To this date, any attempt at describing Assad’s war against the majority Sunni population in major swaths of the country as genocide is met with such pushback by all sorts of people, even though in certain towns and villages, the massacres did lead to the elimination of the local Sunni population, through massacres that did not spear women and children, and ethnic cleansing. Moreover, eliminating the local Sunni population was clearly the intention here. So, legally speaking, there is a case for the claim that the pro-Assad militias are guilty of “acts of genocide.” ISIS seems intent on perpetrating such acts as well.
I wish to heavens this title was nothing more than drivel. But it isn’t. Reports that the White House is seriously considering cooperating with Assad are the bread and butter of Washingtonian policy circles these days. And I did attend the event organized by the Atlantic Council featuring Ambassador Stephen Rapp, the State Department’s ambassador-at-large for War Crimes and director of the Office of Global Criminal Justice, and he did indeed say that the atrocities being perpetrated today by Assad and his loyalist militias and security apparatuses are the “worst since the Nazis.”
A message to Assad ahead of Geneva 2: prepare to leave office willingly, or you will be prosecuted for war crimes. The problem with this message is that the messenger, be it the UN or the international community at large, has no credibility. Previous behavior patterns indicate a willingness to back down in the face of impunity.
On July 29, 2012, the “I am Syria” campaign was launched as “a neutral campaign, politically, religiously, and militarily, to express support and solidarity for the people of Syria and victims of the conflict in the area.” The campaign was launched as a joint effort between the the Summer Institute for Human Rights and Genocide Studies in Buffalo. Impunity Watch, and the Tharwa Foundation. You can follow the Campaign on Facebook and Twitter. Though I was chosen as the President of the Campaign, it is in fact the brainchild of my vice-president and friend, Professor David Crane, the founding Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (2002-05). Video below.