Five Syrian torture survivors living in Norway have filed legal complaints against senior officials of the Assad regime, European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) announced on Tuesday.
Trials and investigations in Europe can pave the way to end impunity for grave crimes committed by the Assad regime, the Berlin-based institution said in a statement.
The complaint of the Syrian nationals documented crimes committed by 17 senior officials of the regime connected to the Military Intelligence, General Intelligence and Political and Criminal Security divisions. Lawyers asked the Norwegian prosecutors to investigate these 17 intelligence officials and issue international arrest warrants.
One of the plaintiffs, who was detained by the Syrian General Intelligence and subjected to various torture techniques, said he wanted to see those responsible for Assad’s torture system to stand trial.
“I joined this criminal complaint in Norway because, in my own country, there is no prospect of achieving accountability. Investigations in Europe will send an important signal to Syria: no one, not even high-ranking officials, is above the law,” he said.
Seven Syrian nationals, two lawyers, and a human rights group earlier filed a criminal complaint in Germany against senior officials in the Assad regime’s intelligence agencies and demanded the issuance of international arrest warrants against six senior military intelligence officials.
International lawyers in Spain earlier filed similar criminal complaints against nine Assad regime’s security officials, accusing them of torture and other human rights abuses. The names of the officials were not made public at the time to increase the chances of arresting them outside Syria and holding them accountable.
The legal initiative was backed by several institutions including the ECCHR, Syrian Center for Legal Research and Studies (SCLRS), the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), the Caesar Files Group (CFSG), and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC). (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)