Swedish prosecution authorities responded promptly to the first criminal complaint filed in Sweden on torture in Syria. Since April, four of altogether nine Syrian plaintiffs – all of them torture survivors now residing in Sweden – gave witness evidence to the War Crimes Unit.
On 19 February 2019, these Syrian women and men had submitted a criminal complaint under the principle of universal jurisdiction against senior Assad regime officials.
“We appreciate that the Swedish prosecutorial authorities followed up on the complaint so swiftly,” said Patrick Kroker, Head of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights’ (ECCHR) Syria Project.
“Sweden can and should join the efforts made by countries like France and Germany in bringing the most high-level perpetrators of crimes in Syria to justice and issue international arrest warrants.”
“It is very important for me to feel that the Swedish authorities care for our pain and help us in achieving justice,” said one of the plaintiffs after the interviews
Anwar al-Bunni, Head of the Syrian Center for Legal Studies and Research, stressed the need for Syrians to work on uniting the European judiciary against impunity. He also stressed the need to prosecute criminals against humanity and not allow them to part of Syria’s future.”
A few days ago, eight Syrian and international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, called on the UN Security Council to immediately investigate the Assad regime’s arrest, torture and enforced disappearance of hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) said that at least 13,983 detainees, including 173 children, have been killed under torture in the prisons of the Assad regime forces since the outbreak of the Syrian revolution in 2011.
The torture survivors took legal action in Sweden together with the Syrian Center for Legal Studies & Research, the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Speech, and the Caesar Files Group. The Swedish organization Civil Rights Defenders (CRD) and the Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), whose legal research and analysis form the basis for the criminal complaint, have been working closely together with the complainants. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)