Lawyers representing the sister of a Syrian man alleged to have been tortured to death in a detention center in Damascus in 2013 have launched a criminal complaint against members of the Assad regime security forces in Spain’s national court in Madrid on Wednesday.
The sister, who is only identified in the complaint as Mrs AH, claims she is a victim of Syrian state terrorism because her brother was arbitrarily detained, forcibly disappeared, tortured and executed in 2013.
Under Spanish law, Spanish prosecutors can investigate the complaint because Mrs AH is a Spanish national.
Her lawyers said in a statement: “The evidence submitted clearly demonstrates that the Syrian State led by Bashar al-Assad committed the Crime of Terrorism against its civil population using its security forces and intelligence apparatus.”
The statement added: “Thousands of detainees have been executed or have died as a result of torture, mass starvation and illness.”
Mrs AH and her family were able to identify her brother based on images of victims posted on online after they had been smuggled out of Syria by a former regime military photographer in 2014.
France earlier urged Russia to condemn the Assad regime’ use of chemical weapons against civilians after a UN report confirmed the responsibility of the Assad regime for the use of internationally banned weapons.
On December 21, 2016, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution approving the establishment of mechanism to assist in the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for the most serious crimes under international law committed in Syria since march 2011.
The United Nations on January 26 announced that the mechanism will be headed by a senior judge or prosecutor with extensive criminal investigations and prosecutions experience. The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres submitted documents to the General Assembly detailing the tasks of the mechanism.
A number of human rights activists on Wednesday announced the establishment of the Association of War Victims in Syria to collect evidence and document war crimes and violations committed against Syrian civilians by individuals or state parties and prosecute these crimes in the future.
The Association comprises a committee of lawyers and human rights specialists who will interview the victims themselves or their families. The interviews will be conducted in four cities with the highest concentration of Syrian refugees. The Association signed a contract with Stoke & White LLP, a London-based law firm to support its activities. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office + Agencies)