exclusive: Videos show brutality of radical group ISIS in Syria, achieved at http://www.edition.cnn.com, (accessed on 17 February 2014).

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