Washington, DC. While Donald Trump’s attack on Syria was within his abilities as Commander in Chief, its legality is being called into question by international and top US legal scholars who say the pre dawn attack conducted Friday morning was anything but a legal military action by the United States.
US President Donald Trump’s missile strike against a Syrian airbase violates international law and the American constitution, top lawyers have said.The cruise missile strike was launched from US warships on Friday (7 April) in response to an alleged chemical weapon attack in the north-western town of Khan Sheikhoun.
Trump stated Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was directly responsible for the use of chemical weapons. However, the Syrian government has firmly denied any part in the attack. Independent assessments have yet to be carried out to confirm whether the attack was carried out by Assad, ISIS or anti-government militants, nevertheless Trump authorised the strike on Sharyat airfield.
The missile barrage, which lasted about 35 minutes, killed nine people including four children. American legal experts have raised a number of the legal concerns about the strike in the legal forum Just Security.
One international law expert, Brian Egan, a former US Department of State legal advisor, said: “It is essential that the United States articulate its international law justification for the strikes announced by the president.” Egan added, “As reported, the strikes do not appear to fit clearly within any of the widely recognized post-UN Charter international legal rationale for using force.
Another active duty US Department of Defense strategist was amazed at the attacks,Stephen Pomper, a strategist at the Department of Defense, said: “Thus far, we have seen nothing by way of an international legal justification.
“There was of course no UN Security Council mandate for the action and, as others have noted, the facts that have emerged so far do not seem to support a traditional self-defence justification that would permit force to be used consistent with Article 2(4) of the UN Charter.”
Trump neither sought approval nor requested a vote on the strikes, simply launching the missiles on his own authority, which under US law is not legal. Under International law Trump’s actions can be construed as a war crime under both UN and ICC Rome protocols.