Saturday, 14 April 2018

Syria - some links

The use of chemical weapons in Douma, Syria has, rightly, been met with disgust.  Fundamental human morality undoubtedly demands action against those responsible.  The governments of the USA, UK and France considered the Syrian government to be responsible and, in consequence, undertook air strikes against selected targets in Syria.  The United Nations Security Council failed to adopt three resolutions on the use of chemical weapons in Syria - UN News 10th April.

A difficult question is whether, as a matter of international law, the air strikes are lawful.

A further question is whether the UK government was entitled to act without the prior approval of Parliament.

The following links touch upon those difficult questions.  At this stage I offer the links without additional comment.  Many more links can be found.

Press coverage:

Egypt Today 10th April - Analysis: Why US won't leave Syria, impact of Douma chemical attack

Middle East Eye 12th April - Douma Attacks: What we know and what world powers have told us

The Guardian 13th April - Syria chemical attack: weapons inspectors to investigate site


UK Government:

International Law:

Opinio Juris - The coming attack on Syria will be unlawful

Lawfareblog 14th April 2018 - Bad legal arguments for the Syria Air Strikes

Lawfareblog 14th April 2018 - Do the Syrian strikes herald a new norm of International Law?

Lawfareblog 10th April 2018 - The Down sides of Bombing Syria 

Responsibility to Protect - does not remove the need for UNSC to authorise force

A perpective on the use of the veto at the UN Security Council

Professor Dapo Akande - Professor of Public International Law Oxford - Opinion requested by Mr Tom Watson MP (Labour)

Parliamentary authority or debate?

Cabinet Manual - see para 5.38 - "In 2011, the Government acknowledged that a convention had developed in Parliament that before troops were committed the House of Commons should have an opportunity to debate the matter and said that it proposed to observe that convention except when there was an emergency and such action would not be appropriate."

See Hansard 10th March 2011 (Col 1066) where the then Leader of the House of Commons (Sir George Young MP) said -"

"A convention has developed in the House that before troops are committed, the House should have an opportunity to debate the matter. We propose to observe that convention except when there is an emergency and such action would not be appropriate. As with the Iraq war and other events, we propose to give the House the opportunity to debate the matter before troops are committed."

Parliament's role in conflict decisions: a way forward - Political and Constitutional Reform Committee 12th Report 20th March 2014

Law Society Gazette 6th October 2014 - Joshua Rozenberg - Lost prerogative.

2014 - Letter from UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee on Humanitarian Intervention and the Responsibility to Protect

Prime Minister's Statement 16th April:

In a Statement to Parliament, the PM addressed her decision to take military action.  Debate followed.

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