Law Scholars Debate Legality of Syria Attack

, The National Law Journal


With the possibility of military action against Syria looming, constitutional scholars are debating whether the president must first get approval from Congress to legally launch an attack.

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What's being said

  • Matt Soper, AB, LLB, LLM

    This article fails to address the International legal aspects of military intervention.

    Under the UN Charter, states may only use force in two instances: self-defence or when the Security Council has authorized force to maintain or restore international peace and security.

    Here, Syria has not attacked American citizens, assets, or allies; nor has the Security Council authorized the use of force. The Syrian government is merely engaging in an internal conflict to suppress rebels.

    Additionally, Customary International law would allow Syrian government officials, such as Assad, to be prosecuted for crimes against humanity and the use of chemical weapons, even though Syria has not become a party to the Genocide, Torture, or Ban on Chemical Weapons conventions.

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