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senate Bill S. Res. 116

Should Assad be Tried for War Crimes and Russia Condemned for Allowing His Regime to Keep its Gas?

Argument in favor

The Assad regime is guilty of war crimes and Russia is standing in the way of Syria’s chemical weapons being removed. The U.N. Security Council needs to act decisively to stop Assad and hold him accountable.

Drue's Opinion
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04/08/2017
Okay everyone stop saying it's not the US's job. We don't try people for war crimes ourselves, but we have to play our part in the international community to do so. As we are members of the UN, I'd say that counts.
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Justin's Opinion
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04/08/2017
You guys need to actually read what this says... it's not the US that's conducting a trial. But it's a resolution to ask Russia to stop blocking the UN Security Council from bringing charges of war crimes against Assad. Yes, that should be passed.
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Rodney's Opinion
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04/08/2017
I agree Assad's actions are horrendous, but it is not the United States' responsibility by themselves to take on the trial of Assad for the war crimes he has committed. It is the responsibility of the United Nations to perform that task. A collective world response is required. However, as a significant player on the world stage, we have to express our opinion and encourage and reinforce the United Nations responsibility and power to react and pursue Assad's punishment for these crimes. I believe this resolution makes that statement. Vote Yea on this resolution.
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Argument opposed

While the Assad regime has committed horrible acts against his own people and may be guilty of war crimes, passing this resolution will do nothing to stop him. All it does is ask Russia to stop obstructing the U.N. Security Council.

Tafinzer's Opinion
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04/08/2017
It's not the business of the United States to be trying anyone for war crimes. The United Nations would be the entity to do so. We should not have engaged in this. I do not support this.
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Linda's Opinion
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04/08/2017
This is the job of the United Nations, not the US.
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Quinn's Opinion
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04/08/2017
Whoa. Slow your roll, Congress. First, let's prove without reasonable doubt that it was Assad who ordered the attack, because some people still aren't convinced. Second, let's leave it to the UN. Third, if Assad is to be removed, we need to take care of ISIS and other terrorist organizations in the region so they don't fill the power vacuum with a more sadistic and fanatic leader (this really is only a short-term thing, which is why we shouldn't be involved at all). And let's try not to get into a war with Russia while we're at it.
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simple resolution Progress


  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Foreign Relations
    IntroducedApril 5th, 2017

What is Senate Bill S. Res. 116?

This resolution would condemn the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as being responsible for war crimes through its use of chemical weapons against civilians. It would also condemn Russia for blocking the U.N. Security Council’s efforts to respond to Assad’s use of chemical weapons and ask the Security Council to take immediate, decisive action to stop Assad.

The resolution also supports the U.N. organization responsible for investigating and enforcing chemical weapons laws and expresses alarm that the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons may be undermining the Chemical Weapons Convention.

As a simple resolution, this legislation wouldn’t advance out of the Senate if passed or have the force of law.

Impact

The Syrian people; the Assad regime; Russia; and the U.N. Security Council.

Cost of Senate Bill S. Res. 116

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: A bipartisan group of senators who sit on the Foreign Relations Committee introduced this bill following the Assad regime’s most recent use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people. Lead sponsor Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) offered the following in the committee’s press release:

“This unspeakable atrocity is the latest in a string of war crimes perpetrated against innocent Syrians over the last six years. Bashar al-Assad is a war criminal and while I am pleased to hear President Trump say today that his opinion of Assad has changed in light of this attack, what remains to be seen is whether there will be strong U.S. leadership and policy to hold Assad accountable. Later this month we will commemorate Yom HaShoah.  We say never again, but it’s time we meant it, and it starts with holding Assad accountable.”

Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) added that:

“Assad is a war criminal who must answer for his heinous crimes against humanity, which are among the worst in modern history. Our regrettable inaction in 2013 emboldened Assad and his Russian and Iranian enablers with disastrous consequences, and we now must support a process to ensure accountability.”

This legislation has the bipartisan support of 12 cosponsors in the Senate, including nine Democrats and three Republicans.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Kremlin / Creative Commons)

Official Title

A resolution condemning the Assad regime for its continued use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people.

    Okay everyone stop saying it's not the US's job. We don't try people for war crimes ourselves, but we have to play our part in the international community to do so. As we are members of the UN, I'd say that counts.
    Like (189)
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    It's not the business of the United States to be trying anyone for war crimes. The United Nations would be the entity to do so. We should not have engaged in this. I do not support this.
    Like (160)
    Follow
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    You guys need to actually read what this says... it's not the US that's conducting a trial. But it's a resolution to ask Russia to stop blocking the UN Security Council from bringing charges of war crimes against Assad. Yes, that should be passed.
    Like (167)
    Follow
    Share
    I agree Assad's actions are horrendous, but it is not the United States' responsibility by themselves to take on the trial of Assad for the war crimes he has committed. It is the responsibility of the United Nations to perform that task. A collective world response is required. However, as a significant player on the world stage, we have to express our opinion and encourage and reinforce the United Nations responsibility and power to react and pursue Assad's punishment for these crimes. I believe this resolution makes that statement. Vote Yea on this resolution.
    Like (77)
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    The Assad government gave a commitment not to use chemical weapons. They said they had abandoned them. Now they have broken that commitment. Those who commit war crimes should always be held accountable.
    Like (66)
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    This is the job of the United Nations, not the US.
    Like (66)
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    Whoa. Slow your roll, Congress. First, let's prove without reasonable doubt that it was Assad who ordered the attack, because some people still aren't convinced. Second, let's leave it to the UN. Third, if Assad is to be removed, we need to take care of ISIS and other terrorist organizations in the region so they don't fill the power vacuum with a more sadistic and fanatic leader (this really is only a short-term thing, which is why we shouldn't be involved at all). And let's try not to get into a war with Russia while we're at it.
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    Assad is committing genocide, mass torture, and obscene cruelty. To resist condemning him on academic arguments or guilt over the many American missteps throughout history is a mistake. Assad is committing evil acts and must be held accountable.
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    People who live in gass houses should not throw tomahawks
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    So we the American people are going to claim innocence and condemn others. Wow. Just how hypocritical can we be? This is a matter for the United Nations not a conniving government like the one yours has become
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    How about this: how about you show me if it's even possible to define "war crime" in a way that doesn't implicate Bush, Obama, and Trump as well. Whoever is behind the chemical attack (I'm not yet convinced it was Assad, but whether he is or isn't) is definitely a war criminal. But we've been raining hell and hate from the sky on innocent civilians in 7 countries over the past 15 years. If the outrage is over dead kids, you're going to have to hold Bush responsible for the kids he killed as well, and hold Obama responsible for the kids he bombed, and hold Trump responsible for continuing in the slaughter of innocents. I have no problem bringing war criminals to justice, but if you want to make a moral stand on this then let's take the blinders off when we do so and consider that more people have their hands filthy than we might have otherwise realized. All I'm saying is that if you're going to make an appeal to justice - and I'm with you if you want to - then let's wake up to the fact that Assad (or whoever it may be) is not uniquely evil. Apply justice equally to all criminals. Even American ones. Even popular American ones. If you're going to try to be hard on war crimes but not consistently apply that policy to American war crimes, then I invite you to consider that you may not be the principled, moral person that you think you are.
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    Pending an investigation, nothing should be done. I can't believe our military killed 200 civilians in Yemen and it's no big deal. Then, chemical weapons are used on the Syrian people "allegedly" by Assad and we bomb an airstrip (illegally I might add). We have no proof yet. This smells oddly similar to Iraq 2003.
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    Bashar Al-Assad has committed innumerable human rights atrocities against innocent civilians in Syria. The world standing by idly and watching him continue to slaughter his people is disgusting. However, do not be fooled by President Trump's missile strikes, simply a diversion tactic to draw attention away from his alliance with Putin & Russia.
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    Hypocrisy
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    I think that the United Nations has jurisdiction in this.
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    We have international organizations for trying dictators for war crimes. I fear that this proposed action would further destabilize the U.S.' situation in the globe. America has been in a constant state of war since 2001, and the situation has not improved in that time. We should take actions to prevent further wars, not encourage them.
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    This is a gross violation of human rights and the Geneva Convention. Any leader that is found using chemical weapons should immediately be condemned and disposed by the rest of the leaders of the free world.
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    Syria is a sovereign nation. If the United Nations chooses to charge him with crimes, I would expect the Unites States to support those charges but the United States does not tell the U.N. what to do, nor should we try. Those who would support this idea do not understand international relations, political science, or the charter of the United Nations.
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    This sounds like a admirable position to take Mr Cardin, but alas, a paper tiger won't be taken seriously by the World. If the World Court wants Assad, maybe they should send out their hounds. If Syria's leaders are in violation of world norms, maybe sending out a special "tomahawk" house-call summons will draw some attention. And please Mr Cardin, don't stand in the dark corner hiding your fear.
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    What Assad has done is horrible but it's not the US responsibility to police the world. We have enough problems at home to deal with one more Middle East conflict
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