The Duty to Prevent War Crimes: Transforming Russia's Veto Power in the Security Council?
13 Pages Posted: 27 Jul 2017
Date Written: July 26, 2017
One of the biggest threats to the international order is the aid and assistance of stronger States to weaker States engulfed in civil wars. Equally threatening is the failure of stronger States to exercise their influence over weaker States to prevent violations of the laws of war in such armed conflicts. This article is about these two threats. It addresses the duty of States to ensure respect for the Geneva Conventions, with a particular focus on Russia’s respective duties vis-à-vis the Assad regime in the Syrian armed conflict. It analyzes Russia’s negative and positive obligations to prevent war crimes in Syria, with a core discussion of whether the latter affect Russia’s right to veto Security Council resolutions. Notwithstanding a negative answer to the foregoing, this article argues that Russia’s acts and omissions in Syria have breached Common Article 1 of the Geneva Conventions.
Keywords: Geneva Conventions, Duty to Prevent, War Crimes, Due Diligence Standard, Russia, Syria
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