Thursday, April 19, 2012

Lebanese Lawyers File Lawsuit against Syria's Assad at ICC

Naharnet reports that Lebanese lawyers are filing a lawsuit against Syria's President Assad with the International Criminal Court.
Lebanese lawyers representing Syrian refugees in northern Lebanon filed a lawsuit to the first chief prosecutor of the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) Luis Moreno-Ocampo against Syrian President Bashar Assad, the Kuwaiti al-Anba newspaper reported on Thursday.

The refugees accused Assad, who is the supreme commander of the Syrian Army and armed forces, and his accomplices of committing “murders, war crimes, genocides and crimes against humanity” in Syria since the March 2010 uprising against the regime.

“Over a year ago, peaceful protests kicked off in Syria demanding freedom and democracy… But Assad gave instructions to the army to launch a crackdown on protesters and to commit mass murder and massacres which caused the death of 12,000 unarmed Syrian people,” the refugees said in their complaint.

According to al-Anba, the complaint was supported with evidence including videos, filmed confessions, photos, witness statements and written documents to prove the validity of these crimes.

Lebanese lawyer Tariq Shandab, who is head of the legal center to protect the rights of refugees and one of the lawyers representing the Syrian refugees, said that “the complaint was supported with valid evidence… that condemns the regime.”

He told al-Anba that the “crimes committed by the Syrian regime are far more dangerous than those committed by former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.”

Shandab stressed that the legal suit will be followed up legally “until the victims and their families receive their rights and justice is fully achieved.”

According to the U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR, there are around 16,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
I'm not sure how exactly justice will be served, even if the ICC addresses this quickly and positively.

Back in July 2010, Human Rights Watch noted that Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir was wanted for war crimes:
The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant on July 12, 2010, for President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan for genocide committed in Darfur. An earlier arrest warrant for al-Bashir was issued in March 2009 by the ICC for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.
You may have noted that al-Bashir is still president of Sudan--this in spite of the fact that the arrest warrant for al-Bashir is supported by NATO, the Genocide Intervention Network, and Amnesty International.

The Arabs have made it clear that they have no problem with al-Bashir, and have been less than forceful when dealing with Assad.

It remains to be seen whether the ICC can both find Assad guilty of war crimes and actually do something about it afterwards.

Hat tip: IMRA

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