Al Jazeera Gets Hold of "Secret Syria Files"

Aljazeera describes the confidential Syria documents it obtained:

The files provide an insight into President Bashar al-Assad’s strategy to suppress anti-government protests, including the lengths the government went to for protecting its strongholds. The documents, running into hundreds of pages, point to a government desperate to keep control of the capital Damascus and include clear orders to stop protesters from getting into the city.

There’s an entire story in that article about an opposition “mole” in a sensitive security post who sent the documents to Aljazeera. But feel free, like me, not to buy that story and instead think of a big-time espionage operation that involves a lot of cash transfer and a nation whose name I will not mention, but who will host the World Cup in 2022.

  • Bronxman

    The files show lines of responsibility for what could be called crimes against humanity. “Just taking orders” or, “it wasn’t me” won’t cut it, the documents are signed. This should make the International Criminal Court’s job easier.

    • Evan

      No, the ICC cannot prosecute any Syrian official because Syria has not signed the Rome Statute

      • Bronxman

        Actually, Syria was one of 139 states that did sign the Rome Statute (29 November 2000) but were one of the 32 states that didn’t ratify it. According to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, a state that has signed but not ratified a treaty is obliged to refrain from “acts which would defeat the object and purpose” of the treaty. However, these obligations do not continue if the state makes clear that it does not intend to become a party to the treaty. So far only Israel, Sudan, and the United States have stated their withdrawal and therefore have no legal obligations arising from their signature of the Statute. For the moment, Syria still does have an obligation.

        My feeling is that this is a moot point. If the opposition takes over control of the country the ICC would not have any technical problems. But, in such a case I don’t think the surviving members of the regime would ever make it out of the country to stand trial at the ICC.