Armed Opposition’s Indiscriminate Attacks in Aleppo

Since the Syrian army entered Syrian cities in mid-2011, most cities have been divided between regime-controlled areas and armed opposition-controlled areas. Syrian city inhabitants are the primary sufferers of this division. This division is present in Aleppo, which is divided into Eastern and Western sections, and in the Damascus region, with damascene suburbs and the area surrounding Gota primarily under armed opposition control, and the province’s center and capitol under regime control.

The regime has arbitrarily dropped barrel bombs on neighborhoods outside of their control, destroying property and killing and wounding large numbers of civilians.  In response to this, armed opposition groups are bombing areas under regime control (in Damascus and Aleppo), using poorly-directed mortar shells and homemade explosives, all with high margins of error. Opposition groups’ shelling may cause less destruction than that of the regime, but they still qualify as indiscriminate attacks—in breach of international law.

The Syria Justice and Accountability Center (SJAC) works to record evidence of these violations and collect the names of these victims. In pursuit of this objective, the SJAC has held meetings with witnesses and victims’ families in regime-controlled areas in Aleppo and Damascus, in order to document the opposition groups’ indiscriminate shelling operations. These operations involve indiscriminate shelling and missile attacks on civilian areas, allegedly with the aim of targeting regime security forces, the military, and secret police staying in these areas.

David M. Crane to be Honored by Center for Victims of Torture

CVT_LogoINSCT faculty member and Syracuse University College of Law Professor of Practice David M. Crane is to be honored by the Center for Victims of Torture with a 2014 Eclipse Award at a June 25, 2014 ceremony at the Open Society Foundations in Washington, DC.

CVT gives the Eclipse Award each year to an individual or organization that has played a crucial role in either preventing torture or treating its survivors and to commemorate the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

Curt Goering, CVT Executive Director, says his organization honors Crane this year for his work fighting impunity throughout the world, from his role as Chief Prosecutor for the Special Court for Sierra Leone, to starting “Impunity Watch,” to launching the SU College of Law Syrian Accountability Project, to co-authoring the Chautauqua Blueprint, and more.

Past winners of the Eclipse Award include Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT); the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture; Dr. Elizabeth Lira, a clinical psychologist from Chile; Elisa Massimino, President and CEO of Human Rights First; and Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL).

The CVT half-day event—“Fighting Impunity”—will bring together government officials, NGOs, academics, human rights and national security experts, survivors of torture, and journalists in a discussion of why meaningful accountability is vital to preventing torture and other violations of human rights.