Why the Koblenz trial is an exception?

In the field of universal jurisdiction, successes are rare and deserve to be closely watched, as Justice Info does in a first video of its brand new series IN CAMERA, released today - for the Koblenz trial, the first criminal trial involving state torture in Syria. Instead, the rule for victims is the difficulty in getting to this kind of trials, for a number of reasons precisely discussed in this new podcast episode by our Asymmetrical Haircuts partners and correspondents, Janet Anderson and Stephanie van den Berg, with their guests Sarah Finnin, FIDH EU Survivors’ Rights Project Coordinator and lawyer Patrick Kroker, who is responsible for ECCHR’s work on Syria. While Kroker points out that prosecutions against companies which benefit from operating in countries where the most serious crimes are committed, Finning underlines that « what’s important is not so much what is written in the law, but the attitude of those who are implementing that law ».

Why the Koblenz trial is an exception?© Thomas Lohnes / Pool / AFP
1 min 21Approximate reading time

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

We keep hearing about cases across Europe where victims of war crimes or torture are seeing their former torturers or prison guards now in court here in Europe. Like the case in Koblenz, which we’ve covered here – the first criminal trial involving state torture in Syria. The crimes were committed in Syria, the accused are Syrians, as are the survivors. But the court is in Germany.

In October three big NGOs who work in this area, FIDH, ECCHR and Redress brought out a report that said despite everything, there are still lots of barriers preventing victims from effectively participating in these kinds of proceedings.  

We got the report’s author Sarah Finnin, FIDH EU Survivors’ Rights Project Coordinator and practising lawyer Patrick Kroker, who’s responsible for ECCHR’s work on Syria to tell us more.

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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.