War-Crimes Lawyer, David Crane Who Sentenced Charles Taylor For 50 Years Is Now Hunting Bashar Assad

Former Liberian President, Charles Taylor
Former Liberian President, Charles Taylor

{SPIEGEL ONLINE} – In 2012, David Crane helped put notorious Liberian dictator Charles Taylor behind bars. Now he’s turned his attention to Syria and is overseeing a project to assemble a massive database of President Bashar Assad’s war crimes.

Is it allowable to kill Bashar al-Assad? “It is,” says university professor David Crane, “under certain circumstances.” He asks the question to one of his students during a lecture, then answers it immediately himself, without any discernable emotion.

Crane was once a chief prosecutor for the United Nations, but these days, he is a professor at Syracuse University’s College of Law in the state of New York. As a lawyer, when he sees Assad, he doesn’t see a monster, he sees a case. And it’s a case that he wants to bring before a court.

Syracuse is a city of 145,000 inhabitants in the so-called Rust Belt, an industrial region approximately four hours by car from New York City. The University of Syracuse has a good reputation, especially when it comes to law.

It is here where Crane, shortly after the beginning of the Syrian civil war, established a kind of student public prosecutor’s office. Together with their professors, students are preparing for the day when Assad’s war crimes will hopefully be tried before an international court. They call it the Syrian Accountability Project. READ MORE OF THIS STORY

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About Cholo Brooks 14528 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.