US News: Germany: Historical verdict for crimes attributed to the Syrian plan

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Anwar Raslan arrive au tribunal de Coblence le 23 avril 2020. © AFP - Thomas Lohnes Anwar Raslan arrives at the Cantie Court on 23 April 2020.

The first trial against members of the Syrian regime accused of crimes against humanity. Ends this January 13 in Germany with the pronouncement of the verdict. Beyond the case of the accused, it is the Assad system practicing systematic torture against its opponents on the accused's bench. German justice required life imprisonment against the accused, a former Colonel Syrian intelligence services.

of our correspondent in Berlin,

The accused, Anwar Raslan, today 58 years old, has a career in the Syrian intelligence services where he is ultimately responsible for the safety of Damascus and the region. He fought in a prison known to regularly practice torture. Those who were transported had few hopes to get out alive. The number of abuse has increased with rebellion against the plan at the beginning of the last decade. Anwar Raslan is accused of at least thirty murders and 4,000 cases of torture committed in this Damascus prison between spring 2011 and autumn 2012.

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Colonel of the Syrian army had then fled the country, not by remorse For acts committed but because he felt that the prosecution of civilians who had nothing to do with the opposition did not make sense.

Irony of history, he moved later in Germany and obtains the political asylum. Asked by the German police in another file as a witness, he speaks without his detours of his career in Syrian intelligence. He will eventually be arrested as well as another compatriot, a subordinate, sentenced last year to four and a half years in prison for complicity of crimes against humanity.


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Plan What Assessment Can we draw trial?

The trial started in April 2020 A, during the 100 days of hearing, presented an overall picture of the repressive system of the Syrian regime. To achieve this, the Koblenz Tribunal used the César file, these 55,000 photos of tortured and executed, transmitted by a member of the Syrian military police who made defection. More than sixty witnesses, including victims of this repressive device, filed during the trial. The presence in Germany many Syrians has been aid to justice such as the support of NGOs active on these files. Refugee people in Germany sometimes recognized their former executioners, where they probably did not expect them.

Nevertheless, such a trial is a weight challenge for German justice. Unlike other records for a disappeared plan, no access to the archives on site and no collaboration of Damascus are of course conceivable.

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The principle of universal competence

German justice is particularly active on these files. This can be explained by the universal jurisdiction that allows magistrates to open proceedings when essential principles of international criminal law, such as crimes against humanity, are involved. And even if Germans in this case are not concerned and although the facts went into another state. Germany opted for a broader application than other countries of the principle of universal competence.

In the absolute, such prosecutions should be the responsibility of the International Criminal Tribunal of The Hague in the Netherlands, but Syria has not acceded to the Treaty which founded the Court. And the United Nations, which could intervene, could not do it because of the Russian and Chinese vetos.

This principle of universal competence - other Syria is continued in Germany - remains, despite all a pis-go and can not replace a procedure judging all the actions of a plan. An always power to Damascus. An NGO estimated last year that in ten years, nearly 15,000 people died under torture in Syria.

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