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Syrian doctor to be tried in Germany

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Syrian doctor to be tried in Germany

Syrian doctor war crimes
Syrian doctor to be tried in Germany for war crimes Photo: Omar Sanadiki/Reuters

Alaa Mousa, a Syrian doctor accused of crimes against humanity, will stand trial today in Frankfurt, Germany.

Having been accused of torturing detainees in a secret Syrian military prison, Mousa’s trial adds to a list of European legal cases brought against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s loyalists. In Koblenz, Germany, another court sentenced two former Syrian intelligence agents in the last year amid a strong humans rights legal push for the domestic application of universal jurisdiction.

Outside Germany, France has previously issued international arrest notices against Syrian intelligence officials. The intensifying pursuit of charges against regime-affiliated Syrians signals that, in Europe, legal justice for human rights violations takes precedent over expedient diplomatic normalization.

Close to victory at home and with Syria’s slow reemergence on the international stage, expect the issue of the Assad regime’s war crimes to severely limit Syrian prospects for alleviating European sanctions, especially as the UN prepares its own Syrian war crimes charges. Similar legal actions have begun in Austria, Norway and Sweden, and, while they are unlikely to directly impact Assad’s regime, they may be the arena through which Syrian refugees fight to write the history of the Syrian Civil War in the long-term.

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