Syrian lawyers and rights groups in the Netherlands have filed lawsuits against high-ranking Assad regime officials for the war crimes they have being committing in Syria over the past several years. The move has been widely welcomed by human rights groups and in political circles.
According to a report by BIRN, the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network on Monday, the Dutch Nuhanovic Foundation and Syrian lawyers in the Netherlands are seeking to prosecute officials of the Assad regime by filing lawsuits against them.
BIRN, a network of local non-governmental organizations promoting freedom of speech, human rights and democratic values, said that the Dutch court is looking into four cases against Assad regime officials involving violations against the Syrian civilians. BIRN did not specify who the officials are.
Those who have filed the lawsuits are seeking to convince the Dutch judiciary to rely on the principle of “universal jurisdiction” which allows national courts to prosecute crimes committed in other states by non-nationals of the host state.
The move followed similar moves by European countries to hold the Assad regime officials accountable for violations against the Syrian people since the start of the Syrian revolution in 2011.
In November, the Austrian judiciary began to look into a lawsuit filed by human rights organizations against 24 high-ranking officials of the Assad regime for “war crimes” involving the brutal torture of detainees and enforced disappearances.
Also in November, the French judiciary issued international arrest warrants for three senior Assad regime officers. They are Director of the National Security Bureau Ali Mamlouk; Head of Airforce Intelligence Jamil Hassan, and Head of the Air Force Intelligence Investigative Branch at Mazzah military airport, Abdel Salam Mahmoud.
In May, the German prosecutor issued the first international arrest warrant for senior Assad regime officials, including Jamil Hassan following a criminal complaint that was filed by former detainees in the prisons of the Assad regime.
The Syrian Coalition earlier called upon human rights organizations and Syrians holding European citizenships to file more lawsuits against the Assad regime in the host countries.
The Coalition said that these moves would put much-needed international pressure on the Assad regime and its backers, which will help prevent the rehabilitation of the Assad regime and ensure accountability for war crimes. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)