11/3/13, 9:03 AMREPORTER'S NOTEBOOK: How to prosecute Syrian war criminals | Fox NewsPage 2 of 4http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/10/30/reporter-notebook-how-to-prosecute-those-who-committed-war-crimes-in-syria/
Human Rights Watch has accused extremist rebels of slaughteringnearly 200 civilians in an offensive against pro-regime villages on Aug. 4, going house to house and executing entire families. That isa war crime.President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and leaders frommany other western countries have repeatedly said thoseresponsible for carrying out war crimes must, and will, be heldresponsible.But who can do that? And how does any kind of court look at theevidence and separate the plain truth from the fog of war?Professor David Crane might be the man to do it. Crane, currentlyat the Syracuse University College of Law,certainly has theexperience – he was the first Chief Prosecutor of the Special Courtfor Sierra Leone, a court that successfully prosecuted former President Charles Taylor of the neighboring African nation of Liberia. Taylor is currently serving a 50-year sentence. And now Crane, along with a blue ribbon panel of international lawexperts, as well as some law students at Syracuse, has set hissights on Syria. It is vital, he says, that the crimes committed thereare prosecuted, that the international community’s promises of accountability are followed up with action. “Mankind has evolved towhere they have decided to hold individuals accountable whocommit war crimes against humanity and genocide,” the professor told me before testifying to Congress this week, “and if we stepback from that or show the appearance that we're stepping awayfrom that kind of standard, then it's going to be a pretty dark worldover time, so the rule of law has to happen. The rule of law is morepowerful than the rule of the gun, and we have to send that signal.”So Crane and his team have set up the Syria Accountability Projectto track and try to verify, or debunk, every accusation of war crimesin Syria, and provide potential prosecutors with what the professor calls a “cornerstone document” on which trials could be based.It’s an ambitious project with the United Nations and US StateDepartment among its interested clients. The project uses opensource reporting and other sources from all sides in the Syrianconflict to establish a “conflict narrative” that tracks the situation onthe ground in Syria and key geopolitical developments relative tothe major players in the conflict.
Is there a case for Syrianwar crimes?
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