A special tribunal is a criminal court set up on an ad-hoc basis by the United Nations. It is generally set up to investigate core international crimes – war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide – in a specific conflict. To date special tribunals have been set up to prosecute crimes in the former Yugoslavia (1993), in Rwanda (1994), in Cambodia (2003) and in Lebanon (2005).
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.