Freitag, 22. Februar 2019

Can German Courts Bring Accountability for Torture in Syria?

An interesting article from "Lawfare" with insights on the crucial question where syrian perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity can possibly be tried:

"Germany’s 2002 Code of Crimes Against International Law (CCAIL) (see here for unofficial English translation) incorporates the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court into German domestic law. CCAIL Section 1 provides German courts “pure” universal jurisdiction over the crimes enumerated in the code, which include genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Germany, Sweden and Norway are the only European countries that recognize “pure” universal jurisdiction, meaning universal jurisdiction that requires no specific link to those countries in order for them to prosecute certain crimes, even if the crimes were committed outside those countries’ territories and neither the alleged perpetrator nor the victims are nationals of those countries nor present in those countries’ territories. This allows countries with “pure” universal jurisdiction to exercise jurisdiction over war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide even when there is no link between those countries and the crime. Investigations into these cases can even take place when the suspect is neither present in their territory nor a resident. Notably, Belgium and Spain once had statutes recognizing “pure” universal jurisdiction that their governments have since narrowed."

You can read the rest of the post via the below link: 

Sonntag, 17. Februar 2019

New judgement against Syria for the killing of Rémi Ochlik?

Following the court decision against the syrian government that a U.S. court has found liable for the death of war reporter Marie Colvin, family of killed photo reporter Rémi Ochlik who was killed in the same incident have hopes that french courts will finally take the same ruling against Syria, finds historian Jean-Pierre Filiu:

L’assassinat impuni d’un journaliste français en Syrie
La justice française doit enfin reconnaître la responsabilité du régime Assad dans le bombardement qui a tué, en février 2012, le photojournaliste Rémi Ochlik.

You can read the full post via the link below:

U.S. court has ruled that Syria is responsible for death of journalist Marie Colvin in 2012

From Time, January 31st 2019

A Washington judge has hit the Syrian government with a $302 million judgment over the 2012 death of journalist Marie Colvin, a longtime foreign correspondent for The Sunday Times.
In a verdict unsealed late Wednesday night, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson concluded the Syrian military had deliberately targeted the makeshift media center in the city of Homs where Colvin and other journalists were working. Sustained artillery barrages against the apartment building housing the media center killed Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik on Feb. 22, 2012.
Colvin, who had covered conflicts around the world for the British newspaper, wore a signature black patch over her left eye after being blinded by a grenade in Sri Lanka in 2001. The 2018 film “A Private War” was based on her life.

You can read the rest of the post via the below link:

See also from french newspaper Le Monde:

Samstag, 16. Februar 2019

Three syrian intelligence officials arrested in Germany and France in joint operation

Two Syrian intelligence officials who belonged to a not otherwise specified intelligence service of the Damascus area have in arrested February 12 in Berlin and Zweibrücken, Germany.
The two men are only identified with their first name as Anwar R, 56 years old, and Eyad A., 42 years old.

The first defendant is alleged to be a high-ranking intelligence officer and is strongly suspected of having committed or having assisted to commit crimes against humanity and other severe crimes. Concretely he is accused of acts of torture and acts of physical abuse on prisoners between April 2011 and September 2012.

The second defendant is accused of the killing of two persons and torture and physical abuse on at least 2000 persons between July 2011 and Januar 2012.

Anwar R., the first defendant, was the head of an investigation service within the Syrian intelligence regime. He supervised the procedures of investigations, interrogations and the use of torture in a prison affiliated to the investigation service where real or alleged opponents to the government of Bashar Al Assad where detained.

Eyad A., the second defendant, is alleged of having assisted the acts of the first defendant on the ground. He was a member of a unit that controlled persons on a checkpoint in the surroundings of Damascus. Arrested persons would then be transferred to the detention center of the intelligence branch headed by defendant Anwar R.
Both defendants left Syria in 2012.

See the news release of the Public Prosecutor General.

As part of a joint german-french law-enforcement operation against officials of the Assad government a third man was arrested in Paris on February 15th.
His name is stated as Abdulhamid A., born in 1988.
The French press releases lack further details on the exact connection between the third defendant and the two defendants in the german case.