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2017 | German case against Syrian Al-S.

This news article published on Reuters provides information about the circumstances that led the German Higher Regional Court of Stuttgart (Oberlandesgericht Stuttgart) to sentence the Syrian Suliman al-S. to 3 years and six months imprisonment on September 20th 2017. The accused, who sought asylum in Germany, was found guilty of aiding and abetting war crimes against a United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission that involved kidnapping for ransom, three counts of attempted robbery by blackmail and grievous unlawful detention. The charges of membership in a terrorist organization were lifted.

According to the findings, the Canadian national Carl Campeau, a legal adviser to the UN Mission on the Golan Heights (UNDOF), was abducted and detained near Damascus. The accused participated in the abduction by keeping the victim under surveillance between March and June 2013. Carl Campeau was held captive for 8 months until he managed to escape in October 2013. During his captivity, his captors issued death threats against him and tried unsuccessfully to obtain a ransom for his release. It was the first time a German court sentenced an accused for war crimes against humanitarian operations on the basis of the German Code of Crimes against International Law (2002) regulating  crimes against (public) international law. The Court could not establish that the act was attributable to the terrorist group Jabhat al-Nusra, or that the accused participated or supported the act as an Al-Nusra member.

A press release by the Court in German can be found here.