The politics of international chemical weapon justice: The case of Syria, 2011-2017

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Abstract

There has been near-universal condemnation of the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict. The international community has nevertheless struggled to make progress on holding the perpetrators to account. This article reviews developments at the international level in terms of Syrian chemical weapon justice between 2011 and 2017. It argues that there have been substantive disagreements between states on the rationale and means of justice in the Syrian case. It also argues that international initiatives have been tightly intertwined with developments in chemical disarmament and conflict resolution processes as well as the broader war. The article describes progress and challenges to chemical weapon justice in a number of distinct formal international mechanisms during the period studied. The analysis concludes by contextualizing international responses—including the U.S. tomahawk strikes against a Syrian airbase—to the Khan Shaykhun chemical attacks of April 2017.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-297
Number of pages18
JournalContemporary Security Policy
Volume39
Issue number2
Early online date25 Jan 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2018

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Keywords

  • Civil war
  • United Nations
  • arms control and disarmament
  • international regimes
  • peacebuilding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations

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