Is there legal basis for military intervention in Syria?
Alleged chemical weapons attacks against civilians by the Syrian regime look set to trigger a US-led military response. With Russia and China opposed, the UN Security Council will not give its backing, raising questions about the legal basis for military intervention.
The BBC’s legal correspondent Clive Coleman says there is a developing legal framework for possible military action on humanitarian grounds. Here, a series of experts give their views on the legal basis for a military strike in the absence of a UN resolution.
There has never been any need for a Security Council resolution approving action to stop, punish or deter a crime against humanity.
Before the UN or League of Nations were established there were well-recognised situations where action was taken against piracy, against slavery.
More recently, we have action taken by Nato to stop ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. That did not require a UN resolution, which Russia would have blocked.
If Russia wants to render [prevent military] action against Syria, for a crime against humanity of using chemical weapons to mass murder its own people, then it must bring a motion of condemnation in the Security Council, as it tried to do with Kosovo.
It failed, getting only three votes, so Nato action in that case is regarded as legitimate. So was the Nato use of force to create safe havens in Iraq in the 1990s.
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Category: World News |