Syria gets worse

Earlier this week the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, released a report that around 5,000 people had died in Syria do far. As government repression increases the armed rebel movement in Syria is fighting back harder and harder. Today, Reuters reported that 27 Syrian soldiers we’re killed by rebels; and Human Rights Watch released a report identifying 74 Syrian commanders who either ordered, authorized, or condoned killings and torture of civilians. The HRW report recommends that the Syrian regime be brought to the ICC for war crimes.

So is 5,000 dead enough to go to the ICC? Ratko Mladic is currently on trial in the The Hague for his alleged ordering of the massacre of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims during the tail end of the war in Yugoslavia. At the rate the Syrian regime is killing its citizens it is only a matter of time before 5,000 becomes 8,000 or 10,000. The simple answer is yes, 5,000 deaths is enough; any state sponsored killing is enough to warrant cause for alarm and reason for criminal prosecution. It would also send a clear message to other autocratic leaders. The problem is in capturing and trying Assad. When Muammar Gaddafi was indicted it only made him more dedicated to crushing the rebellion in Libya. Assad still retains popularity in the country, and would be able to use the security forces as well as the fear of religious unrest to foment more violence. If he was not already a war criminal an ICC indictment would solidify it. The ultimate fear would be civil war, which seems increasingly likely.

There are some bright spots on the horizon though. Russian UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said that the BRICS nations are willing to deploy monitors; and the opposition is beginning to make progress. Only the Syrian people can determine the Syrian future.

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