The German Federal Prosecutor began yesterday listening to the testimonies of nine Syrians who were tortured in Assad regime prisons.
The hearings are part of a criminal complaint they filed on 2 March against the regime’s senior-level intelligence officials and include the testimonies of Syrian lawyers Anwar Al-Bunni and Mazen Darwish.
According to a statement issued by the European Centre for Constitutional and
Human Rights (ECCHR) in Berlin: “there are currently only a few avenues left to prosecute international crimes committed in Syria. One of them is the principle of universal jurisdiction, which allows the German judiciary to become active and initiate first steps towards the road to justice without citizenship of the victims or perpetrators being a prerequisite.”
It also stated that the acts that the individuals filing the criminal complaint were subject to are an example of the types of torture practiced by the Syrian regime.
The statement quoted ECCHR General Secretary, Wolfgang Kaleck, who said:
We cannot look at the horror of Syria. We have to start describing what is happening in Syria with words and legal categories. Germany can and must react to grave human rights violations such as torture, massacres and sexual violence in Syria.
Al-Bunni was quoted saying: “This is a strong message to the criminals that they will not go unpunished, and it is a hope message to the victims that justice will not forget them or ignore their rights.”