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This episode of "Law Review with Steve Smith" examines how international law can be used to help resolve the bloody conflict taking place in Syria. Activists estimate 20,000-30,000 people have died as a result of the fighting between Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime and the Free Syrian Army since the conflict began in March 2011. The United Nations is eager to prevent further violence, but has few legal avenues it can pursue to help resolve the civil war. California Western Dean Emeritus Steven R. Smith invites 2012 Castetter Visiting Foreign Law Professor Thilo Marauhn and International Legal Studies Program Director James M. Cooper to discuss how international law can be applied to the Syrian conflict.


Thilo Marauhn, California Western's 2012 Castetter Visiting Foreign Law Professor

James M. Cooper, Professor of Law and Director of California Western's International Legal Studies Program


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  • John King

    Professor Thilo Marauhn is a German professor and probably spoke with less of a bias than the U.S. media. While few would say that the current blood shed in Syria should continue, none at this time has the answer to how to stop it.

    Professor Marauhn said international law prohibits outside countries from aiding the rebels fighting to overturn Assad’s regime, and Russia and China have blocked three U.S.-backed resolutions intended to pressure Assad to end the fighting and begin talks about a political transition.

    But did not the NATO do just that in Lydia? U.N. resolution was to enforce NO FLy Zone in Lybia. But look what NATA did there. That’s why Russia and China have vetoed UN resolutions on Syria. (Don’t get me wrong. I am not a Gaddafi or Assad supporter.)

    Professor Marauhn said, “Additionally, the U.N. might have made a mistake when it sided with the rebels early on in the conflict and reduced its potential role as a mediator.” U.N. may not act. But NATO or the U.S. may if they have the will.

    Oct 18, 2012 at 8:16 pm