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2016 | IRIN, Syria war crimes - A guide for navigating the legal minefield - What justice might look like and why “genocide” is an unhelpful label

This short contribution has the aim to explain some concepts of international law, and its application to the Syrian conflict. Firstly, it explains that the killings in Syria can  most likely –due to the very narrow legal definition – not be classified as genocide. Nevertheless, it is often used by NGO’s. as it draws attention to the severity of a situation. The article classifies the Syrian conflict as an armed conflict, but does not draw any conclusions on whether it is an internal or international. It does note that war crimes are definitely committed, but that it depends on the type of conflict what can be classified as a war crime in a legal context.
Also, persecution for these crimes in the International Criminal Court (ICC) will not be an option as Syria is not a member of this court. The remaining option is that of persecution in other states, based on universal jurisdiction.
For persecution – regardless of on what ground this will be – large amounts of evidence has been collected.