The criminal complaint in Sweden against high-level officials in the Syrian intelligence service is part of a series of criminal complaints across Europe.
So far, four criminal complaints have been filed in Germany.
In March 2017, ECCHR and seven torture survivors from Syria as well as Syrian lawyers Anwar al-Bunni (Syrian Center for Legal Studies and Research, SCLRS), Mazen Darwish (Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression, SCM) submitted an initial criminal complaint against six suspects – high-level officials in the Syrian intelligence service – to the German Federal Public Prosecutor. The claimants are individuals who were detained in Syrian intelligence service facilities and who were tortured or witnessed torture.
In September 2017, a group working with "Caesar," a Syrian defector who obtained thousands of photos of tortured and murdered detainees in Syrian government detention facilities, took legal action by filing together with ECCHR a criminal complaint to the German Federal Public Prosecutor. The complaint was directed against senior officials from the Syrian intelligence services and the military police concerning crimes against humanity and war crimes. A representative of the group provided the Federal Prosecutor with a set of high-resolution images and metadata. The "Caesar photos" present a unique insight into the Syrian government's machinery of torture and killing under Assad.
In November 2017, ECCHR supplemented previous criminal complaints and evidence with two additional complaints directed against high-ranking officials from the National Security Bureau and Air Force Intelligence as well as the head of the military police and the Saydnaya military prison.
In May 2018, ECCHR together with 16 women and men from Syria as well as al-Bunni, Darwish and the Center for the Enforcement of Human Rights International (CEHRI) submitted a criminal complaint to the prosecutor in Vienna, Austria. The criminal complaint addresses torture as a crime against humanity and war crime in detention facilities run by the Syrian Military Intelligence Service, the Air Force Intelligence Service and the General Intelligence Service.
In June 2018, it was announced that the Germany Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof – BGH) had issued an arrest warrant against Jamil Hassan, until July 2019 head of the Syrian Air Force Intelligence Service. This measure is a milestone towards justice and accountability for all those affected by Assad's torture system.
In France, another arrest warrant was issued in October 2018 by the French investigative judges against high-ranking officials and close advisors to the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, namely Ali Mamluk, the head of the National Security Bureau, Jamil Hassan and Abdel Salam Mahmoud, senior Air Force Intelligence official as well as the head of the detention facility at al-Mezzeh military airport in Damascus. The charges include torture, enforced disappearances, crimes against humanity and war crimes.