Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Syria and WMD diplomatic plan: the 'light touch regulation' of crimes against humanity

When dealing with a murderer, no legal jurisdiction in the world would think it adequate merely to remove the weapon from the criminal before sending him on his way. It is bizarre then that so many commentators have greeted the idea of international control and destruction of the Assad regime's weapons of mass destruction as a panacea. It is a shocking indictment of the international community in the year 2013 that such virtue is ascribed to the 'light touch regulation' of crimes against humanity.

If the plan gains ground, we are likely to witness this decade's version of the cat-and-mouse game that Saddam Hussein played with the UN inspectors throughout the '90s and early 2000s. We are very likely to be faced with the same fundamental question in a few months or a few years: what, if anything, should the international community do to a) punish and deter the use of WMDs in this day and age; and b) protect basic human rights of civilians (especially 'the right to life, liberty and security of person' as per Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The world and he West seems keen on a policy of deliberate inaction, which is likely to be shown to be increasingly untenable if the Syrian regime continues to kill civilians using conventional or unconventional means. That is unless the world truly wants to ignore hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths in the way it did in places like Darfur, Bosnia or Rwanda. 

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