Spain: court begins hearings on Syria war crimes

Hearings began in Spain on April 10 regarding potential war crimes committed by President Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria. The case is a result of a Spanish national’s brother being abducted and tortured in Damascus before being executed in 2013. The family claims that the brother was not part of an opposition group and just a truck driver making a delivery. The family was able to identify the body after a forensic photographer smuggled the photos out of Syria. The photographer may testify in the case next month. The investigation involved nine of Assad’s closest aides but not Assad himself due to his immunity. Spain is the first to hold a criminal investigation of potential war crimes into Syria, as Russia has blocked referral of the Assad regime to the International Criminal Court.

From Jurist, April 11. Used with permission.

Note: The Spanish case “will specifically allow the [Spanish] Courts to investigate the torture and execution of thousands of civilians in the illegal detention facilities established” by the regime across Syria. The Assad regime has now been widely accused of genocide, including a systematic extermination of detainees.