Germany – Historical verdict in first trial of Syrian regime abuses

Tribune de Genève

German Justice on Wednesday delivered a landmark verdict against a former Syrian intelligence soldier who was tried in the first trial of the abuses responsible for Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Aid al-Garib, 44, is responsible for complicity in crimes against humanity. The second accused, 58-year-old Anwar Raslan, considered too central in the vast Syrian security apparatus, is being prosecuted for crimes for humanity.

AFP

On March 15, 2011, as the tenth anniversary of the start of the popular uprising in Syria, it is the first time in the world that a court has ruled a case related to the bloody suppression of Damascus’ brutal and brutal independence-related protests. Within the framework of the “Arab Spring”.

Aid al-Garib, 44, is responsible for complicity in crimes against humanity. They are accused of participating in the arrest and persecution of the regime’s “secret 251” or al-Khatib regime’s secret detention center at the end of a rally in eastern Ghouta’s capital, Douma, near Damascus. , In September or October 2011. He would be the first of two defendants, who appeared before the High Regional Court of Coblenz (West) after 23 April to receive their sentence, with the judges choosing to split the process in two.

The second accused, 58-year-old Anwar Raslan, is believed to be too central in the vast Syrian security apparatus, with 58 people being prosecuted for crimes against humanity for the deaths and especially the torture of 4,000 detainees. The trial of this former colonel is expected to last until at least the end of October.

To try them, Germany applies the principle of universal jurisdiction, which allows criminals to be prosecuted for the most serious crimes regardless of their nationality and where the crimes were committed.

Migrant

Appeals from national courts in Germany, Sweden and France are growing at the initiative of a large Syrian diaspora who has taken refuge in Europe. They are currently the only possibility to judge the abuses in Syria due to the paralysis of international justice.

In Koblenz, the Public Prosecutor’s Office requested a five-and-a-half-year jail term against Aid al-Garib, who served at the lowest intelligence level before being depressed in 2012 and fleeing Syria in February 2013.

Arriving in Germany on 25 April 2018, after a long stay in Turkey and then Greece, he never hid his past. It was also when he narrated his winding trip to the authorities responsible for deciding his asylum application that the German justice system started taking interest in him, which led to his arrest in February 2019. The prosecution assured that he was in a quagmire system where torture prevailed with “almost an industrial scale”.

During the 10-month trial, Anwar remained silent in the shadow of Raslan, Aid al-Garib kept silent and hid his face from the cameras. He nevertheless wrote a letter in which he expressed his grief for the victims. And it was with his face streaming with tears that he heard the demand for his acquittal from his lawyers, arguing that he would have put his life and his family at the lowest level, if he had ruled in the order Were not given To defy all that will be crushed.

Children stick

The accused was also under a cousin and Hafiz Makhlouf, close to Bashar al-Assad, feared his brutality. One party’s lawyer, Patrick Crocker, nonetheless removed his silence. People “can be very important in informing us (Syrian officials) about our rank that we are actually targeting, but this is something they have chosen not to do.”

More than a dozen Syrians marched to the bar to testify to the horrific abuse in the Al-Khatib prison. Some witnesses were interviewed anonymously, whose faces were hidden or wearing wigs for fear of reprimand against their relatives in Syria.

For the first time, photographs of the “Caesar file” were also presented in court. This ex-photographer of the military police risked his life by showing 50,000 photographs, showing the brutal death, starvation and torture of 6,786 Syrian detainees. The photographs analyzed in court by Professor Markus Rotshield, a forensic pathologist, have evidence of heavy material.

AFP

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