The first international law that has been broken by attacking Syria last night was Article 2 of the Treaty for Renunciation of War. It is the single most important Treaty that the UK and the rest of the World ever signed to prevent unlawful wars. It is called the Kellogg–Briand Pact of 1928.
Article II –
“The High Contracting Parties agree that the settlement or solution of all disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them, shall never be sought except by pacific means.”
The Kellogg-Briand Pact renounces the use of war and calls for the peaceful settlement of disputes. The Pact's central provisions renounce the use of war and promotes peaceful settlement of disputes and the use of collective force to prevent aggression. It was incorporated into the United Nations Charter and other treaties. It formed the basis of the charges against German leaders of war crimes in the Nuremberg Trials in 1946, which led to their convictions and hangings.
The second law that has been broken is the UN Charter of 1945, specifically Article 2, subsections 3 and 4, as below.
Article 2.3 - “All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.”
Article 2.4 – “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”
The UN Charter, in which we promise never to threaten or attack another nation State, is an international law which holds this world together. It has been violated.
Probably the most important international war law that has ever been agreed is the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (2002). In 1998 this was signed by 132 Nations. Britain ratified this law in September 2001, which means that this international law became part of British national law, introducing jurisdiction for international war crimes into Britain.
Under these laws the People of Britain should be able to prosecute and impeach our reckless, mis-representative and criminal leaders for war crimes and for inciting crimes ancillary to genocide.
War crimes do appear to have been committed. The attacks took place before chemical weapon inspectors could arrive in Douma. Our Government appears to have used unjustifiable acts of aggression against an independent State, with no real authority or tangible evidence.
The UK Conservative Government has justified its actions on the basis of humanitarian intervention and customary international law practices which are rejected by a large majority of states and therefore cannot be customary international law.
Dapo Akande, Professor of Public International Law, Oxford University, gave this opinion:
"In the opinion I reach the following conclusions:
1. Contrary to the position of the government, neither the UN charter nor customary international law permits military action on the basis of the doctrine of humanitarian intervention. There is very little support by states for such an exception to the prohibition of the use of force. The UK is one of very few states that advocates for such a legal principle but the vast majority of states have explicitly rejected it.
2. The legal position advanced by the government ignores the structure of the international law rules relating to the use of force, in particular, because a customary international law rule does not prevail over the rule in the United Nations charter prohibiting the use of force. To accept the position advocated by the government would be to undermine the supremacy of the UN charter.
3. Even if there was a doctrine of humanitarian intervention in international law, the strikes against Syria would not appear to meet the tests set out by the government. The action taken by the government was not directed at bringing “immediate and urgent relief” with regard to the specific evil it sought to prevent, and was taken before the inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons were able to reach the affected area.
4. If the position taken by the government were to be accepted by states globally, it would allow for individual assessments of when force was necessary to achieve humanitarian ends, with the risk of abuse. It is because of the humanitarian suffering that will ensue from such abusive uses of force, that other states and many scholars have been reluctant to endorse the doctrine of humanitarian action."