From Hybrid Warfare to Hybrid Lawfare


In last Friday, April 7 Bob Corker,  Ben Cardin, Robert Menedes and Todd Young, representatives of Senate committee of Foreign affairs, together with a USA President candidate Marco Rubio submitted a bill implying to create a mixed tribunal, members of which would prosecute deputies of the Syrian government. It is called a Syrian War Crimes Accountability Act.

It describes the scheme of notifying the State Department of USA about "military crimes, crimes against humanity and Syrian genocide and providing the necessary help for creation of transitional Judiciary to hold Assad accountable for his regime and actions".

The first text accuses Assad of numerous crimes.

The bill would be considered by the Senate and later by the House of Representatives and passed to the president for signing.

Ultimately, the bill includes development of a so-called hybrid tribunal which would be responsible for investigating of crimes and determination of punishments (for representatives of currently legitimate Syrian government).

The term "hybrid war" has been used a lot lately, it was developed by American military authors, so what is a hybrid tribunal?

This new type of criminal agencies was developed in the late 90-s with a name "hybrid courts". Back then the term was used for identifying:
- a special group of District Courts of Dili;
- Sierra Leone court;
- emergency chambers in Cambodia courts.

Some authors add the Special Lebanon Tribunal, the Program of international judges and prosecutors in Kosovo and the Supreme Court in Iraq to the list.
These courts have common features with other international criminal agencies and consist of independent judges working of the basis of predefined rules of procedures and making mandatory decisions. UN played the key role in  their development. As the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Tribunal for Ruanda, these are special institutions, created for solving specific cases within a limited period of time, arising from specific political and historical conditions. Their nature is ambiguous in all cases, yet at the same time International and national particular qualities are taken under consideration. All tribunals consist of International and local stuff and apply a complex of international and local law, that's why it is called "hybrid".

However, are those tribunals truly international and how adequately the local side is treated? The case of the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia shows that many decisions were made in advance and applied selectively. The Serbian side played the role of a scapegoat in many incidents. Independent investigations of Srebrenica case proved, that the official western version about mass murders of the Muslims by Serbian population was not valid. The facts of murders of ethnically Serbs and intentional delivery of dead bodies from other places to make it look like a mass execution were proved.

Actually, in the late 1990-s and early 2000-s, when the global one-polar system existed, hybrid tribunals were a tool of western influence, acting as a legal cover for a doctrine "The Responsibility to protect", used by Bill Clinton as a reason for interventions of Haiti and Yugoslavia. The doctrine was used later by UN, a platform of developing for the western interests. Obviously, the UN Security Council cannot make effective decisions, the US attack on Syria on April 7th proves this fact. If a similar act of aggression or even a sovereign right of usage of military power (which, according to the norms of international law, practically all countries have, regardless of their size, power and status, with the exception of a few, Japan for example) was made by any other country, the western response would be quite predictable. However, when the US bomb another state, it is treated as the norm. Apparently, setting a precedent,  Washington implies these action would become a legal rule as well in future. Despite the fact the American president has the legal power to give such orders, his recent actions were criticized within the US, questioning the functions of the Congress.

It is necessary to mention that the International Criminal Court still is not recognized by the US (a charter was signed in 2000, but was with-drowned 2 years later), it explains the need to create such hybrid tribunals. Instead of supporting the true international initiative and letting independent sides solve the problems, Americans would continue to create different ways of forcing their policy, in this case- punishing the dissenting and innocent for the crimes committed either by the third side or by the Washington's agents to provoke others.

We should definitely pay attention to the American double standards. Why wouldn't they offer to create such tribunal for Yemen, where the coalition lead by the Saudi Arabia, participated in killings of thousands innocent people, including women and children? International experts proved the usage of British ammunition in bombings of peaceful districts of Yemen. And where are the tribunals for Mexica, where thousands of people died in drug wars? Is it possible that Washington is silent in that case because it initiated the wars for its own purposes and does not care about the victims? Now they even want to build a wall with Mexica, that is so symbolic!

Just like with wars, a hybrid tribunal is supposed to have different representatives in a conventional unit- territorial, in case of a hybrid conflict, or judicial. Therefore, in both cases there is one characteristic, inherent in the Postmodern era - multitude, Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt wrote about. This totality acts thought different processes of network power, which dominates national governments and belongs to the American empire.

Wherein, the multitude opposes the concept of people, according to Negri and Hardt. With hybrid tribunals, the danger is that the multitude, being a collective image of a judiciary instance, would not act in interests of nations and sovereignties, but would destabilize the existing norms of legal traditions and destroy power institutions.

Western agents would fill the created vacuum, and not only with their liberal-democratic rights, but also with their political doctrine of exceptionalism and gnoseological racism.