The book "Background to the crisis in Syria and perspectives on human rights & humanitarian law violations" of Yana Ballod (intern for Democracy at Foundation Max van der Stoel) has recently been published by Wolf Legal Publishers (WLP). This book is a result of an effort to gather all the pieces of the crisis in Syria together. This to provide a clear picture of what has been happening and what are the legal implications to it. Besides, it expresses frustration with the currently existing system of international decisionmaking and impotence when it comes to fulfilling its most important function: protecting human lives and dignity.
Summary of the book
If you want to find answers - look back. The book looks at the history of Syria and the events that took place before the coalition intervened. This is combined with a legal analysis within the scope of humanitarian and human rights law which can provide reasons for the crisis and its understanding, as well as inspire on ideas of how to solve it. Since the beginning of the crisis in Syria, in mid-March 2011, the context in which it is regarded has been constantly changing. Four years later, the escalating violent armed conflict, fired from the “Arab Spring” movement has led to the rise of terrorist groups and a huge wave of refugees fleeing from the country.
A detailed research on what has happened and is happening in Syria brings up numerous unsolved issues within the international community. International law provides several possibilities for conflict resolution and stabilizing crises: timely and effective response of international community represented by United Nations and its agencies, in particular United Nations Security Council; enforcement of the responsibility to protect; imposing sanctions; bringing to international justice and internationally addressing elements of the crisis, e. g. terrorism. However, with the involvement of different international actors, the implementation of international law depends on the particular behaviour of each of them.
In the case of Syria, the application of international law instruments has been accompanied by hesitation. Cross-regional, regional and internal tensions prevented the international community from shaping a coherent and decisive response to mass atrocities taking place in Syria. Thus, this research questions the existing system of leverages and sets an ambitious goal of finding out how to change it.
Written by: Yana Ballod