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German Parliament: Western strikes on Syria are contrary to international law

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY) –┬áThe Western strikes on Syria, which took place in the middle of this month, are in violation of international law, legal experts in the German parliament said in a report published Friday.

“The use of military force against a state to punish it for violating an international convention constitutes a violation of the prohibition of resort to violence under international law,” the experts said in response to a question by the radical left-wing opposition party,

The experts referred to a number of international documents, including a 1970 UN General Assembly declaration that states “the duty of states to refrain in their international relations from the use of military means of obligation.”

The report also states that the UN Security Council rejected military reprisals as “incompatible with the purposes and principles of the United Nations.”

The experts also referred to Britain’s legal justification for the strikes and found it “unconvincing” that international law allowed an exceptional act of retaliation to prevent greater human suffering and that conditions existed after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces used chemical weapons.

The experts considered this justification “unconvincing”, pointing out that it is necessary to ask “whether military strikes are appropriate to prevent additional suffering in Syria.”

On April 14, the United States, France and Britain bombed sites it said were linked to Syria’s chemical weapons program, without causing casualties, in response to a presumed chemical attack that killed at least 40 people on 7 April in the eastern town of Douma.

Germany did not take part in the air strikes without the approval of the UN Security Council but supported the strikes, saying it was “necessary and appropriate.”

Observers believe that the opinion of legal experts in the House of Representatives is a blow to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a country keen to respect the legal rules.

Russia, which denies allegations of Damascus using chemical weapons in Duma, criticized what it described as the Western “aggression” against Syria, noting that the tripartite intervention was “a major blow to the UN-sponsored political process.”