In March 2019 two law firms filed cases at the ICC against Syria’s President Bashar Al Assad and unnamed members of the Syrian government. Toby Cadman of Guernica Chambers and Rodney Dixon of Temple Garden Chambers were the protagonists in this latest attempt to criminalise the Syrian President and government.
These law firms are basing their case upon the testimony of 28 “refugees” from Syria who claim they were “forced” to flee to Jordan during the war that has been waged against Syria by a collective of interventionist mafia states that form the U.S coalition, determined to achieve regime change in Syria.
Syria is not a signatory to the ICC in the Hague but precedent was set by the ICC when a preliminary investigation was opened into military leaders of Myanmar for alleged crimes against humanity involving deportation of Rohingya people. Refugees fled to Bangladesh which is party to the Rome statute that established the ICC, as is Jordan where more than 1 million Syrian refugees now reside. Guernica Chambers and Rodney Dixon are clearly hoping that the Rohingya precedent will open up the legal avenue for their case.
Both legal firms are claiming the intended deportation of Syrian civillians by the Syrian government as part of their cases.
However, even some members of the legal profession, have already remarked upon possible holes in the case being presented by both legal entities. Kevin John Heller is Associate Professor of Public International Law at Amsterdam University. According to Heller, there is a vital element of the Syrian situation that distinguishes it from the Myanmar situation. Heller argues that in Myanmar, it is evident that the government “intended to drive the Rohingya into Bangladesh” while in Syria it is not evident that the Syrian government intended (in the legal sense) that their civilians end up in other countries. Heller points out that without sufficient evidence, the Syrian government may only be accused of “forcible transfer” but not “deportation”. “Forcible transfer” falls outside the ICC’s jurisdiction because it takes place uniquely on Syrian territory.