Judgement pronounced in Koblenz

EU must not look away from Assad´s crimes against humanity


On Thursday (13 January) we expect the verdict against a former officials of President Bashar al-Assad’s security apparatus in Koblenz. It is the first trial worldwide on state torture in Syria.

Member of the European Parliament  Katrin Langensiepen and Syrian human rights activist and lawyer at the ECCHR (European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights) Joumana Seif will be present at the pronouncement of the verdict. Feel free to get in touch with interview requests contact further down). 

Green MEP Katrin Langensiepen, observer of the trial and member of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the European Parliament urges to initiate further trials in the EU.

"This historic trial reveals the true face of the Assad regime and brings to light its atrocities against its own people.
It shows that Syria is still a torture state that systematically imprisons, tortures and kills thousands of opposition members, men, women and children.

If Syria were a safe state, this kind of trial and processing would take place on the ground. However, we are very far from that. One thing must be clear: the return of refugees in such a state is currently impossible.

As a world public we must not turn a blind eye to these crimes against humanity.
The least the EU can do is to keep drawing attention to them and to create justice where possible.

In March last year, we in the European Parliament passed a resolution calling for greater EU involvement and a European accountability strategy. For example, member states should better cooperate with each other to advance further trials under the global justice principle and to hold alleged perpetrators accountable.
The EU must also continue to press for the establishment of a Syrian war crimes tribunal and support the Netherlands' initiative to bring a case to the International Court of Justice.

What is needed is active support for justice and victims, both politically and financially. No interpretation in Arabic was provided for the trial in Koblenz and also for the upcoming one in Frankfurt, which makes participation extremely difficult for victims and survivors. This must change."

Joumana Seif, Syrian human rights activist and lawyer at the ECCHR (European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights) adds:

"Often trials are about dealing with the past. This trial is special because it is also about the present and has an effect on the Future of the Syrians.

This trial is for those who were killed, tortured, sexually abused and those who forcibly disappeared. 

Throughout this trial, we want the whole world to know that these crimes were and are being committed during the half century of Assad‘s dictatorship and still continued. 

We hope that this trial sets the basis for many more efforts to come, and to target high ranging officials. Those who are responsible for grave crimes, in order to achieve the Syrian justice."


Video on the Syria trial:

European Parliament resolution on the ongoing Syria conflict: https://www.katrin-langensiepen.eu/de/article/149.10-jahre-syrien-konflikt-europa-ist-nicht-machtlos.html 

Information on the process from ECCHR: https://www.ecchr.eu/fall/weltweit-erster-prozess-zu-staatsfolter-in-syrien-vor-dem-olg-koblenz/ 

For interview requests for Ms. Langensiepen please contact katrin.langensiepen@europarl.europa.eu, for Ms. Seif presse@ecchr.eu