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Could a German national court help achieve justice for victims of Syrian war crimes? Investigators in Germany and other European countries have been attempting to track down and prosecute Syrian nationals responsible for torture and other atrocities committed during the country’s eight-year civil war. Investigations are happening primarily in European nations where suspects have been living as refugees. Two arrests were made earlier this year in Germany and the first war crimes trial for a high-ranking Syrian official is expected in 2020.
Although the alleged war crimes occurred in Syria, courts in Germany and other non-Syrian nations can pursue such prosecution under the legal principle of universal jurisdiction. This is the same mechanism that led to the arrest of Chilean General Augusto Pinochet and conviction of former Chadian leader Hissene Habre for human rights abuses committed during their time in power.
In this episode, we'll look at how prosecutors are trying to use universal jurisdiction to hold the Syrian government accountable for suspected war crimes. Is this the best method of attaining justice for victims of Syria's war? Join the conversation.
On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Karam Alhamad, @Zendetta2022
Syrian human rights activist
Prosecuting Syrian war-crimes suspects from Berlin - The Atlantic
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