Syria: France and Germany arrest three ex-Syrian security officials suspected of crimes against humanity

In February 2019, three former members of the Syrian security forces were arrested on suspicion of crimes against humanity as a result of joint efforts by the French and German authorities to investigate Assad regime crimes documented by former military photographer Caesar, who fled Syria with thousands of images in 2013.

Since the opening of a criminal investigation based on the Caesar photographs in France in 2015, FIDH and its Syrian member organisation, SCM, have actively contributed by identifying key witnesses and sharing a wealth of material evidence on the systematic torture of detainees by Assad’s regime. In a landmark ruling in October 2018, French judges issued international arrest warrants against three high-ranking regime officials - still in office inside Syria - in the Dabbagh case. FIDH and its Litigation Action Group (LAG) initiated the case of the disappeared father and son, believed to have been tortured and killed in regime custody, and legally represents the family.

These current arrests could now lead to the first trials in Europe targeting regime officials for crimes against humanity and the recognition by an independent court of the brutal and systematic use of torture in detention. FIDH will join the investigation in France as a civil party and LAG lawyers will facilitate the participation of Syrian victims in the process. These developments affirm FIDH and SCM’s joint strategy to fight against impunity for grave violations committed in Syria since March 2011 through recourse to extraterritorial jurisdiction, which today represents the only avenue for justice open to Syrian victims.

See also: Q&A on the Dabbagh Case , Syria, in search of justice and our latest updates.

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