Bad Legal Arguments for the Syria Airstrikes,

As we  before Trump’s announcement, there is no apparent domestic or international legal authority for the strikes. Although the United States has not offered a formal legal argument, a number of legal theories have been floated in recent days. We address them each briefly here. […]

The strike is necessary to enforce the prohibition on the use of chemical weapons. Each of the leaders of the three states that carried out the strikes last night—Trump, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, and President Emmanuel Macron of France—made some version of this argument in their statements to the public announcing the strikes. The problem with this argument is that the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention, which is the central international legal instrument on the topic, provides an enforcement system that the three powers involved in last night’s airstrikes entirely bypassed. The Convention provides, first, for investigation by the experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons—who were due to begin their investigation today (the OPCW has announced the deployment will proceed, though it is not clear if it will be delayed). Then, in situations of “particular gravity,” the Conference of the States Parties may bring a matter to the attention of the U.N. General Assembly and Security Council. Nowhere does the Convention provide for unilateral uses of force in response to a breach of the Convention. And if it had, there’s a good chance no state would ever have joined it. And putting the treaty to one side, there is no reason at all to think that any related “norm” prohibiting the use of chemical weapons can be enforced with force outside the Charter framework. Läs artikel