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NGOs file complaints in Sweden against chemical attacks attributed to the Syrian regime

2021-04-20T01:20:41.023Z

Four non-governmental organizations have lodged a complaint in Sweden against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and several senior officials after two chemical attacks in 2013 and 2017 in Syria and blamed on the Assad regime, they announced Monday. To read also: Syria: the Russian army announces having killed "approximately 200 combatants" during a bombardment The four NGOs - the Syrian Center fo



Four non-governmental organizations have lodged a complaint in Sweden against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and several senior officials after two chemical attacks in 2013 and 2017 in Syria and blamed on the Assad regime, they announced Monday.

To read also: Syria: the Russian army announces having killed "approximately 200 combatants" during a bombardment

The four NGOs - the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), Syrian Archive (SA), Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) and Civil Rights Defenders - accuse the Syrian regime of chemical attacks with sarin gas on Ghouta in 2013 and Khan Sheikhoun in 2017. Among the people affected by the grievance are more than a dozen names cited as alleged perpetrators - including President Bashar al-Assad, Defense Minister Ali Abdullah Ayyoub or even his brother of the president, Maher al-Assad.

Other high-ranking members of the Syrian regime and army, as well as soldiers suspected of being directly involved in the attacks, are also targeted. The complaint is based on testimonies from victims, as well as

"hundreds of evidence, documents, including photos and videos"

and a

"thorough analysis of the Syrian military chain of command".

"The aim is to bring those responsible for these chemical weapons attacks to justice,"

Aida Samani, legal advisor for Civil Rights Defenders, told AFP.

"What we hope is that they (the Swedish authorities, editor's note) open an investigation (...) and indict those suspected of these acts in their absence,"

she added.

According to Aida Samani, such a decision would allow the Swedish courts to issue a European arrest warrant to apprehend the suspects if they entered Europe.

Collaboration

The organizations, which have also filed similar complaints in Germany and France, also hope for collaboration between the three countries.

"A joint effort by the authorities will increase the chances of a future European arrest warrant and effective justice for victims and survivors,"

said Mazen Darwish, director general of the SCM, in a statement. The justice system of these three countries has been seized in particular because of the existence of legal conditions allowing the prosecution of acts committed abroad, explained Aida Samani.

This new complaint was filed the day before a conference of member states of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), of which Syria is a member. According to NGOs, several states have submitted plans to deprive Syria of its rights in the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)

"in response to the continued use of chemical weapons". "The adoption of the decision would indicate that the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime has diplomatic consequences"

, according to Eric Witte, politician at the Open Society Justice Initiative.

After the 2013 attacks, the Syrian regime pledged to dismantle its stockpile of chemical weapons. But according to a report by OSJI and Syrian Archive revealed in October 2020, Syria has an

"still robust"

chemical weapons program

, the Syrian authorities using

"stratagems"

to deceive the Organization for the prohibition of weapons chemicals (OPCW), the body believed to have dismantled the Syrian chemical arsenal.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2021-04-20

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