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Ex-Syria officer appears before Swedish court in war crimes trial

April 16, 2024 at 9:26 am

The Stockholm District Court is pictured on April 15, 2024 [OSCAR OLSSON/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Images]

Former Syrian officer Mohammed Hamo yesterday appeared before a Swedish court on charges of involvement in war crimes in 2012, making him the highest-ranking Syrian officer on trial in Europe for his actions during the country’s civil war.

Sixty-five-year-old Hamo, who resides in Sweden and was an officer with the rank of brigadier general in the army, is accused of aiding and abetting war crimes during the conflict. Such charges carry a penalty of up to life imprisonment.

The conflict broke out in Syria after authorities used violence to suppress peaceful popular protests against the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad in March 2011. More than half a million people have been killed since, much of the country has been decimated and millions have been either internally displaced or forced to flee the country.

Hamo appeared wearing a dark blue shirt, jeans and trainers. He listened as Prosecutor Karolina Wieslander read out the charges and took notes.

Wieslander said that Hamo “contributed, through advice and action, to the Syrian army’s indiscriminate warfare” that “systematically included attacks carried out in violation of the principle of distinction, caution and proportionality.”

The charges apply to the period between 1 January and 20 July, 2012. The trial is expected to continue until late May.

READ: Sweden to put former Syria general on trial over suspected war crimes