In front of the German court of Koblenz, where the trial of two former officials of the Syrian regime’s security service accused of committing crimes against humanity is taking place, the Caesar Families Association ,represented by Mrs. Mariam AlHallak, along with members of the Families for Freedom movement, held a solidarity stand on 01.07.2020 & 02-07.2020 voicing the importance of this trial in bringing justice for the victims of detention and enforced disappeared in Syria, sending a warning to perpetrators of violations and crimes against humanity there as well.
The stand has seen an artwork by the artist KHALED BARAKA, in which he symbolized the victims as statue standing in front of the court, holding trumpets, raising their voices high, and demanding their right to hold perpetrators accountable for their crimes.
Colonel (ANWAR RASLAN), the former official of intelligence branch 251 known as the (ALKHATEEB Security Department) branch of the General Intelligence Department, who is accused of committing rape and sexual violence against 4,000 person, 58 of whom were killed under torture between April 2011 and August – September 2012, is being tried in Koblenz.
(IYAD GHARIB) an official of the security apparatus who was also in charge of detaining protestors, is being tried as well on charges related to assisting in torture and killing of thousands of detainees who have been arrested or forcibly disappeared.
Prosecuting criminals in Koblenz could play a vital role in combating impunity as well as being a valuable reminder to the international community of the necessity of taking further steps towards securing accountability for horrendous atrocities caused by the Syrian conflict despite the immense spatial dimension separating it from the place were these crimes took place according to universal jurisdiction.
According to AMNESTY international, past experiences in various countries demonstrate that an effective and fair exercise of the universal jurisdiction can be achieved when there is a proper combination of appropriate laws, adequate resources, and institutional commitment such as dedicated war crimes units; and political will. It is also considered an integral part in the international efforts to hold accountable those responsible for the violations and crimes against humanity in Syria, achieving justice for the victims, and preventing future crimes especially in light of Russia and China’s obstruction of the efforts in the security council to refer the Syrian file to the International Criminal Court.
What is “universal jurisdiction”?
It is one of the principal tools to ensure that violations of the international humanitarian law are prevented and punished if committed through imposing criminal penalty. State parties to the universal jurisdiction are obligated to track down those suspected of grave violations (war crimes), in spite of their nationalities and the location of the alleged crime, and to bring them to their courts or extradite them to another state that is a party of the agreements.