Who we are

To counter injustice with legal interventions – this is the aim and daily work of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights.

ECCHR is an independent, non-profit legal and educational organization dedicated to enforcing civil and human rights worldwide. It was founded in 2007 by Wolfgang Kaleck and other international human rights lawyers to protect and enforce the rights guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as other human rights declarations and national constitutions, through legal means.

Together with those affected and partners worldwide, ECCHR uses legal means to end impunity for those responsible for torture, war crimes, sexual and gender-based violence, corporate exploitation and fortressed borders.


On the occasion of the arrest of Alaa M


“Suspected perpetrators like the Syrian doctor Alaa M and similar cases must be investigated. German authorities have come across these cases due to their structural investigation of the situation in Syria (Strukturermittlungsverfahren), which began in 2011. Many Syrian survivors, activists, lawyers and organizations like ECCHR have contributed to the investigation. However, it is equally important to look beyond these individual cases. Torture is widespread in Syria and used as tool to dominate and control the civilian population.

Like the two defendants in the al-Khatib trial in Koblenz, Germany, the man arrested today, Alaa M, was not a lone perpetrator. He worked in a system that promotes and requires torture. We hope that investigations will also reveal information about his superiors and high-ranking officials.

These cases must always be looked at as part of a system. Perpetrators who steer this system must be identified and brought to justice. ECCHR has filed eight criminal complaints about Syria. Issuing an arrest warrant for Jamil Hassan in June 2018 was an important first step by Germany to come to terms with the crimes committed in Syria.”

Patrick Kroker, head of ECCHR’s Syria team



Trial updates: First trial worldwide on torture in Syria


In April 2020, the first criminal trial worldwide on state torture in Syria started in Germany. ECCHR supported 17 Syriacan find our reports on the proceedings.


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.


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


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.


“Caesar” photos document systematic 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.


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


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.


Torture under the Assad regime


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.

Press Contact

Maria Bause
T: +49 30 69819797
M: presse@ecchr.eu

Philipp Jedamzik
T: +49 30 29680591
M: presse@ecchr.eu