In Germany a criminal complaint provides German authorities (public prosecutors, police, or the district court) with information on a potential crime, allowing them to take further investigatory steps. If there are sufficient indications that a crime has been committed, prosecutory authorities are obliged to pursue the matter and undertake comprehensive investigations.
In the Mercedes Benz case ECCHR is assisting relatives of trade unionists who disappeared from a Mercedes Benz plant in Buenos Aires. A senior manager at the company stands accused of involvement in the disappearances and murders of trade union activists carried out by Argentine security forces
In 2013, ECCHR submitted a criminal complaint against a German manager of timber company Danzer Group. He is accused of aiding and abetting, through omission, the crimes of rape, grievous bodily harm, false imprisonment and arson in the DR Congo.
The 18 minute video from Forensic Architecture details the lack of stairs, emergency exits, fire extinguishers and fire alarms in the factory. Inadequate fire safety measures at the company, a supplier for the German clothes retailer KiK, led to the agonizing deaths of 260 factory workers in the blaze.
In 2010, those affected by the construction of the Merowe dam in North Sudan filed criminal complaints against Lahmeyer employees. The German company played a major role in the construction. Over 4,700 families lost their belongings and their means of subsistence.
Syrian prisons have been places of systematic degradation, unimaginable torture and mass executions for several years. ECCHR supported a criminal complaint that was filed in Germany against seven high-ranking Syrian military officials.
Senior officials of Bashar al-Assad's government are responsible for the international crimes committed at Air Force Intelligence branches. A criminal complaint supported by ECCHR is directed against ten named high-ranking officials from the National Security Bureau and the Air Force Intelligence.
The Syrian government led by president Bashar al-Assad is responsible for systematic and widespread torture. ECCHR together with seven Syrian torture survivors as well as the Syrian lawyers al-Bunni and Darwish submitted the first criminal complaint against six high-level officials of the Syrian military intelligence service to the German Federal Prosecutor.
The group around the former Syrian military police employee 'Caesar' took for the first legal action by filing together with ECCHR a criminal complaint against senior officials from the Syrian intelligence services and the military police concerning crimes against humanity and war crimes.
They survived torture and detention in Syria and fled to Europe, where they now hope to obtain justice. Austrian authorities should follow the example set in Germany, Sweden and France and initiate investigations into systematic torture under Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.
Between 2004 and 2007, three complaints were filed in Germany and in France against members of the US Government, including former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and members of the military forces in connection with war crimes, torture and other criminal acts in the military prisons of Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib.
A criminal complaint against former Uzbek minister of interior Zakir Almatov, the Uzbek head of secret service Rustan Inojatov, and others was filed to the Federal Public Prosecutor on behalf of eight Uzbek citizens because of torture and crimes against humanity.