October 12, 2016

Yesterday afternoon three initiatives were being launched – from Russian jets, blitz bombing Aleppo markets in their most brutal onslaught to date – from Westminster where protest raged and ministers could suggest no action and from Aleppo. One of the few remaining doctors, struggling with fellow medics to treat the wounded survivors of yesterday’s market place bombings was filing a direct legal challenge to Russia in the European Court of Human Rights. This David and Goliath action is based on critically important legal principles.

Dr Moawyah Al-Awad is a cardiologist who has been working in Al Quds hospital in Aleppo since 2012. The hospital now operates from an undisclosed location, its original site having been destroyed by a deliberate airstrike on 27th April 2016.

His claim against Russia is based on its violation of his right (and that of his patients) to life (Article 2) and of his right (and that of his patients) to live free from inhuman and degrading treatment (Article 3).

On 29th September the circumstances in Aleppo were described to the UN Security Council by the its chief humanitarian official Stephen O’Brien in the following terms “Let me be clear, east Aleppo this minute is not at the edge of the precipice it is well into its terrible descent into the pitiless and merciless abyss of a human catastrophe unlike any we have witnessed in Syria. Syria is bleeding. Its citizens are dying. We all hear their cry for help”.

Dr Al-Awad’s action sets a standard beyond rhetoric. The case lodged with the European Court has, at his request, been sent to the UK and French foreign ministries, and those of the US and other European countries. It has been provided to all relevant UN bodies and special rapporteurs. It is now entirely up to them, as well as to the European Court, to utilise his initiative. An initiative taken by an exhausted doctor working 20 hour shifts in punishing conditions under fear of immediate death.

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20161012-doctor-in-besieged-aleppo-launches-legal-action-against-the-russian-federation/.

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