Lessons From The Rwandan Genocide
The question becomes whether or not observations from Rwanda truly apply to this conflict. Is the conflict in Syria constitutive of a genocide? What is the role of the government? Does the international community have the right to engage in R2P (Responsibility to Protect), and if so, is the international community obliged to do so?
For the sake of brevity, we can assume that the conflict in Syria does indeed meet the threshold for genocide in a definitional sense. In a 2012 report by Genocide Watch, Syria was listed as having met stage 7: “Preparation” . The numerous other human rights abuses and crimes against humanity in the handful of years since have served to bolster the genocide status that can be applied to Syria. Regarding R2P, the international community is indeed obliged to respond -- whereas Syria can nearly be classified as a failed state, that obligement quickly turns into obligation. The mass exodus of Syrian refugees to numerous countries around the globe, let alone the millions of civilian murders and consequential deaths of men, women, and children, qualifies this. The Syrian government acceded to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, 1948 (henceforth referred to as the Convention) in 1955, acknowledging that genocide in times of peace or times of war is an act punishable under international law