A step towards accounting for the head of the system

  Dean Raslan committed 27 of the 58 counts of murder and rape (Thomas Free/AFP)

It seems that the Syrians’ dream of justice and accountability for the perpetrators of crimes and violations against them, which the Syrian regime adopted in suppressing their demand for freedom and justice, since the start of the revolution in 2011, has reawakened, with the issuance of a ruling in Germany Life imprisonment for a former Syrian intelligence officer.

This week, the German judiciary issued a verdict of convicting Anwar Raslan committing crimes against humanity.

Syrian opponents welcomed this ruling, which they described as “just a step towards holding the regime’s president, Bashar al-Assad and his senior aides accountable.”

Raslan, 58, was charged with committing 27 of the 58 counts of murder, rape and sexual assault, in a detention facility in Damascus run by an intelligence unit he headed and affiliated with Bashar al-Assad’s security services. Raslan denied the charges against him.

Raslan’s trial took place under Germany’s judicial laws that allow courts to hear crimes against humanity committed anywhere in the world.

The founder of the “Syrian Network for Human Rights”, which provided aid to the prosecution and prepares lists of victims, Fadel Abdul Ghani, told Reuters that the conviction reveals that “these crimes against humanity are (systematic and widespread) crimes that no individual can commit, and it is the policy of the regime. Therefore, this is a condemnation of the entire regime, especially the head of the regime, Bashar al-Assad.”

Omar Al-Shughari, an activist responsible for the detainees’ file in the Syrian Emergency Organization, commented to Reuters, “The ruling will not restore the heart of the mother who lost her son under torture and the suffering that the detainee went through under torture, but it is an opportunity to renew hope that the Syrian regime will fall.” “.

The former opposition negotiator, Muhammad Sabra, tweeted: “The verdict on Anwar Raslan is a victory for justice and a victory for the principle of bearing consequences and responsibility… It is a small step, despite its importance, towards holding all perpetrators of war crimes and human rights violators accountable in Syria.”

AndSyrian writer and opposition writer Rima Fleihan wrote:On her page: “Justice has been achieved in Syria by issuing a verdict on Anwar Raslan? Certainly not, but it is an important step on the path to justice, and every verdict that will be issued against any war criminal from any party is an investigation of parts of justice. The rationale for the ruling The testimonies and evidence in the trial are a condemnation of the entire Syrian regime and its intelligence services.”

She added: “Justice will be achieved in Syria when all those responsible for war crimes and serious violations of human rights are held accountable on all sides, and by releasing all detainees and detainees, and clarifying the fate of the forcibly disappeared and abductees, and when the rights return to their owners and the aspirations of Syrians are fulfilled by reaching a free, democratic homeland and a civil state that preserves The rights and dignity of its male and female citizens. Only then will justice be achieved.”

AndActivist Nouran Al-Ghamyan commentedOn this day Anwar Raslan took a life sentence. When I was in the courtroom in the morning and the judge pronounced the verdict… I was not capable (capable) of determining my feelings, I was completely overwhelmed (overwhelmed) with everything that happened ten years ago and with everything that was happening today… I know that this (this) person is today He is receiving punishment for his deeds... (to what degree) the human being is in us, a moment of loneliness like that is able to revive him.”

And she added: “Razana (satisfied) with the verdict and happy with it, and looking forward to every person who was a victim of a criminal like Anwar, for nearly two years, the survivors and I have been able to continue with a case that was never easy psychologically and emotionally, considering that “Anwar’s case was concluded, but a case The Syrian people are complementary, and it is very certain that this is a step we have started (beginning) with, and we will all complete it one day.... We hope to get Bashar al-Assad (the head of the Syrian regime) to trial.”

An opposition activist in Damascus, who asked not to be named for security reasons, told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that he feared that the results of Raslan’s case would be reflected on the Syrian interior, saying that “regime officers today will be more committed to the regime and defend their survival in its ranks, to protect themselves, as they are today. They have become more brutal, and they may perceive every detainee as a danger to their future, as he will be a witness to them if courts are set up to hold war criminals and human rights violators accountable, and they may even kill them inside the prisons.”

Regarding what was raised about Raslan’s defection from the regular forces, for his rejection of excessive violence and violations against the Syrians, the director of the “Syrian Center for Legal Studies and Research,” lawyer Anwar al-Bunni, who is considered the first person to pursue Raslan legally, after discovering by chance his presence in Germany, In a press statement, “Anwar Raslan did not announce his defection from the regime, neither when he left Syria nor before the court. Rather, he said before it that he had to leave Syria after the Houla massacres, and he did not express his rejection of the regime’s killing and torture, but in his last statement he spoke about He left behind him 26 years of military service, as if this service would honor him.”

Al-Bunni pointed out that “even the court was not convinced that Raslan had separated from the regime, but rather still worked within its departments, and I discovered from his words and actions that he did not leave his work, starting with his speech rejecting the existence of torture or methodology, and even the existence of torture tools, as he said that the intelligence branch is An education center for citizens, and he adopted the regime’s discourse when he told the court: We were defending you. You should thank us. We were fighting terrorists. He is aware of the names of the witnesses and the regime’s threat to them, although their names have not been announced, and he is well aware of aspects that were not mentioned in the court, but rather in the documents. This confirms that he did not change his job, but rather his place of work.”

On Thursday, the “Syrian Center for Legal Studies and Research” issued a statement in which it welcomed the conviction decision, and considered it “a milestone in the history of the German judiciary and the history of global justice, because it is issued against a high-ranking criminal, a conviction for crimes against humanity within the context of the crimes he commits, and is still being committed.” perpetrated by the authoritarian regime in Syria.

He pointed out that “although the verdict appears to be on one defendant, the rationale for the indictment, the demands of the Public Prosecution, the pleadings of the prosecution’s lawyer, and even the arguments of the defendant’s defense lawyer, up to the merits of the verdict, extended and condemned the regime that rules Syria with iron, fire, fear and terrorism.” more than fifty years ago.”

It is noteworthy that the ruling was welcomed and supported by international and Syrian organizations, as Human Rights Watch praised it, describing it as “historic.”

The official of “Amnesty International” in Germany, Markus Biko, said that the court “has clearly and officially established the inhumane conditions of detention and the systematic acts of torture, sexual violence and killing in Syria.” Likewise, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet welcomed the ruling, saying that “today’s ruling must advance all efforts to expand the accountability network for all perpetrators of the unspeakable crimes that characterize this brutal conflict.”

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