Prosecuting Syrian war crimes before European courts
Lecture by Wolfgang Kaleck
director of the ECCHR
May 29 2017
5 – 7 pm
Law Faculty University of Amsterdam
Wolfgang Kaleck founded the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) together with other internationally renowned lawyers in Berlin in 2007. ECCHR is an independent organization that works with lawyers and groups around the world to take legal proceedings against state and non-state actors for their roles in crimes against international law.
Since there is little prospect of accountability at the international level, Syrians are looking at the principle of Universal Jurisdiction as a tool for third states to prosecute perpetrators of international crimes committed in Syria. Prosecutors in Germany, France, Sweden, Netherlands and Spain and other EU countries are currently monitoring, investigating and prosecuting crimes that have been committed since the conflict erupted in 2011. ECCHR has been investigating crimes committed by all parties in the Syrian conflict since 2012. Together with torture survivors and human rights activists the organization submitted the first criminal complaint against six high-level officials of the Syrian Military Intelligence Service to the Office of the Federal Prosecutor in March 2017.
Focus of the lecture is ECCHR’s strategic considerations and the potential effects and impact. The presentation was followed by a discussion with Syrian and Dutch lawyers, academics, NGO’s, and students/staff of the Law Faculty and anyone interested in the topic.