Rutgers hires war-crime 'apologist' to teach international law

Rutgers University has hired a former spokesman for Syrian President Bashar Assad to teach courses on international criminal law.

During his tenure with the Assad regime, Mazen Adi “acted as an apologist for the mass murder committed by the Assad regime against his own people,” thereby “helping Syria to win impunity at the UN to conduct continued war crimes,” according to a human rights organization known as UN Watch, which is calling for Adi’s ouster.

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“It ought to be a matter of profound concern that an American university would allow an apologist for the Syrian regime’s genocide to be a teacher,” the group went on to declare, providing numerous examples of Adi’s efforts to cover up Syrian war crimes.

UN Watch has since started a petition seeking the removal of Adi from Rutgers’ faculty, noting that while he joined the university as a part-time lecturer in 2015.

According to The Daily Mail, Adi is now scheduled to teach at least two courses in spring 2018, one on international criminal law and another on anti-corruption.

The university has defended its decision to keep Adi on board, touting “his expertise in international law and diplomacy, and other fields.”

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The Algemeiner approached the university with questions on Adi’s background, but the university responded by claiming that its “faculty members enjoy the same freedoms of speech and expression as any other individual in this country.”

“Rutgers will not defend the content of every opinion expressed by every member of our academic community, but the university will defend their rights to academic freedom to speak freely,” the university concluded.

Notably, Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was pressured to withdraw as the university’s commencement speaker in 2014 after faculty accused her of being a “war criminal.”

“This is not good for Rutgers,” faculty members behind the cancellation said at the time. “What we’re doing is awarding an honorary degree and having a commencement speech from someone who is a war criminal.”

Two years later, President Barack Obama delivered the university’s commencement speech, but chided students for pressuring the school to cancel Rice’s appearance.

“I don’t think it’s a secret that I disagree with many of the policies of Dr. Rice and the previous administration,” Obama remarked during his speech. “But the notion that this community or this country would be better served by not hearing a former secretary of state or not hearing what she had to say—I believe that’s misguided.”

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This article has been amended since its initial publication.