Farouk Tayfur, a member of the political committee of the Syrian Opposition Coalition (SOC), has welcomed the Swiss judiciary’s issuance of an arrest warrant against Rifaat al-Assad. Tayfur highlighted that Rifaat al-Assad played a pivotal role in the Hama Massacre of 1982 and committed various other war crimes as part of the Assad regime’s actions against Syrian civilians. Despite the delay, this move is deemed crucial for achieving justice within Syria.
Tayfur emphasized the importance of holding war criminals accountable as a vital component of facilitating a comprehensive political transition in line with UN resolutions, most importantly the 2012 Geneva Communique and Resolutions 2118 and 2254.
Additionally, Tayfur underscored that Rifaat al-Assad, infamously known as the “Butcher of Hama,” is accountable for the deaths of numerous civilians, their tortures, enforced displacements, and their prolonged suffering over four decades. Tayfur urged for further decisive measures, including the issuance of arrest warrants against present-day culprits, prominently including Bashar al-Assad.
The Swiss Federal Criminal Court’s recent decision authorized the Federal Office of Justice to release an international arrest warrant against Rifaat al-Assad. This warrant pertains to his role as the former Vice President of the Syrian Republic and his involvement in large-scale war crimes during the 1982 Hama Massacre and the 1980 Tadmur Prison Massacre.
TRIAL International, an NGO focused on prosecuting war criminals, urged Swiss authorities to expedite Rifaat Al-Assad’s prosecution and trial. They criticized the sluggishness of the proceedings, which permitted the criminal to escape to Syria. Stressing that more than 40 years after the Hama Massacre, the need for swifter investigations and prompt trials was emphasized. They highlighted that Rifaat al-Assad’s age makes timely action imperative to ensure justice for victims.
(Source: SOC’s Media Department)