International Human Rights lawyer Amal Clooney has said she would gladly prosecute Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for war crimes, hitting out at the United Nations saying it is not fulfilling its role.
Clooney, a Human Rights barrister at Doughty Street Chambers specialising in international law and human rights, has used her expertise and celebrity to speak out against atrocities particularly in the Middle East and North Africa.
Most recently Clooney has turned her attention to the Islamic State, representing a Yazidi woman who suffered horrific sexual abuse the hands of the terror group. Of Lebanese origin, she has also in the past criticised human rights abuses by autocratic regimes across the region including Egypt and Syria.
Speaking in an interview with Channel 4, Clooney said she would be "delighted" to prosecute Bashar al-Assad who has clung to power in Syria for more than five years His government has been accused by a flurry of Human Rights Organisations of a variety of abuses including torture, summary execution and the use of chemical weapons against civilian populations.
"If there is a prosecution of President Assad I would be delighted to work on it," Clooney said. "I think the UN has concluded that the Syrian government has committed crimes against humanity and war crimes. They're not the only ones – there are other actors who have committed the same crimes. But I think there's little doubt that that's what we're dealing with," she added.
As world leaders meet in New York for the 71st annual General Assembly of the United Nations, Clooney also attacked the UN for its failures in Syria.
"There's obviously situations that have called for action by the Security Council where there has been inaction and so you can't say that the UN is fulfilling the role that it's supposed to be playing," she said.
On the subject of the treatment of Yazidi's raped and kept as slaves by the Islamic State she said there was no reason for the security council to be paralysed on the issue "Isis has actually confessed to its crimes online. That's why when I spoke at the UN it was not my intention to speak in terms of congratulations 'Thank you for calling it genocide'. The point is, what is the UN going to do about it? And I do hope that with the leadership of the UK this can actually be pushed forward," Clooney said.
Amal Clooney married a Hollywood actor in 2014. A well-known celebrity, George Clooney has sporadically involved himself in political causes such as human rights abuses in Sudan and South Sudan while pursuing a film career.