The UK government on Thursday
published its legal rationalefor a possible strike in Syria, arguing that it was justified on humanitarian grounds.
The rationale is fitted with five points, outlining the use of chemical weapons “by the Syrian regime” of President Bashar al-Assad as a “serious crime of international concern.” It argues that the aim of any military response would be to “relieve humanitarian suffering by deterring or disrupting the further use of chemical weapons.”
The British government also said that military intervention would be justified even if the United Nations Security Council does not grant a resolution condemning the use of chemical weapons — something that is unlikely, since Russia and China would not be inclined to sign on.
According to the rationale, the basis for military intervention meets certain legal preconditions, including “convincing evidence” of “extreme humanitarian distress on a large scale”; no “practical” alternative to the use of force to save lives; and the amount of force used is “proportionate” to the amount of relief sought, as well as being limited in time and scope.
Both the UK and U.S. have faced calls for delays in action after amped-up rhetoric that sounded the drums for intervention in the past few days. On Thursday, President Barack Obama is briefing high-ranking members of Congress on his plans for the situation.
The UK government’s full legal rationale is embedded below:
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