To counter injustice with legal interventions – this is the aim and daily work of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR).
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 together with other international human rights lawyers, in order to protect and enforce the rights guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as other declarations of human rights and national constitutions, through legal means.
Together with affected persons and partners worldwide, ECCHR uses legal means to end impunity of those responsible for torture, war crimes, sexualized violence, corporate exploitation and fortressed borders.
Europe has opportunity to hold Syria accountable for state torture
Trials and investigations in Europe can pave the way to end impunity for grave crimes committed by the government of Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad. Five torture survivors filed criminal charges, including crimes against humanity, against 17 senior officials of Assad’s security apparatus on 11 November in Oslo. The crimes detailed in the complaint were committed in 14 detention facilities throughout Syria by officials connected to the Military Intelligence, General Intelligence and Political and Criminal Security divisions.
No indictment for complicity in crimes against humanity
The Investigation Chamber of the Paris Court of Appeals revoked the indictment of French company Lafarge for complicity in crimes against humanity committed in Syria and Iraq – in particular by the "Islamic State" (IS). ECCHR and Sherpa will appeal at the French Supreme Court.
The first trial worldwide on state torture in Syria is expected to start in Germany in early 2020. Norway could also play a role in the international efforts to hold to account those responsible for international crimes committed by the Syrian government.
German Federal Prosecutor files charges former high-ranking Assad government official with more than 4,000 cases of torture
Im October 2019, the German Federal Prosecutor filed charges against two former officials of the Syrian General Intelligence Directorate at the Higher Regional Court in Koblenz. The first trial worldwide about state torture in Syria is expected to start in 2020 in Germany – an important message in the fight against impunity.
French court rejects organization’s admissibility in Lafarge/Syria case
Today, the Investigation Chamber of the Paris Court of Appeals rejected the nonprofit organizations Sherpa and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights’ (ECCHR) admissibility as civil parties in the case against French multinational construction company Lafarge for its role in Syria. Sherpa and ECCHR filed the original lawsuit against Lafarge, together with 11 former employees.
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