Chemical Weapons and Other Atrocities: Contrasting Responses to the Syrian Crisis
The Law Foundation's 2018 Distinguished Visiting Fellow will present a lecture, then a reception will follow.
As the Syrian catastrophe lurches into its eighth year, the international community watches recurrent egregious atrocities unfold before our collective eyes. Apart from lethal force deployed against ISIS targets in Syria, the international community has been precluded from undertaking any substantive action against the Assad Regime – except in response to allegations of the use of chemical weapons.
What is it about chemical weapons that has evoked such outrage and facilitated US-Russian co-operation against Assad? Is it a particularly visceral reaction to the use of chemicals to kill or the manner in which people die? Is it a long-standing taboo against the use of chemicals as weapons of war? Or is there some more cynical explanation that has nothing to do with humanitarian concerns?
Professor Tim McCormack is Dean of the Law School at the University of Tasmania and a Professorial Fellow at the Melbourne Law School. He is also the Special Adviser on International Humanitarian Law to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague and a Director of World Vision Australia.