Term

German Federal Public Prosecutor

The Office of the German Federal Public Prosecutor (Generalbundesanwaltschaft, GBA) is Germany’s highest prosecutory authority. The GBA is responsible for prosecutions in serious cases relating to crimes against international law and crimes concerning state security.

Syria

Proceedings against doctor Alaa M: Coming to terms with crimes in Syria continues

Crimes against humanity

In June 2020, the German police arrested Alaa M, who has since been held in detention awaiting trial. The reason: strong suspicion of complicity in crimes against humanity committed by the Syrian regime since 2011. Approximately one year after his arrest, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office announced that it had filed charges against M, a former Syrian doctor who allegedly tortured, killed and sexually abused people in military hospitals.

Belarus

Anti-government protests in Belarus

Repression

The systematic repression of the Belarusian population qualifies as a crime against humanity. In Germany, the Federal Public Prosecutor can act on the basis of the principle of universal jurisdiction when violations of international law have been committed.

Afghanistan

Kunduz airstrike – German military goes unpunished

Kunduz

On 4 September 2009, two US fighter jets, acting on the orders of German Army Colonel Georg Klein, bombed a large group of people and two tanker trucks on a sandbar in the Kunduz River in Afghanistan. More than 100 people were killed or injured. ECCHR is assisting Abdul Hanan, a father who lost his two sons, aged eight and twelve, in the attack.

Gaza

Israeli air strikes in Gaza: No justice for the Kilani family

War crimes

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.

Syria

Saydnaya military prison – Objective is to physically and psychologically break detainees

Torture

In Syria, the word Saydnaya has become a synonym for unimaginable torture, systematic degradation and mass executions. Together with four individuals who survived the torture in Saydnaya ECCHR has filed in Germany a criminal complaint against seven high-ranking Syrian military officials.

Syria

German authorities issue arrest warrant against Jamil Hassan, head of the Syrian Air Force Intelligence

Torture

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.

Syria

The path to justice leads through Europe – e.g. Austria

Torture

The path to justice for war crimes and torture in Syria also leads through Europe. After Germany, Sweden and France, Austrian authorities have initiated investigations into the Syrian intelligence services’ role in systematic torture. This followed a criminal complaint submitted by 16 Syrians, ECCHR, and its partners to the public prosecutor in Vienna in May 2018.

Syria

Torture under the Assad regime

Torture

The Syrian government led by president Bashar al-Assad is responsible for systematic and widespread torture. This is why in March 2017, ECCHR, seven Syrian torture survivors and lawyers Anwar al-Bunni and Mazen Darwish submitted the first criminal complaint against high-level officials of the Syrian military intelligence service to the German Federal Prosecutor.

Syria

“Caesar” photos document systematic torture

Torture

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.

Syria

Surveillance in Syria: European firms may be aiding and abetting crimes against humanity

Surveillance technology

The Syrian intelligence services have been collecting without cause information about political opponents, members of the opposition and human rights activists. Spying often goes hand in hand with torture. Software from Western corporations may have played a role in the surveillance. In order to address this, transnational investigations have to be initiated.

Syria

Survivors: Sexual violence by Syrian intelligence services are crimes against humanity

Sexual violence

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.

USA

Germany: Criminal Complaint against CIA Director Gina Haspel

Torture

ECCHR has filed a criminal complaint with the German Federal Public Prosecutor calling for investigations into Gina Haspel’s role in the torture of detainees at a CIA secret prison in Thailand in 2002. Haspel was appointed director of the CIA by President Donald Trump in May 2018.

Uzbekistan

Criminal complaint against Zakir Almatov

Torture

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.