LETTER FROM THE SECRETARY-‐GENERAL: Hello again, I am Sreekar Reddy, a fourth year mechanical engineering student of CBIT, I was introduced to MUNs at CBIT beginning as a director in the 2011 edition and currently serving my second term as Secretary General of this great conference , needless to say it is indeed an honour and a privilege. For two years we have stood up and redefined MUN conferences in India, For two years we have led the way with innovation. We wanted to deliver a phenomenon We wanted to be the difference. For two editions now we have been and done all that but we come back for the third time promising the same and even more. When a team creates something spectacular it leaves a greater responsibility in the hands of the next team, it leaves a legacy, a legacy that must continue. Moving forward with this responsibility on our shoulders we would assure the participants who have supported us since 2011 that the best is yet to come and to those who have missed the last two editions we would like to tell you that its never too late to be a part of something that shall become a collection of memories to cherish. To put it simply, hello delegate, welcome to CBITMUN. Sreekar Reddy Secretary General CBITMUN
LETTER FROM THE JUDGE : Hello
I am Harshavardhan Ganesan, a fourth year law student of ILS Law Pune, and the sole judge at this year's ICC at CBITMUN. I welcome you all and look forward to a very exciting couple of days. MUNs for me have always been more than just break night parties or meeting new people, it always gave me the chance to learn, innovate and push myself to the limits, which is what I hope to do at the council as well. The Procedure Guide will show you that the ICC has a separate format, which is quite distinct from other councils in the MUN. Please make yourselves with the Procedure Guide, as well as use the Study guide to further enrich your knowledge. I assure you, with proper dedication and research, the ICC at CBITMUN, will be the best council you have ever been a part of. To put it simply, hello counsel, welcome to CBITMUN. Harshavardhan Judge
INTRODUCTION: ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world’ -‐Mahatma Gandhi . Today, well into the 21st Century, people still seem to be heeding that advice. The ‘Arab Spring’, as it has been coined, is the struggle of tens of thousands of Arab youth to see their world change. They’re venting their dissatisfaction against the rule in their countries, against the lack of opportunities to a better life. These rants have not been quiet. These rants have echoed all through the world and now, everyone seems to be fighting their cause. The governments of these states wish to deal with things their way, preserving their sovereignty. Now these ‘ways’ have worried Human Rights watchdogs the world over. Amid reports of brutal crimes being committed on their soil, crimes that strip an individual of his dignity, of his right to expression, the Arab leaders have a lot to answer for. Or, do they? The world as a whole has never been closer. But does that give the international committee the right to interfere, to overrule the Head of states on their own soil? Derision will always be a part of a growing world and there’ll always be those opposed to a certain decision, a certain
rule. So does this warrant impeaching the sovereign right of states embroiled in unrest, thereby terming their governments incompetent of improving things? The International Criminal Court has been convened to decide if Saif al-‐Islam Gaddafi (Libya) and Bashar al-‐Assad (Syria) have abused their powers and meted out inhumane treatments to their own citizens, or been victimised for vested interests by unverified reports. If found guilty, what is the punishment that would befit the crime? If not,they deserve to be absolved of all blame and need to be trusted to make decisions keeping in mind the best interests of their people.
Prosecutor vs. Bashar al-‐Assad
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM: The Syrian Arab Republic has been embroiled in intense violence and bloodshed since 2011. Any opposition has been dealt with by fierce military action, making thousands of innocent civilians scapegoats to the raging civil war. The UN has reported 9000 deaths and 14000 detainees so far, a far cry from the government’s official figure of 3338 deaths-‐ 2493 civilians and 1345 soldiers. The six-‐point peace plan suggested by former UN Secretary-‐ General Kofi Annan too, has failed to reap dividends. Any possibility of talks between the warring sides is stalemated, the opposition wants a complete overhaul of the regime, while Assad is only ready to anything that involves him staying on. It is high time the crisis is dealt with. It is time someone is made accountable to the lives lost. How long can the international community stay mute while refugees keep piling up, while people of the world are stripped of their right to live. The ICC has been convened to decide whether or not Bashar al-‐Assad is guilty of the deaths and torture of Syrians trapped in the incessant, brutal violence. The idea of making a Head of State responsible for crimes committed on his own soil is not completely preposterous ,what with the ICC almost done with the trial of Laurent Gbagbo of Cote D’ Ivoire or the Ivory Coast and the referral of Saif al-‐Islam Gaddafi, though not the Head of State but wielding poxy powers through his father’s rule, for Crimes against Humanity on Libyan soil. What now lies before the court is on the face simple decision of innocence or guilt masking the more complex issue of sovereignty or international accountability. If the allegations against Assad prove true, the decision gets tougher-‐ Is the Head of State within his
rights to completely put down civil unrest as he deems fit ? Or must there be a limit imposed by international institutions based on the laws of human rights, of dignity, and of democracy? For media coverage on the unrest in Syria, refer http://edition.cnn.com/SPECIALS/middleeast/syria-‐unrest/
Syria over the years: Syria was created by the French in 1920 and remained in their control till after the World War II in 1946, when the French troops finally withdrew. After this, Syria struggled for nearly two decades with its political turmoil. The major challenges Syria faced during this time frame were ethnic division and the political instability. The population in Syria is more or less similar to other Middle Eastern countries. 90% of 22.5 million inhabitants of the state are ethnic Arabs, followed by 9% of Kurds and small minorities of Armenians, Circassians and Turkmens. The sectarian religious differences seem to be more important for the current situation in Syria as these previously determined the political orientation of the ruling regime. Over 70% of the population are Sunni Muslims who form the majority community in Syria. Furthermore there are Alawites (12%), Druze (4%) and a small minority of Ismailis who Originate from the Shia branch of the Islamic religion. The Christian minority plays also an important role with about 10% members of the total Syrian population. Understandably, during the early years Syria was under the control of the Sunnis. The Ba’ath revolution put an end to the rule of Sunni urban elite and instead included people from all other minor sectors in the country. The Ba’ath party established by Hafez al-‐Assad solved the problem of political instability. It gained support from the security forces and from all the other minor sects of Syria. Assad overtook the regime in November 1970. The main policy which he followed was Secularism. He strived for nearly three decades to uplift Syria from a weak, ineffectual entity lacking legitimacy to a regional powerhouse led by a strong and stable regime, respected both at home and abroad. Hafez built up his regime with most of the officials from his Alawite community and a few from the other sects who he thought were loyal. He gave equal importance to the minority population by providing them economic reforms and giving them the right to state their views. He gave assurance to other sects of people by establishing various organizations like the worker’s Union and farmer’s Union, thereby legitimising his regime and guaranteeing himself support from various sectors.
He established an authoritarian rule for over 30 years. Syria progressed under his rule in the seventies. Any critics of his policies were easily suppressed. Major challenges arose in the late seventies, when the Sunni Muslims became fed up of the secular policies implemented by Hafez. In 1980, an assassination of Hafez thwarted. This was a result of not only religious differences between the Alawite regime and the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood, but also of the level of repression imposed by the Assad regime on the opposition.Any opposition activities have been made impossible and have faced harsh responses by the regime . Hafez tried to suppress the dissent using military force. He succeeded in doing so by crushing the members of Muslim Brotherhood in the city of Hama and this was a called the HAMA Massacre leaving many civilians dead and wounded. It was one of the most tragic massacres in Syria’s checkered history. During the nineties, Hafez had to face a lot of problems he couldn’t handle and though attempts were made to cope up with the exploding globalization, he failed miserably. This led Syria back into a pitiable position with problems like poverty and unemployment. The GDP of the country fell down drastically. Bashar al-‐Assad overtook the regime on 26 June 2000. At 34, critics argued that he was far too young and inexperienced to lead a state in turmoil. They claimed that he was chosen only due to lack of viable options. Nevertheless, he secured 97.29% majority and his candidacy was accepted. Bashar faced severe problems of economy and dissent over the last 13 years of his rule and is today asked by most of the international community to step down in light of various human rights atrocities being carried out on Syrian soil. During his inaugural speech in 2000 he famously quoted, “I shall try my very best to lead our country towards a future that fulfills the hopes and legitimate ambitions of people.” This statement proved ironic. The people’s hopes not only remain unfulfilled but they are dashed as the political situation worsened into what the Human Rights Watch would term as a “wasted decade.” Al-‐Assad still has Syria under state-‐controlled media, a monitored internet and prisons filled with dissidents.
WHY THE UNREST? With everything happening in Syria, it is easy to lose track of what sparked off the agitations in the first place. Was it just the phenomena of the ‘Arab Spring’ or was there long-‐standing resentment and suppressed dissatisfaction?
The dissent started due to economic challenges caused by demographic crisis, poor family planning , negative economic growth, crumbling infrastructure and welfare system, accelerated urbanization and rising unemployment.Although Syria’s GDP expanded, Bashar cut subsidies to the poorest and monopolized government contracts, giving them to members of his Alawite community. The excesses of capitalism became obvious and fuelled resentment among the Sunni youth. He increased imports, stimulated investments, developed banking services and attempted to create a common Arab common market to integrate Syria in the world’s economy. According to the official Presidential website, he has built free-‐trade zones, licensed private newspapers and universities, fought government waste and corruption, and brought about social and economic reform. The entire time though, the Ba’ath party’s socialist roots hindered maximum progress in what had essentially become a free market economy. The Syrian regime in response launched a brutal crackdown on the agitators. They claim that the opposition forces are disguised terrorists, trying to destabilise the state. Four days after revoking the emergency rule in April 2011, the Syrian regime sent hundreds of troops into Daraa for a wide-‐scale crackdown. Since then, the agitations have transitioned into an intense civil war between the regime and armed rebels, many of whom have defected from the army. By the summer of 2012, the violence gripped the entire country, including capital city Damascus and Syria’s largest city Aleppo. The Ba’ath Party has been ruling Syria for 4 decades now, and the citizens have finally had enough.Today, Assad is at the centre of a violent uprising that has caught the attention of the entire world.In reponse, Assad ended the 48-‐year old state of emergency in April 2011 and passed by referendum, a new constitution calling for multiparty elections in February 2012, but still refuses to step down, which is the bone of contention with the rebel factions. The military troops continue to fire at will and detain and torture protesters . CNN media report: http://edition.cnn.com/2012/08/24/world/meast/syria-‐101/index.html
THE DEMANDS: To put it simply, the demands of the protesters and Assad’s response to them have been as follows: Fall of the regime: There has been no clear intention that al-‐Assad intends to step down. He refuses to negotiate any solution that involves him to abdicate his position as the Head of State.
End to the 48-‐year emergency law: The law was revoked on 21 April 2011, but Syrian forces continue to fire upon, arrest, and detain civilians. Immediate end to extrajudicial killings and torture: The President has rejected UN allegations of Syrian security forces committing crimes against humanity such as rape, torture, killings, and deprivations of liberty. He claims reports to be exaggerated, biased and formulated by sources with vested interests and plays down the number of casualties. Release of political prisoners: Amnesties were offered in May 2011, June 2011, and January 2012. Officials have released thousands but at least 37,000 still remain in custody, according to human rights activists. Transition to a free, democratic pluralist society: On 26 February 2012, voters approved by referendum a new constitution establishing a multi-‐party government that limited the president to two seven year terms. On 14 March 2012, al-‐Assad announced parliamentary elections for 7 May 2012. The opposition has rejected these proposals, desiring a more rapid turnover and the stepping down of al-‐Assad.
BLOW-‐BY-‐BLOW: The protests were caused by longstanding lack of satisfaction, but the Arab Spring fever certainly added fuel to the fire. The use of social networking sites like Facebook, Youtube and Twitter by Syrian youth saw a sudden rise, and regional slogans such as “the people demand the end of the regime” became wildly popular.When Libyans succeeded in ousting General Muammar Gaddafi from leadership, the Syrians decided to do the same, using the pre-‐Ba’ath national flag as their identifying banner. January 2011: Hasan Ali Akleh sets himself afire, venting dissatisfaction at the regime. This triggers the whole uprising in Syria. March 15th 2011, Deraa: Demonstrations start in Deraa , sparked by arrest of a group of teenagers who were accused of drawing political graffiti with oppositional narrative. Killing of a few demonstrators by the security forces invoked anger and the protests gradually spread across the country. Demonstrators demanded the release of political prisoners, but were shot dead by security forces, triggering unrest that has now gripped the Syrian Arab Republic.
March 29 2011: The Syrian government resigns, with Assad staying on and electing the new government. This does not satiate the protesters. April 19 2011: The Emergency Law is formally lifted as a concession to the protesters. Four days after this though, hundreds of troops were sent to Daraa on a wide-‐scale crackdown. Soldiers continue to fire at will and detain protesters. April 22 2011, Deraa: Troops in Deraa crack down on protesters, killing more than 70 of them. June 3-‐6 2011, Jisr Al-‐Shughouur: Tens of security forces are killed by armed gangs in Jisr Al-‐Shughour. This incident indicated that the protests changed into an armed conflict. 3-‐6 June 2011, Turkey: The Syrian Government states that nearly 120 Military personnel were killed in north-‐western town of Jisr al-‐Shughour.It also stated that the government is facing a armed revolution than a peaceful demonstration. October 3 2011: The opposition bloc Syrian National Council is formed. November 12 2011: The Arab League suspends Syria stating that it failed to implement Arab peace plan and imposed sanctions. January 2012, Damascus: Almost 7000 rebels put down, by the Syrian national troops in a small suburb outside Damascus. These rebels led by Riyad al-‐Assad were poorly armed and trained. February 26, 2012: The constitution referendum is held with voters approving the open political competition. February -‐ March 2012, Homs: Syrian forces crack down on the city of Homs with heavy bombardment and the death toll estimated at 700 .
March 16, 2012: The Kofi Annan Peace Plan for Syria is submitted to the UN April 16 2012: The first UN observers, a group of just six, begin to work to monitor the situation on the ground as part of the Annan peace plan. Their numbers increased to nearly 300 over the following weeks, but with violence continuing to escalate they suspended their work on 16 June. May 7, 2012: Syrian parliamentary elections are held and boycotted by the opposition. The Ba’ath party wins by a vast majority. July 18, 2012 Damascus: Syrian defense minister Daoud Rajiha and his deputy (Bashar al-‐Assad’s brother-‐in-‐law) are killed in a suicidal attack. It showed that the opposition was able to get closer to the regime officials. The protests continued further, despite the Syrian army being deployed in most of the rebellious cities. The regime continued a violent crackdown on protesters and began arresting anti-‐regime activists in their homes in one neighbourhood of Homs. Syrian troops raided dormitories of the Aleppo University, in a bid to stop the anti-‐ Assad protests towards the end of 2011. This resulted in the death of 4 students. Contrary to rebel belief,the FSA is referred to as a terrorist group by the Syrian government, which cites instances of FSA lining up and executing point-‐blank believed “regime supporters” in a mock “drumhead trial” based on Sharia law. FSA has also been linked to al-‐Qaeda according to several sources, several of which report a video of FSA leaders brandishing CIA-‐furnished AK-‐ 47s with al-‐Qaeda flags in the background. Joseph Holiday, an analyst with the Institute for the Study of War summarizes this murky scenario: “The emergence of Al Qaeda-‐linked terrorist cells working against the regime poses risks to the United States and a challenge to those calling for material support of the armed opposition. It’s something to keep an eye out for, the convergence of Iraq and Syria. As the Syrian government loses the ability to project force on the periphery of its territory, what you’re going to see is an emboldened Sunni opposition emerging in Nineveh and Iraq.”
The consequence of violence and multiple sanctions from the West and the Arab League is that the Syrian economy has practically come to a halt. Their two most profitable industries—oil and tourism—are at a complete standstill. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Syria’s economy contracted by 2% in 2011, with an unemployment rate of 20% and inflation at 11% by March 2012. The Syrian pound has plummeted by more than 60% to the dollar. In February, the government doubled customs duties, raising both prices and the prevalence of smuggling. In Damascus and elsewhere, necessities such as milk, electricity and oil are scarce. As the violence continues unabated, many researchers claim that the conflict has transitioned from a simple demonstration for democracy to a more complex geopolitical proxy war against Iran, Syria’s long time ally. Sectarian complications resulting from a fight between the Sunni Muslim majority and the minority non-‐Muslim Alawite elite, also have repercussions for sparking Hezbollah violence in Lebanon and Iran. So far, the militant Hezbollah group from Lebanon has been known to be supportive of the regime. They are alleged to have carried out crimes against humanity on the behest of the government. The regime continues to receive arms and ammunition from allies like Russia and Iran, who claim that an Arms treaty between them is why they do so. The radicalization of protests is certainly fueled by the government’s quick resort to violence, which poses forth the thought of why the government has caused so many deaths—ranging from harsh military interventions to killings at victims’ funerals—when they could have made some reforms early on, when protests were still peaceful. While many in the regime dissent to the violence, most still believe, to some degree, al-‐Assad’s claim that this is another dissident movement like the one his father put down in the 1980s with brute violence: the rebellion by the Muslim Brotherhood. The blame is frequently placed by the regime on “terrorist groups” rather than peaceful civilian protesters. What’s worse is that the opposition remains weak and divided into many sectors and the international community is struggling to come up with a stronger response, due to the support Syria enjoys from major players such as Russia, China, and Iran while Assad enjoys a fiercely loyal army and support from the elite sectors of the population-‐ like Christians, Alawites and businessmen. Due to “increasing militarization on the ground” and “clear lack of unity” at the U.N Security Council, Kofi Annan resigned as the U.N and Arab League Joint Special Envoy to Syria. http://edition.cnn.com/2012/08/02/world/meast/syria-‐annan-‐resign/index.html CNN timeline: From uprising to civil war:
The Opposition: 1.Syrian National Coalition: The Major opposition in Syria is Syrian National Coalition (SNC).It was formed on 11 November 2012 at a conference of opposition groups held in Doha, Qatar. It consists of all the major oppositions in the Syrian crisis. It has been working since inception to overthrow the regime of Bashar al-‐Assad. SNC mostly includes the Sunni Muslims who are working against Assad. 2.National Coordination Body for Democratic Change: It is based on an opposition bloc inside Syria and includes many long-‐term dissidents, who are allegedly wary of Islamists within the SNC. Unlike SNC, the NCB is willing to negotiate with Assad’s regime and opposes foreign intervention. 3.Apart from these there are many other small ethnic groups which also play a major role in the crisis.
CHARGES AGAINST al-‐ASSAD: An advanced unedited report of the twenty-‐third session of Human Rights Council, dated 4 June 2013 encompasses the various crimes committed by the Government forces and it’s affiliated militia. http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/CoISyria/A-‐HRC-‐23-‐58_en.pdf The various crimes Assad is answerable for can be enumerated as follows: A. Crimes against Humanity: 1. Murder: A peaceful protest started in a small city in Syria called Deraa when Hasan Ali Akleh set himself afire in January 2011 to protest the Syrian government’s stalled reforms. Within a span of two months the movement gathered force and all factions began to protest against Assad’s rule. In January 2011 police shot and killed four marchers and arrested nearly 35 people. Just over a month ago, OHCHR reported that at least 92,901 people had been killed between March 2011 and the end of April 2013.
Source: file:///D:/Documents%20and%20Settings/Administrator/Desktop/un%20report.html Though Assad was the Commander in Chief of The Army he was in no position to control the situation, instead he allegedly passed orders for firing which is a clear violation of Human Rights.He can be tried under Article 7(1)(a) which falls under the category of crimes against humanity. 2. Torture: During the protests Syrian troops arrested many civilians including children and women, threw them in jails and tortured them. The Human Rights council set-‐up, a 13-‐member mission, headed by Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kyung-‐wha Kang, gathered corroborative eyewitness statements with respect to numerous summary executions which included 353 named victims and describes the inappropriate use of force by Syrian military and security forces and the way in which all the detainees were tortured by Syrian authorities. Torture became a common issue in all the detention centres and prisons. Many civilians put in these centres were kicked, slapped and verbally abused. Out of these civilians there was one who stated that “Death was far better than the torture”. This can be contested under article 7(1)(f) of The Rome Statute. Source : Article from UN news centre file:///D:/Documents%20and%20Settings/Administrator/Desktop/United%20Nations%20News %20Centre%20-‐ %20Syrian%20crackdown%20on%20protesters%20may%20amount%20to%20crimes%20agains t%20humanity%20%E2%80%93%20UN%20report.htm#.UgpDuNKmhR0 3. Enforced Disappearance of Persons : Unrest in the Syrian Arab Republic has been mounting since March 2011, leading to the displacement of tens of thousands of civilians. As of June 2012, more than 78,000 people are estimated to have fled to neighboring Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq, putting an increasing strain on the governments and host communities.Large numbers of individuals, mainly young men, were arrested by the Government and affiliated militia-‐controlled checkpoints throughout the country including in Shin, Homs, Nawa, Daraa; and in Qatana, Damascus, and held for
prolonged periods. Some were taken to unknown locations and have not been heard from since. This can be contested under Article 7(1)(k) of the Rome Statute. Source : Official UNHCR document file:///D:/Documents%20and%20Settings/Administrator/Desktop/UNHCR%20-‐ %20Syria%20Emergency%20-‐%20Background.htm 4. Inhumane acts of inflicting serious bodily injury and suffering : The Syrian government tried its level best to suppress the protest by indulging to inhumane acts of torturing civilians. The protesters were seriously injured and most of them later died. This can be tried under Article 7(1)(k) of the Rome Statute. Nearly 566 people died after being seriously injured from the month of April, 2013. Civilians fleeing the attack appear to have been targeted and killed. Eleven members of the Al-‐Itmah family and seven members of the Al-‐ Nassar family were killed when their cars were hit by shells. Source: UN report http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/CoISyria/A-‐HRC-‐23-‐58_en.pdf 5. Deprivation of Liberty : Government forces continue to use deprivation of liberty as a weapon of war, and to collectively punish localities perceived to be supporting the armed opposition. Family members of alleged armed group members are arrested and detained. Government forces routinely arrest and detain persons as punishment for exercising their basic rights. In mid-‐January, following a peaceful demonstration in Al-‐Suwayda,security forces conducted mass arrests. Some of those arrested were children as young as 12. 6. Sexual Violence: Sexual violence has been persistent throughout the conflict. There were many incidents in which women were threatened by gang rape during interrogation. Source: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/CoISyria/A-‐HRC-‐23-‐58_en.pdf
Rape and other inhumane acts, as crimes against humanity, have been committed by Government forces and affiliated militia. Rape, torture and inhumane treatment are Prosecutable. B) War crimes: 1) Massacre: [Article 8(2)(c)(i)] OHCHR reported that at least 92,901 people had been killed between March 2011 and the end of April 2013. The analysis used a rigorous methodology, confirming each casualty by name, place, and date of death, and cross-‐referenced this information with at least three separate sources of data. Out of the 92,901 individuals killed, at least 6,561 were minors, 1,729 of whom were under ten. There were nearly 17 incidents which potentially met the definition of a massacre within a time span of two months i.e. from April 2011 to May 2011. All these incidents were reported with eyewitnesses by the team from the UN. In it’s latest report, the Commission of Inquiry set-‐up by the United Nations noted that a number of incidents, potentially amounting to massacres, took place between January and May 2013,in which nearly 200 women and children were mutilated and burned. The Syrian government has been attacking various cities and killing civilians in large numbers. Many appeals have been made by The UN through various resolutions to stop the brutal killing, but the Syrian government refuses to take these into consideration. Dates on which various cities were attacked are given below: Deraa (March 27, 2011) Banias (May 7, 2011) Homs (May 9, 2011) Damascus (May 12, 2011) Source: file:///D:/Documents%20and%20Settings/Administrator/Desktop/un%20report.htm United Nations Human Rights document. A report presented by human rights council: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/CoISyria/A-‐HRC-‐23-‐58_en.pdf 2) Other Unlawful Killing: [Article 8(2)(c)(i)]
Patterns of summary execution and murder have emerged in recent times. Detained persons believed to be opposition sympathizers are the most frequent victims of such crimes. Revenge killings have become increasingly common and are a direct violation of the prohibition on reprisals. Killing civilians by sniper fire and killing of hostages and detainees when a detention centre comes under attack are noted patterns of violations by both pro and anti-‐Government groups. Nearly 200 bodies have been recovered from Aleppo’s Queiq waterway since 81 bodies were first discovered there on 29 January, 2011. Apart from these there were many people who were not identified. There were some incidents where civilians were sentenced and executed without due process. Source: A UN report 3) Cruel Treatment of civilians: [Article 8(2)(c)(i)] Government forces and affiliated militia have moved to uproot armed opposition groups from Al-‐Qusayr and Talkalakh in the Homs governorate, Aleppo, Damascus, and rural Damascus. Government forces carry on with indiscriminate and disproportionate shelling and aerial bombardments, using ,among other weapons, tactical ballistic missiles, cluster and thermobaric bombs-‐all causing extensive damage and casualties if used in densely populated areas. As a result, hundreds of civilians, including women and children were killed, thousands injured, and tens of thousands displaced. Many displaced in parts of Homs and rural Damascus remain under siege and face miserable humanitarian conditions. The cruel treatment of civilians first started when the army first attacked the city of deraa on march 27th 2011. Government forces attacked Sanamayn city, Daraa, on 10 April. Approximately 300 fighters from the opposition Martyrs of Al-‐Sanamayn Brigade were inside the city. As per observed patterns, the attack began with shelling followed by a ground invasion.Suffering from a lack of weapons and ammunition, the armed group withdrew from the city after heavy losses. Source: UN OHCHR document http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/CoISyria/A-‐HRC-‐23-‐58_en.pdf UN report http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/CoISyria/A-‐HRC-‐23-‐58_en.pdf 4) Intentionally directing an attack against a civilian population :
[ Article 8(2)(e)(v) ] The Syrian government has repeatedly attacked civilian areas indiscriminately in an effort to tackle the opposition. Starting from February 2012 to July 2012 many civilian dominated areas like Homs and Damascus were attacked and the government’s usage of air and artillery strikes was proved. Source: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/CoISyria/A-‐HRC-‐23-‐58_en.pdf 5) Pillaging and Destruction of Property: The ever-‐increasing refugee population left behind belongings, which have then been appropriated by soldiers and armed groups. Fleeing families attempting to take their possessions with them frequently have them stolen at checkpoints or by thieves taking advantage of the lawlessness that has engulfed these camps. While vast amounts of property have been destroyed as a result of shelling, a violation is recorded when reasonably believed to be a deliberate targeting of an opponent’s property. Both pillage and deliberate property destruction are war crimes. Today, Bashar-‐al-‐Assad can be contested on several counts of the International Criminal Court Rome Statute, which can be broadly classified into ‘Crimes against Humanity’ and ‘War Crimes’. 1. Crimes Against Humanity: (As defined under the International Criminal Court jurisdiction admissibility and applicable law article 7,1(a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h,k)) ● Murder-‐ Article 7(1)(a) ● Deprivation of Liberty-‐ Article 7(1)(e) ● Torture-‐ Article 7(1)(f) ● Persecution against an identifiable political group-‐ Article 7(1)(h) ● Enforced disappearances of persons-‐ article 7(1)(i) ● Inhumane acts of inflicting serious bodily injury and suffering-‐ Article 7(1)(k) ● Deportation or forcible transfer of population. 2. War Crimes: (As defined under the International Criminal Court Rome Statute part II jurisdiction admissibility and applicable law Article 8,1,2(a,e) )
● UN finds that the Syrian government is responsible for the death of more than 100 civilians on 25 May in Houla. http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=42687#.UgpRGNLPU_g ● Murder-‐ Article 8(2)(c)(i) ● Cruel treatment of civilians -‐ Article 8(2)(c)(i) ● Intentionally directing an attack against civilian population-‐Article 8(2)(e)(i) ● Pillaging-‐ Article 8(2)(e)(vi) ● Inducing rape-‐ Article 8(2)(e)(vi) ● Wilful killing ● Extensive destruction and appropriation of property not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully.
PREVIOUS UN AND ICC ACTIONS ON SYRIA: “We are not only watching the destruction of a country but also of its people.” Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos in Security Council briefing on Syria, 16 Jul '13
● UN urges humanitarian access to thousands trapped by intense fighting. http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=45555&Cr=syria&Cr1=#.UgpXB9LPU_g ● UN finds that the Syrian government is responsible for the death of more than 100 civilians on 25 May in Houla. http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=42687#.UgpRGNLPU_g ● On 17 August 2012, UN Secretary-‐General Ban Ki-‐moon, along with Arab League Secretary-‐General Nabil ElAraby, announced the appointment of Lakhdar Brahimi as their Joint Special Representative for Syria. 16 FEBRUARY 2012A/RES/66/253
This General Assembly resolution condemned the violence in Syria, endorsed the Arab League’s 22 January on a Syrian political transition, and requested the Secretary-‐General to appoint a special envoy for Syria.
http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-‐6D27-‐4E9C-‐8CD3-‐ CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/Syria%20A%20RES%2066%20253.pdf ● As tens of thousands flee violence in Syria, the UN and its humanitarian partners issued an appeal in March 2012 for US$84 million to support Syrian refugees in response.
UN agencies & humanitarian partners 1. Children – UNICEF 2. Food – FAO | WFP 3. Humanitarian Coordination – OCHA,Reliefweb 4. Population – UNFPA 5. Refugees – UNHCR 16 JULY 2013S/PV.7000
This was a public briefing on the humanitarian situation in Syria by OCHA, UNHCR and UNHCHR. Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey also participated.
http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-‐6D27-‐4E9C-‐8CD3-‐ CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/s_pv_7000.pdf ● With human rights violations at the heart of the Syrian crisis, the UN has called for an immediate end to violence; release of political prisoners; impartial investigations to end impunity, ensure accountability and bring perpetrators to justice; and reparations for the victims. 6 JULY 2012A/HRC/RES/20/22
The Human Rights Council adopted this resolution which condemned the gross human rights violations and indiscriminate targeting of civilians in Syria by government authorities and the Shabiha.
http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-‐6D27-‐4E9C-‐8CD3-‐ CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/Syria%20A%20HRC%20RES%2020%2022.pdf ● UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) The UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) was established by the Security Council on 21 April 2012, through resolution 2043, to monitor a cessation of armed violence by all parties and to support implementation of Joint Special Representative Kofi Annan's "Six-‐point plan" to end the conflict in Syria. Intensified armed violence across the country forced UNSMIS to suspend
its activities on 15 June 2012. On 20 July 2012, the Security Council decided to extend the Mission for a final 30 days, stressing that any further extension would be possible only "in the event that the Secretary-‐General reports and the Security Council confirms the cessation of the use of heavy weapons and a reduction in the level of violence sufficient by all sides'' to allow the UNSMIS monitors to implement their mandate. As those conditions were not met, the Mission's mandate came to an end at midnight on 19 August 2012. 21 APRIL 2012S/RES/2043 This resolution established UNSMIS.
http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-‐6D27-‐4E9C-‐8CD3-‐ CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/Syria%20SRES%202043.pdf 20 JULY 2012S/RES/2059 This resolution extended UNSMIS for a final period of 30 days.
http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-‐6D27-‐4E9C-‐8CD3-‐ CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/Syria%20SRES%202059.pdf ● Through his good offices, the Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan sought to promote a peaceful solution to the crisis in line with the aspirations of the Syrian people. He represented the UN and the Arab League in what Secretary-‐General Ban Ki-‐moon said were "selfless efforts and contributions to the search for peace in Syria. 21 MARCH 2012S/PRST/2012/6
This presidential statement supported the Joint Special Envoy’s six-‐point plan for mediation of the Syrian crisis.
http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-‐6D27-‐4E9C-‐8CD3-‐ CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/Syria%20S%20PRST%202012%206.pdf ● The Joint Special Envoy (JSE) convened a meeting of the Action Group for Syria in Geneva on 30 June 2012.
● In February 2012, the Independent International Syrian Investigation Committee set up by the UNHRC ruled that the situation in Syria was on the brink of war and the unrest had reached intensity enough to term it a ‘civil war’. ● GA resolution dated 15 May 2013, condemning indiscriminate violence perpetrated by the Syrian government on it’s own citizens and welcoming formation of National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces. ●
Strongly condemned the Syrian government’s indiscriminate violence against civilian populations and welcomed the establishment of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces as interlocutors needed for a political transition.
http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-‐6D27-‐4E9C-‐8CD3-‐ CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/a_res_67_262.pdf ● Switzerland requests the Security Council to refer situation in Syria to ICC. Syria responds with a letter to the President of the Security Council. http://www.news.admin.ch/NSBSubscriber/message/attachments/29293.pdf ●
17 JANUARY 2013S/2013/30
This letter from Syria to the President of the Security Council was in response to a previous letter (S/2013/19) from Switzerland requesting the Council to refer the situation in Syria since March 2011 to the ICC.
http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-‐6D27-‐4E9C-‐8CD3-‐ CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/s_2013_30.pdf ● 13 August 2013 – The United Nations team probing the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria has completed all the necessary logistical arrangements for its visit to the country and is now awaiting the Government’s acceptance of the modalities for the mission, the world body announced today. http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=45611&Cr=Syria&Cr1=#.UgpHfdLPU_g ●
25 MARCH 2013S/2013/184
This letter from the Secretary-‐General informed the Council of his intention to conduct an investigation into the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.
http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-‐6D27-‐4E9C-‐8CD3-‐ CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/s_2013_184.pdf ● UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on 2 August 2013 urged an independent investigation into whether war crimes had been committed when armed opposition groups in Syria allegedly executed dozens of captured Government soldiers in the northern province of Aleppo last month. http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=45552&Cr=syria&Cr1=#.UgpGptLPU_g
THE ICC INTERVENTION: UN rights investigators found the crackdowns on civilian protesters to “amount to crimes against humanity” and recommended referring the case to the ICC. Carla Del Ponte, former chief prosecutor for the international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia , working on a rolling UN inquiry into Syria said that high level perpetrators have been identified and it’s time for the Hague court to act. She says, “Now really it’s time, we have a permanent court, the international criminal court , who are ready to take this case.” del Ponte also quotes, “Of course we were able to identify the high-‐level perpetrators.” These people were “in command responsibility...deciding, organizing ,planning and aiding and abetting the commission of crimes.” The UN inquiry led by Brazilian Paulo Pinheiro has been chasing the chain of command to establish criminal responsibility. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay places the number of fatalities in Syria close to 70000 since March 2011. Pinheiro accepts the impasse between the five veto-‐wielding members of the UNSC at New York. “We are in close talks with the five permanent members and with all members of the Security Council. But we don’t have the key that will open the path to cooperation inside the Security Council. ” The investigators’ report covering crimes till mid-‐January 2013 was based on 445 interviews of victims and witnesses based abroad, as they haven’t yet been allowed into Syria. The UN report, citing corroborating satellite images , sated that the government has been carrying out shelling and air strikes across Syria. "Government forces and affiliated militias have committed extrajudicial executions, breaching international human rights law. This conduct also constitutes the war crime of murder. Where murder was committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population, with knowledge of that attack, it is a crime against humanity," it said, adding that these forces have been targeting even funeral
processions to spread maximum “terror” among civilians. The report continued to state that the rebels too, have been responsible for war crimes. These include murder, torture, hostage taking and using children under 15 in hostilities. But these violations have not yet reached the intensity as of those committed by the government and affiliated militia. The international committee remains stalemated on the issue, and various options to end the crisis are being explored. These options range from diplomacy to more coercive actions like economic sanctions and military force. There have also been calls for judicial intervention by the ICC . Over the past few months, calls have been getting louder for intervention by the ICC . Ambassador of France, Francois Zimeray said in July 2012 that there was “enough evidence” from reports of systematic brutality that warrants ICC intervention in Syria. Among the reports was one published by Human Rights Watch, documenting an ‘archipelago’ of 27 torture centres around Syria, including locations and names of half the commanding officers in charge of them. The US and France are most ardent in pursuing this case . French President Francois Hollande pledged “no immunity for crimes” of Syrian leaders and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton insisted matter of persecution is “not a matter of if, but when”. The non-‐judicial options on the table to halt the unrest in Syria are arguably not viable. The UNSC is unable to act as three of it’s permanent members-‐The USA, Russia and China-‐ can’t arrive at a mutually acceptable decision. The US-‐led coalition keeps proposing various resolutions, designed to end Assad’s regime including imposing economic sanctions. They believe that the mass atrocities attributed to Assad have stripped him of any right to rule the state. Russia and China staunchly oppose these resolutions on the grounds that they are biased, placing primary blame on the Assad regime and not acknowledging the oppositions’ role in the scores of lives lost. They uphold the policy of non-‐intervention in the domestic affairs of a state. Today,intervention really means a change of regime in Syria. Russia and China believe that this would destabilize not only the State of Syria but the entire region as well, posing a far greater threat to human security. Both sides mask their strategic, utilitarian considerations under the guise of Humanitarian benefits. The impasse revolves around non-‐military intervention. Arriving at an accord for UN-‐sanctioned military action is highly improbable. Russia and China believe that authorising military force to protect civilians transformed into an instrument for the pursuit of political objectives. However, there have been various allegations of the Syrian regime receiving arms from it’s state backers. Acting out of frustration due to inaction by the UN, 57 states have urged the UNSC to refer the case to the ICC. These countries state that the UN Commission of Inquiry has already uncovered
evidence of Human Rights violation in Syria and any further delay is illogical. Furthermore, Syria has not heeded to calls from international community to pursue justice for these alleged crimes. They conclude that "[w]ithout accountability… there will be no sustainable peace in Syria". (http://www.news.admin.ch/NSBSubscriber/message/attachments/29293.pdf) On 16 July 2012, the International Committee for Red Cross(ICRC) officially called the conflict in Syria a ‘civil war for the entire region’. The ICRC has been officially charged with monitoring adherence to the rules of war in many crisis situations. As a result, International Humanitarian Laws(IHL) applies everywhere there’s a clash between the government and opposition forces. In order to claim IHL, the ICRC needed to prove three conditions: duration, intensity, and organization of the conflict. With a prolonged crisis, heaven weaponry, and oppositional unity, all these conditions were deemed by the ICRC to have been met. The IHL includes the Joint Third Article of the Geneva Convention of 1949, which orders humane treatment of those who can’t take part in the conflict for reasons like surrender, illness, being wounded and being captured. The conditions to be met under the Geneva Conventions for the protests in Syria to be deemed ‘internal armed conflict’ are: ● Non-‐state groups must carry out protracted and widespread hostilities and, ● These groups must be organized. The Syrian Armed Opposition, under the umbrella of the Free Syrian Army fulfills both these requirements and thus the conflict can be judged under the domain of the International Humanitarian Law. There is enough ground for ICC intervention, but a lot more needs to be found to establish guilt beyond a shadow of a doubt. Crimes have happened, but can they be traced to the highest level of Bashar al-‐Assad? Can he be held guilty for all the lives lost, all the inhumane treatments of civilians?
LEGAL ASPECTS OF THE ICC INTERVENTION: The UNSC has to refer the Syrian situation to the ICC in order for the ICC to investigate potential violations of international law there.This is because Syria has not ratified the Rome Statute and hence the ICC will have jurisdiction only if Syria refers itself or the UNSC does. For this committee, it is to be assumed that through diplomacy and a worsening of violence, China and Russia have been convinced to cede their public support of the regime in an effort to put an
end to the violence. The Prosecutors and Defenders have to believe that Russia and China have conceded their geopolitical interests in order to refer the docket to the ICC. Though they have close economic and political ties with Syria, this assumption is not far-‐fetched. Such a referral has been steadily gathering momentum and is definitely a possibility in the near future. The UNSC has earlier referred two cases with the support of China and Russia-‐ Libya’s Saif al-‐Islam Gaddafi and Sudan’s Omar-‐al-‐Bashir. The UNSC referral would be very similar to the one issued over the Libyan situation. Both these cases give no jurisdiction to the ICC without the UNSC referral. However, in that instance, the SC managed to coalesce around the idea of a referral giving the ICC only limited jurisdiction. For one thing,the ICC couldn’t investigate actions of non-‐State parties. This sort of limited access would do more harm than good as accepting restrictions like these would compromise the Courts’ independence and integrity. Some have argued that an ICC referral could be used as bargaining chip for Assad to step down. Such bargains politicise what is supposed to be a neutral body and undermine equality before law. Passing the buck on to the ICC to do what the international community is unable or unwilling to do can cause serious long term damage not only to the ICC itself, but to the effectiveness of international law more broadly. The ICC’s credibility has already been challenged seeing as how all 8 of it’s cases are from Africa. Such sentiments can erode the Court's ability to prosecute serious violations of international law, impairing in the long run civilian protections that form the foundation of contemporary international law. The Syrian crisis is vague. There are numerous reports from the media and defectors alike, holding the regime responsible for the onslaught. That being said, the authenticity of these claims and the motives behind them need to be duly verified. These defectors, being in exile, have vested interests in overthrowing the Ba’ath regime and so their objectivity may be considered dubious at best. Many news sources too, have biased intentions and can not be considered reliable evidence. The Court effectively renders Syrian national courts incapable of trying it’s own Head of State and also in a special tribunal set up by the UN. The crisis is ongoing and new facets of it continue to emerge. The international committee as a whole, continues to receive conflicting reports from the opposition forces, the Syrian government , states and organizations that are both pro-‐Syria (Iran, Russia) and anti-‐Syria (USA, France). Objectivity needs to be maintained while examining all evidence and witness reports. The decision must be clear and in light of all evidence, from both sides of the conflict. It is this evidence that’ll either exonerate Assad or
find him guilty on all counts. If the Court does intervene, it must exercise restraint as the situation is sensitive. Finally, an ICC investigation on its own is not going to stop the atrocities in Syria. The scale of destruction and pain there strains comprehension, yet is beyond the mission and capacity of the ICC to address. The international community as a whole needs to be engaged in a more unified and meaningful manner if it is serious about ending civilian suffering. The ICC can’t be convened as simply a means to an end. The choice is between two unfavourable options and the ICC can’t be expected to satisfy everybody or for any one side to wash its hands off the verdict. Such expectations are not only unrealistic, they also threaten to weaken international law. The ICC is unbiased and does not take sides. What it implies that the opposition in Syria is also liable for prosecution. the law applies equally to both sides, regardless of their powers or statuses. Compromises on this basic principle will diminish legitimacy and effectivity of the council. As this session is convened to try Assad, its sole purpose is to decide if he is directly responsible for all the crimes committed. Though the UNSC can refer cases to the ICC, it is not a UN organ and is an independent entity. It is from this independence that the ICC can promote international law.
RULES OF PROCEDURE: The guide explains the rules in simple prose, and the explanation roughly follows the course of the ICC at CBITMUN. It is extremely important to develop a thorough working knowledge of the rules, including when they should be introduced, and in what capacity. The rules of procedure are enforced to facilitate the efficient workings of the committee, not to hinder them. Therefore, the Director, Assistant Judge and Judge reserve the right to rule motions out of order which may be considered dilatory or disruptive to the committee proceedings. In this respect, one of the quickest ways for a delegate to alienate him/herself within a committee is to be labelled as someone who attempts to disrupt committee proceedings with the introduction of redundant, inappropriate, or time-‐consuming motions. Section I – Proceedings before the Court ● The official language of the Court is English.
● The trials will comprise two judges and two assistant directors along with 5 Prosecution Attorneys and 5 Defense Attorneys. ● The Judges’ opinions are confidential and will not be disclosed to the Parties or the other Judges. ● The oral phase (Hearing) consists of the pleadings by each intervening party. ● Each Side would be represented by 5 attorneys each. ● Every attorney must take the floor at least once. ● The total time of each party’s plea is 15 minutes, during which the speaker may not be interrupted by any other attorney. However he may be interrupted by the judges themselves. ● On request and on expiration of the total time, the President may allow one extension of no more than 15 minutes. ● At the end of each party’s plea, any of the Judges may pose questions in order to clarify the case. ● If there is not sufficient time remaining during the pleading sessions, these may continue into the Q&A session. ● At the end of oral pleadings, in the allotted time, there shall be a Q&A session. ● During this session, any of the counsellors, as well as the judges may pose questions to the other Parties regarding the case, in order to clarify their positions. Section II-‐ Post Proceedings The Director of the Court shall have authority to ensure the observance of the Rules of Procedure during the oral phase. To this end, the President: ● Declares the opening and closing of each session. ● Gives the floor to Parties. ● Calls the house to order. The Q & A session rules will proceed according to the usual way in which Points of Information are taken in an MUN. Further, there will be a moderated caucus, to sum up each individual's’ position. ● After having heard each party, posed questions and observed the Q&A session, the Judges shall withdraw for deliberations. ● The Judges’ deliberations are confidential. ● All further rules/procedures will be at the discretion of the bench.
Published on Aug 23, 2013