Syria: French judges open enquiry into disappearance of franco-Syrian father and son in Bachar El-Assad’s jails

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In a European first, three French judges have been tasked with investigating enforced disappearance, torture and crimes against humanity directly attributable to the El-Assad regime. This is a major milestone in the fight against impunity for largescale exactions amounting to international crimes committed by the regime. Such cases have so far fallen through a judicial gap as Syria is not party to the International Criminal Court and the UN Security Council has failed to refer the case to the ICC.

Mazzen Dabbagh and his son Patrick Dabbagh are dual nationals, which triggers jurisdiction of French courts on the case. Arrested in November 2013 by the Syrian air force intelligence without any explanation on the reason of their arrest nor notification of any charges against them, they disappeared without trace after being taken to Mezzeh, a detention centre sadly known for its regime of torture and high mortality rates.

FIDH, its member organisation in France, LDH, and Mr. Obeida Dabbagh referred the case to the office of the Prosecutor of the Paris Court’s specialised unit for the prosecution of crimes against humanity and war crimes on October 24, resulting in the opening of an enquiry into their disappearance, and the appointment of three investigative judges within the Paris Court specialised unit for the prosecution of international crimes.

For more details on the case, read here
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