Berlin has asked the Lebanese authorities to extradite a top Syrian intelligence chief on charges of crimes against humanity, German magazine Der Spiegel reported.
The newspaper said on Sunday that days after the arrest of two elements of the Syrian intelligence accused of carrying out thousands of killings and systematic torture, Berlin followed the first step of its kind in the diplomatic framework. It submitted to Lebanon the request for the extradition of Major General Jamil Hassan, director of the Syrian Air Intelligence on information that the latter plans to travel to Lebanon for treatment.
German federal prosecutors accuse Jamil Hassan of committing crimes against humanity and has already issued an international arrest warrant against him last summer.
Fadel Abdel Ghani, Director of the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) watchdog group said that the German move sent “a strong message to the Assad gangster regime that they will not escape punishment.” The Network has already made repeated calls to hold accountable those responsible for war crimes in Syria.
The newspaper said that by asking Lebanon to hand over Jamil Hassan, the German authorities seek to narrow the movements of the wanted man on the one hand, and to put pressure on Lebanon, which is frequently visited by Assad regime officials.
AFP reported the existence of coordination between German and French police to prosecute perpetrators of “war crimes” in Syria under the principle of “universal jurisdiction” which allows the two countries to hold accountable those who committed crimes outside their territory.
German and French prosecutors on Wednesday announced the arrest of three former Assad regime’s secret service officers on suspicion of torture and other crimes against humanity, the first such arrests in Europe against suspected figures in the Assad regime’s feared security service.
The Syrian Coalition stressed the need to activate the International Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) which was established in 2016 to support efforts to hold accountable perpetrators of war crimes in Syria.
The Coalition also called for establishing a special tribunal to look into war crimes and crimes against humanity taking place in Syria, especially in light of Russia’s obstruction of efforts on the UN Security Council to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)