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Saturday, January 28, 2023

Syrian regime under scrutiny from European nations and UN

The Syrian regime has landed itself in hot waters, as the world is increasingly putting it under the microscope for Human Rights abuses, among other charges. France and Germany lead the way, with the UN also scrutinising the regimes alleged infringements on rights.

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Here is a roundup of the international investigations and actions that have been launched into alleged crimes by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, mainly in France and Germany.

The Syrian regime is under scrutiny on account of rampant Human Rights abuses within its territory by the administration of President Bashar al-Assad.

Germany puts Syrian regime under scrutiny

On Thursday, the German rights group ECCHR said seven Syrian men and women who suffered or witnessed rape and sexual abuse in detention centres under Assad’s regime have submitted a criminal complaint to German prosecutors.

They have named nine senior government and air force intelligence officials, including top Syrian intelligence officer Jamil Hassan, already the subject of an international arrest warrant.

Read more: France, Germany tell Turkey to stop Syria offensive immediately

In April 2020, the trial opened in the western city of Koblenz of two former Syrian intelligence officers Anwar Raslan and Eyad al-Gharib, arrested in Germany as part of a French-German investigation.

It is the first trial in the world of figures allegedly involved in abuses by the Syrian regime.

In March 2017, seven Syrian torture survivors, two lawyers and a human rights group filed a criminal complaint against secret service officials of Assad’s regime.

In September the same year, the ECCHR said nearly 27,000 photos taken by a former Syrian military photographer known as Caesar, who fled the country, had been turned over to German courts.

Two months later, the ECCHR announced two new appeals for crimes against humanity and war crimes had been filed by 13 Syrians for acts of torture by 17 senior officials, including the then-defence minister and the military prosecutor for their alleged involvement in abuses at the infamous Saydnaya prison near Damascus.

France concerned about disappearance of citizens in Syria 

A French court opened in 2016 an investigation into the disappearance of Mazen Dabbagh and his son Patrick, two French-Syrian nationals who had been arrested in Syria three years earlier.

In connection with the probe, France issued in 2018 its first international arrest warrants for three senior Syrian intelligence officials for “complicity in acts of torture”, “complicity in crimes against humanity” and “complicity in war crimes”.

Read more: France wants NATO to take cognizance of ‚ÄėTurkey problem‚Äô in Libya

The warrants were for National Security Bureau director Ali Mamluk, Hassan and Abdel Salam Mahmoud, in charge of the Air Force Intelligence investigative branch at the Mezzeh military airport in Damascus.

In February 2019, Abdulhamid C., a former Syrian soldier suspected of complicity in crimes against humanity, was arrested in France on the same day as Raslan and Gharib in Germany.

A year later, Abdulhamid C. was released under judicial supervision for lack of evidence.

UN’s international mechanism puts Syria under the microscope¬†

In 2016, the United Nations set up its International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism, which is preparing war crimes charges against individuals over the Syrian conflict.

Since April 2018, the UN body has been gathering evidence for use in possible future trials of those alleged to be responsible for crimes against humanity.

It contains more than a million items, including documents, photographs, videos, satellite images, statements from victims and witnesses and unclassified documents.

Over the past year, attacks on buildings in northwestern Syria, which are supposed to be off limits during wartime under international law, grew so frequent that the head of the United Nations launched an inquiry to document the violations.

Read more: UN envoy presses for ‚Äėimmediate diplomatic solution‚Äô in Syria

Secretary General Ant√≥nio Guterres’s¬†establishment of the investigation¬†is seen by many diplomats as a success at a United Nations largely stymied by division in the powerful Security Council. Russia, a Syrian government ally and a¬†major perpetrator¬†of these attacks, has cast 14 vetoes in the Security Council since the start of the war in Syria, blocking accountability efforts and hindering¬†humanitarian aid deliveries¬†into Syria.

Several of the attacks happened in late April and early May, when the Syrian government and its Russian allies began a major offensive to retake the last insurgent-held parts of Syria, in Hama and Idlib, provinces in the country’s northwest.

AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk

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