The Nuremberg Principles and Syria—Obama’s Debacle in Syria — Update #5


U.N. Security Council

For earlier articles on Syria by The Trenchant Observer, see the Articles on Syria page.

If Russia and China want to continue to embolden al-Assad in the commission of such crimes by vetoing a Security Council resolution conferring jusrisdiction on the ICC at this time, let them do so, in a public session.

Let them reveal to the world, on the record, for all history, that they do not endorse the Nuremberg Principles, and necessary actions by the Security Council to bring them to bear in the Syrian case. Let the world know fully, unequivocally, that China and Russia have been and are supporting al-Assad’s commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

If China and Russia do not understand how they have burned their bridges with the peoples and governments of the Middle East, and the new generations represented by the Arab Spring which aspire to achieve democracy and the rule of law, at least let us in the rest of the world, and in the domestic populations of China and Russia, look that reality in the face.

At the same time, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Turkey and all other states which are in a position to bring military force to bear should proceed to develop military options which can be executed on short notice, if the Butcher of Homs does not stop the killing in Syria.

The Principles of Nuremberg captured the lessons learned in World War II following the massive commission of crimes against humanity and war crimes by Adolph Hitler under the Third Reich.

In reflecting on the situation in Syria, and the passivity of the international community in the face of the continuing commission of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and other widespread grave commissions of fundamental human rights, it is well worth reading those principles again today–and tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow.

The Nuremberg Principles established the following:

Principles of the Nuremberg Tribunal, 1950

Principles of International Law Recognized in the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal and in the Judgment of the Tribunal. Adopted by the International Law Commission of the United Nations, 1950.

Principle I
Any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefor and liable to punishment.

Principle II
The fact that internal law does not impose a penalty for an act which constitutes a crime under international law does not relieve the person who committed the act from responsibility under international law.

Principle III
The fact that a person who committed an act which constitutes a crime under international law acted as Head of State or responsible Government official does not relieve him from responsibility under international law.

Principle IV
The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.

Principle V
Any person charged with a crime under international law has the right to a fair trial on the facts and law.

Principle Vl
The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under; international law:

a.  Crimes against peace:
i. Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;
ii. Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).

b.   War crimes:
Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave-labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or illtreatment of prisoners of war, of persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.

c.   Crimes against humanity:
Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhuman acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime.

Principle VII
Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principles VI is a crime under international law.

–Principles of the Nuremberg Tribunal, 1950
No. 82
Introductory note: Under General Assembly Resolution 177 (II), paragraph (a), the International Law Commission was directed to “formulate the principles of international law recognized in the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal and in the judgment of the Tribunal.” In the course of the consideration of this subject, the question arose as to whether or not the Commission should ascertain to what extent the principles contained in the Charter and judgment constituted principles of international law. The conclusion was that since the Nuremberg Principles had been affirmed by the General Assembly, the task entrusted to the Commission was not to express any appreciation of these principles as principles of international law but merely to formulate them. The text below was adopted by the Commission at its second session. The Report of the Commission also contains commentaries on the principles (see Yearbook of the Intemational Law Commission, 1950, Vol. II, pp. 374-378).
Authentic text: English Text published in Report of the International Law Commission Covering its Second Session, 5 June-29 Duly 1950, Document A/1316, pp. 11-14.

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Index
WWW URL: http://deoxy.org/wc-nurem.htm
The Commission of Inquiry for the International War Crimes Tribunal

***

The questions for the international community are:

1. Are you going to apply the Nuremberg principles in the case of Syria?
2. Are you going to stop the ongoing commission of crimes against humanity and war crimes in Syria?
3. When are you going to stop the commission of crimes against humanity and war crimes in Syria?
4. What are you going to do to punish those responsible for the commission of crimes against humanity and war crimes in Syria?
5. Are you going to refer the investigation and punishment of crimes against humanity and war crimes to the International Criminal Court (ICC), through the adoption by the U.N. Security Council of a resolution under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter?
6. When are you going to refer the investigation and punishment of the crimes against humanity and war crimes which have been and are being committed by the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria to the International Criminal Court?

***

Referral to the ICC is the least the U.N. Security Council might do, now, today. Such a resolution, which has been called for by many including the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Palli, should be brought to discussion in a public session of the Security Council and put to a vote, now. Today.


If Russia and China want to continue to embolden al-Assad in the commission of such crimes by vetoing a Security Council resolution conferring jusrisdiction on the ICC at this time, let them do so, in a public session.

Let them reveal to the world, on the record, for all history, that they do not endorse the Nuremberg Principles, and the taking of necessary actions by the Security Council to bring them to bear in the Syrian case. Let the world know fully, unequivocally, that China and Russia have been and are supporting al-Assad’s commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

If China and Russia do not understand how they have burned their bridges with the peoples and governments of the Middle East, and the new generations represented by the Arab Spring which aspire to achieve democracy and the rule of law, at least let us in the rest of the world, and in the domestic populations of China and Russia, look that harsh reality in the face.

At the same time, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Turkey, and all other states which are in a position to bring military force to bear should proceed to develop military options which can be executed on short notice, if the Butcher of Homs does not stop the killing in Syria.

The Trenchant Observer

observer@trenchantobserver.com
twitter.com/trenchantobserv


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