What will the Koblenz trial show of state crimes in Syria?

Germany is taking a decisive lead on universal jurisdiction trials, with three trials opened successively in Koblenz, Frankfurt and Hamburg in the last three weeks. As reported in JusticeInfo, the Koblenz trial will be closely watched as a first judicial exposure of systemic crimes​ by the Syrian state. Our  Asymmetrical Haircuts partners discuss this with two invitees from Human Rights Watch in a new podcast.

What will the Koblenz trial show of state crimes in Syria?
Senior public prosecutor Jasper Klinge answers journalists' questions outside the courtroom during a break in the Al-Khatib trial against two Syrian defendants accused of state-sponsored torture in Syria, on April 23, 2020 in Koblenz, western Germany.© Thomas Lohnes / AFP
1 min 15Approximate reading time

To listen to the podcast, click on the "play" button below:

Despite the lock down due to Covid-19, a German court in Koblenz is hearing a landmark crimes against humanity case against two people alleged to be former Syrian intelligence officials. This is huge news: first time the Syrian state apparatus is on trial; first time the details of what’s been happening in a specific prison in Syria will be described in court; and the very interesting concept of ‘universal jurisdiction’ is being seen in action.

The two in question are Anwar R. and Eyad A., alleged to have been members of the mukhabarat; specifically, Syria’s General Intelligence Directorate.

It was the German human rights organization, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR),  along with Syrian lawyers, who have pushed this case forward.

For more details of what precisely they are accused of (lots of torture), and how the trial is seen in Syria, we spoke to Balkees Jarrah, associate international justice director and Sara Kayyali Syria Researcher at Human Rights Watch.

Do also check out a new podcast from Fritz SteiffBranch 251‘ which will feature victims, lawyers, details from the trial and asks whether a German court in a city nobody has ever heard of be able to deliver justice.

Asymmetrical Haircuts podcastASYMMETRICAL HAIRCUTS

This podcast has been published as part of a partnership between JusticeInfo.net and Asymmetrical Haircuts, a podcast on international justice produced from The Hague by journalists Janet Anderson and Stephanie van den Berg, who retain full control and independence over the contents of the podcast.