By M.C. Linthoingambee
How long are we willing to gamble human lives at hand? Haven’t we already learnt from our past mistakes? The answer is an undeniable ‘No’, for many still choose to play with humanity to a number of invariable crimes. Of all such recent mishaps, the ongoing killing spree in Syria is of grave matter. One cannot help but wonder if things would ever come back to normal for many Syrian lives. While an unofficial US investigation team has recounted the killings of numerous lives through chemical weapons in the outskirts of Damascus in Syria, the US has sought to military intervene against the regime of Syrian President, Bashar Assad wherein seeking alliance with many other states while receiving negative results. Following reports of alleged chemical weapon attacks on August 21, 2013, in Eastern and Western Ghouta near Damascus; the United States, Britain, France, and other countries are assessing options for military intervention in Syria. But will this intervention be a solution or the start of further war crimes? Will they outline the demarcation provided for by the ideology of sovereignty or is it just a ploy to start another massive outbreak? The citizens have suffered enough; they need a miracle of peace and not the dynamism of states showcasing weapons of war against each other. Today, Syria faces a crisis at hand, with a gross violation of human rights with an outbreak of massive turmoil of crime against humanity. Though we say we learn from our mistakes, history has depicted enough for us to understand the evils of repeated crimes.
Going back, let us find the origins of the graveness of human rights violation in the Nuremberg Trails where the amount of killing sprees within the timeframe of the Nazis regime has left many bewildered and baffled as a sudden outrage of holocaust was carried on in the events of the post World- War II Conflict. Article 6 of the main UN Charter was drafted to include not only traditional war crimes and crimes against peace so as to mean the evils of “Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated”.
The United Nations has been primarily responsible for the prosecution of crimes against humanity since it was chartered in 1948. The International Criminal Court (ICC) was organized by the Rome Statute and the UN has delegated several crimes against humanity cases to the ICC. Because these cases were referred to the ICC by the UN, the ICC has broad authority and jurisdiction for these cases resulted in from some of the worst tragedies of war crimes ever reported. However, if the ICC acts without a UN referral it lacks the broad jurisdiction to prosecute crimes against humanity, and cannot prosecute many cases, particularly if they occur outside of ICC-member nations. The most recent one being dated in 2005 when the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was tried for genocide (it is form of killing with the intent of exterminating a particular ethnic or a tribe, refer to the Rwanda Genocide), crimes against humanity and war crimes in 2008 through a special referral of the present case in the ICC with recommendations of the United Nations.
Currently, there is a political crisis whilst determining the fate of stranded civilians in the Syria issue: while the US wants to intervene militarily, several other states have condemned these actions. Russia on the other hand is strongly opposed to the idea as are several countries like France, Germany, etc. Despite aid from several international organizations, the turmoil continues to heat up with the World Health Organizations reporting the lack of medical aid, medical supply and poor conditions in several hospitals. The possibility of a heavy bloodshed looms over the country of Syria, where there is still an ongoing armed conflict which began with protests against the government during the Arab Spring around 2011. Of late, even with the preparations of several measures to tackle the human rights situation in Syria, there have been no results on this front. Many Syrians have become homeless in these events and they are currently seeking refuge under the wings of neighboring countries. But the fear of another bloodbath between the Syrian refugees and the locals of the neighboring countries looms as they too have closed the gates of the border fences. And even as there is need for more effective aid missions, the use of further arms in these regions is definitely not the right answer.
(M.C. Linthoingambee is an undergraduate pursuing B.Com. LL.B(H). An avid blogger, poet, a seasonal artist and a foodie, she is also a life member to the Indian Society of the Red Cross.)