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.
In the course of a military action in Gaza in 2014, Israel’s armed forces killed, among others, members of the German-Palestinian Kilani family. For seven years, ECCHR and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) have attempted to seek justice on behalf of the bereaved son from Germany, Ramsis Kilani, for these attacks. In August 2021, the German Federal Public Prosecutor decided not to initiate proceedings.
Cooperation Forensic Architecture
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 258 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.
In November 2017, ECCHR and nine Syrian women and men filed a criminal complaint concerning crimes against humanity and war crimes with the German Federal Public Prosecutor. The complaint is directed against ten high-ranking officials of the National Security Office and Air Force Intelligence, among them Jamil Hassan, its former head.
German authorities must finally prosecute sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in Syrian detention centers for what it is: a crime against humanity. This is the aim of a criminal complaint that seven survivors of Bashar al-Assad’s torture system submitted in June 2020 to the German Federal Public Prosecutor in Karlsruhe.
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.
In December 2005, Wolfgang Kaleck, founder and general secretary of ECCHR, filed a criminal complaint against former Uzbek minister of interior Zakir Almatov, the Uzbek head of secret service Rustan Inojatov, and others to the Federal Public Prosecutor on behalf of eight Uzbek citizens because of torture and crimes against humanity.