Invoking the “extraterritorial jurisdiction” of French justice, the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) and Syrian Archive filed this complaint on Monday with the constitution of civil party so that an investigating judge could investigate the sarin gas attacks committed in August 2013 in the city of Douma and in Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus. According to the United States, more than 1,400 people have died in these attacks.
“Create a special international tribunal to try them”
This complaint, which is based on numerous testimonies and documentary evidence including photos and videos, should make it possible to “determine the responsibility of those who ordered and carried out these attacks”, indicate the NGOs, stressing that they have carried out an “analysis of the Syrian military chain of command”.
For Hadi al Khatib, director of Syrian Archive, quoted in the press release, the Syrian government, which “has not been transparent about its production, use and storage of chemical weapons”, “must be held accountable” . “In addition to investigating and prosecuting these crimes, when they have jurisdiction, states must cooperate to create a special international tribunal to try them,” said Mazen Darwish, director of SCM.
Syria still has a “robust” chemical weapons stockpile
The three NGOs had already filed a complaint in October 2020 with the German Federal Prosecutor’s Office, which targeted the facts of 2013 but also a sarin gas attack perpetrated in April 2017 in Khan Cheikhoun, between Damascus and Aleppo.
After the 2013 attacks, the Syrian regime pledged to dismantle its stockpile of chemical weapons. But according to a report by OSJI and Syrian Archive revealed in October 2020, Syria has an “still robust” chemical weapons program, the Syrian authorities using “stratagems” to deceive the Organization for the prohibition of weapons chemicals (OPCW), the body believed to have dismantled the Syrian chemical arsenal.
Source site www.europe1.fr