My confreres at Opinio Juris tell me that Harold Koh, Legal Adviser to the State Department, has given OJ the text of his address on Syria at the on-going annual meetings of the American Society of International Law (ASIL) with a request to post it. The speech was (updated, sorry) on-the-record; the text is now up at OJ, and here is the opening:
Statement Regarding Syria
Harold Hongju Koh
Legal Adviser, U.S. Department of State
American Society of International Law Annual Meeting
March 30, 2012
It is my honor to speak here again at the annual meeting of the American Society of International Law. A year ago, I spoke before this audience about the international legal basis for the United States’ military operations in Libya. In that same spirit of openness and dialogue, I am grateful for the opportunity to engage so many distinguished international lawyers in this room about the very serious challenges we face in Syria today.
Let me divide my comments this morning into three: First, what, precisely, is happening in Syria? Second, what are the U.S. government and the international lawyers within it doing to address the crisis? And third, by what legal principles should this crisis be assessed and lawfully and effectively addressed?