Authors: Abdulrashid Lawan Haruna and Awwal Magashi Ilyasu
Abstract: The article examines unnecessary suffering or superfluous injury as the basis for the prohibition of the use of many weapons including chemical weapons in armed conflicts. Any weapon that causes unnecessary suffering which has no military advantage violates the rule on the prohibition of weapons, thus a balance must always be struck between military necessity and the anticipated injury to be inflicted on a person during hostilities. Unnecessary suffering or excessive injury which is out of proportion to the military advantage sought violates international humanitarian law (IHL) and Islamic law. It further examines the prohibition of the use of chemical weapons in an armed conflict of whatever nature as it causes unnecessary suffering and superfluous injury to combatants as well as civilians alike without distinction. The article discusses the various chemical weapons attacks in the conflict in Syria with particular focus on the casualties recorded and the party alleged to be responsible for each chemical attack. It critically examines the international community response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria and the subsequent measures taken to avert the future occurrence of such humanitarian disaster. The article concludes that the use of chemical weapons in Syria by the regime constitutes war crimes, and it recommends the referral of the matter to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for investigation and subsequent prosecution.
Keywords: Chemical Attacks, Civilians, Armed Conflict, International Community, Syrian Regime