The world’s first killing and torture case in Syrian prisons has been decided at the higher regional court in Koblenz; additional trials must follow.
Germany, life sentence against Anwar.R comes to confirm that the practice of torture and killing in Syrian prisons is a comprehensive and systematic issue. According to the “universal jurisdiction principle” of the German judiciary, this verdict has prepared an important ground for further trials in Germany and also other countries. The evidence presented by Caesar Files Group (CFSG) in this trial is ready to serve as evidence and legal grounds for other cases related to killing and torture.
On April 23, 2020, the first international criminal case regarding systematic torture in Syria began at the higher regional court in the city of Koblenz. The main defendant in the case is Anwa.R, a former official in the al-Khatib branch (251). In this case, the CFSG which is a Syrian volunteer group working on documenting the violations and supporting victims of murder, enforced disappearance, torture, killing, and other international crimes in Syria and their families, by providing tens of thousands of photographs and evidence to the competent German public authorities, which are and will form the cornerstone of all torture and extrajudicial proceedings in the future.
The world’s first court verdict against the tyrants represented by the criminal, one of the highest-ranking officers and symbols of the cruel regime in Syria, must first be truth and justice. It is a victory for justice and for the oppressed Syrian people. Despite all the wounds that these proud and loyal people still suffer, we also see it as hope. ” A member of CFSG and the defected military “Caesar”, who leaked tens of thousands of photographs of torture victims in the security branches of Syrian state institutions, adds, “the court’s decision is an exceptional event that confirms that the Syrian revolution is not and will not die, despite what Russia and Iran-backed Syria’s murderous Assad claim, A hand of justice will reach to every criminal who ordered or participated in the torture of every free Syrian in Syria, or whose hands were covered with the blood of innocent martyrs. “
In addition, “SAMİ” a friend of “Caesar” and a member of the CFSG and one of the witnesses, in this case, affirms: “It is the right of the Syrians to see that the criminals who shed the blood and honor of the Syrians in the dungeons of the fascist regime have reached the hands of justice. This decision we are witnessing today is Syrian. It is the success of many years of work by a team of Syrians. We hope that this verdict will be the natural fate of all war criminals and perpetrators of violations in our country. “
Ibrahim Alkasem, the Executive Director of CFSG and the lawyer responsible for the creation of the judicial files in the group, states: “The KOBLENZ case is an important first step on the Syrians’ long road to justice. This trial should be followed by other trials. Alkasem adds, “Whether European countries have universal jurisdiction, or at the international level, through the establishment of an international tribunal for Syria, or even in the future in Syria, the aim is to help the victims and their families by holding the senior officials of the security apparatus of the Assad regime accountable because they have committed crimes of torture, extrajudicial killing, sexual violence, and enforced disappearance of tens of thousands of people in Syria.”
The information and evidence presented by the CFSG, in addition to the testimonies of some members of the CFSG, played a key role in the investigations in Germany, France, Spain, Sweden, Austria, and Norway. However, the biggest step to date has come from Germany, with this decision last Thursday, pointing out that the evidence presented by the CFSG and witnesses’ testimonies, which are supported by ECCHR and some Syrian organizations, contributed to the procedure of the German Federal Supreme Court, which started in February 2018.