After Germany, Sweden and France, also Austrian authorities are investigating into the Syrian intelligence services for their role in systematic torture. The investigations were after 16 Syrian submitted a criminal complaint in May 2018. "I hope that Austria will issue arrest warrants against senior officials of Assad's torture system," said one of the complainants, who was tortured by the military intelligence service. In June 2018, in Germany similar complaints contributed to an arrest warrant against the head of the Syrian Air Force Intelligence Service.
Pakistanis demand liability, not voluntary giving
258 people were killed in the fire on 11 September 2012, a further 32 were injured. German clothing retailer KiK was by its own admission the factory’s main customer. Four Pakistanis affected by the fire filed a civil suit with the support of ECCHR and medico international, it is the first of its kind in Germany. On 29 November, the Regional Court in Dortmund will for the first time hold an oral hearing in this case.
ECCHR supports those affected by violent push-backs
War and persecution, exploitation and severe hardship force people to leave their homes and make the life-threatening journey to Europe. But violence and unlawfulness do not end at the borders of Europe. Together with refugees and migrants, ECCHR makes legal interventions against push-backs and fights to enforce applicable human rights. Because everyone has the fundamental right to have rights.
Torture suvivor joins criminal complaint in Germany
On 10 September 2018, ECCHR submitted further information to the German Federal Public Prosecutor in the case of Gina Haspel. The submission is a follow-up to an earlier complaint on the US torture program filed in Germany by ECCHR in December 2014. Haspel played a key role in overseeing the torture of detainees while she was stationed at a CIA secret prison in Thailand. For that, she should face prosecution. The criminal complaint is joined by Guantánamo detainee Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who was tortured at the CIA "black site" in Thailand while Haspel served as Chief of Base at the prison.
On 28 June 2018, cement company Lafarge was indicted in France on charges of complicity in crimes against humanity. This is a worldwide premiere for a parent company to be indicted for such offenses, marking a decisive step forward in the fight against impunity of multinationals operating in armed conflict zones. This follows a criminal complaint filed by eleven Syrian former employees together with ECCHR and Sherpa in November 2016.
"The arrest warrant against Jamil Hassan is a milestone and an important step for all affected by Assad's torture system – for the survivors, for the family members and also for those who are still held in the detention facilities of the Syrian government," says Wolfgang Kaleck, General Secretary of ECCHR. It is an encouraging sign for 24 Syrian torture survivors and activists, whose testimonies contributed to the arrest warrant. Together with ECCHR, they filed four criminal complaints in Germany. Those complaints name, next to Jamil Hassan, other 26 high-level officials of the Syrian intelligence services and the Syrian military.