A project at Syracuse University’s Law School is monitoring potential war crimes in Syria. The Syrian Accountability Project has a report out on some of the most violent and deadly incidents, allegedly carried out by the government against its own citizens.
Many of us followed in horror of the chemical attacks leveled at civilians in Syria last month. But Zach Lucas, Executive Director of the Syrian Accountability Project, has been following such atrocities for months. The group has a white paper out about finding six types of incidents against innocent civilians.
“From use of chemical weapons, use of barrel bombs, a nasty type of improvised explosive device dropped from helicopters, to indiscriminate shelling general, dragging war planes out every single day and just bombing neighborhoods. We also found extra=judicial killings, attacks on hospitals and the aid convoys on September 19th (2016).”
They were investigating the siege of Aleppo… and also found another tactic – not allowing civilians a way to leave.
“The way the Syrian government has done it for the past six and-a-half years, the way it’s been carried out has just been awful, to say the least. There’s no distinguishing between a combatant on the ground and a lawful target, and just a child, for instance that’s just in their neighborhood trying to play.”
Lucas says their work can show investigators where to look for evidence and witnesses in preparation for a war crimes trial against Syrian Leader Bashar Al-Assad and others. S-U Law Professor and project leader David Crane is confident justice will be served…if not so optimistic about the country’s future.
“We’ll get Assad eventually; there’ll be a knock at his door someday. But the area around Syria, known as the Levant, it’s destroyed. It will take a generation. It is now a part of the world the U.N. is only going to be able to manage. At this point it’s almost ungovernable.”
Crane wants the findings of the Syrian Accountability Project out to shed light on what he calls the horror of the situation there.
“Urge your congress to be aware of Syria, to talk about Syria, to read about Syria, but also to urge the administration to continue a dialogue, try to make a peace in Syria. But also, if Syria goes off the reservation by using chemical weapons again, that we will punch them in the nose and that we will use cruise missiles. So that will make them hesitate the next time they do it.”
Crane and Lucas say a United Nations Office has been set up to investigate war crimes in Syria. Crane adds going after of Assad could mirror the case of Charles Taylor of Liberia, whom Crane successfully prosecuted and is now in prison on Great Britain.