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Evidentiary challenges in

universal jurisdiction cases

Universal Jurisdiction Annual Review 2019 #UJAR

1 Photo credit: UN Photo/Yutaka Nagata

This publication benefited from the generous support
of the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, the Oak Foundation and the City of Geneva.





12 CASES OF 2018




















The Netherlands

The United Kingdom


The United States of America




The present report only highlights cases where  judges or prosecutors  have
initiated investigations into the most serious international crimes. It does not,
therefore, include every complaint that victims, lawyers and NGOs filed under
universal jurisdiction with national authorities in 2018, if they did not result
in significant judicial advances, are still pending, or have been dismissed by
relevant national authorities. The report also refers to cases of serious crimes
under international law based on active or passive personality jurisdiction where
the relevant case has also had an impact on the practice of universal jurisdiction.

While every attempt was made to ensure accuracy, information may be subject
to change without notice.

This report has been researched and written by Valérie Paulet, Project
Coordinator at TRIAL International, in collaboration with REDRESS, the European
Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), the International
Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the International Foundation Baltasar
Garzón (FIBGAR).

The organizations are grateful to the following persons for their assistance
and collaboration in collecting the information compiled in this report:
the NGOs  Guernica 37,  The Center for Justice and Accountability
(CJA)  and Civitas Maxima,  as well as  Aitor Martínez, Alain Werner, Luc
Walleyn, Joseph Breham, Hélène Legeay, Thijs Berger, Tom Laitinien,
Eric Emeraux, Una Schamberger, Juliette Rémond-Tiedrez, Louis Perez and all
the prosecutors from war crimes units that gave us the latest updates on their
public cases.

This publication benefited from the generous support of the Taiwan Foundation
for Democracy, the Oak Foundation and the City of Geneva.


In 2018, universal jurisdiction has again demonstrated its potential to curb

impunity for international crimes. Several arrest warrants were issued against
the inner circle of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in France and in Germany.
The former Gambian Minister  of the Interior is awaiting trial in detention in
Switzerland. Investigations are ongoing in Austria against officials of the Syrian
intelligence services. Around the world, the net is tightening around suspects of
the gravest crimes.

Yet, all practitioners know how hard-won these victories are, and how
many other cases have been abandoned due to political, legal, logistical or
budgetary hurdles.

For the fifth edition of the Universal Jurisdiction Annual Review (UJAR), we have
chosen to focus on the evidentiary challenges inherent to universal jurisdiction.
Each case presented in the following pages, successful or unsuccessful,
illustrates the countless complexities arising from investigating and prosecuting
crimes remotely.

But this publication also highlights the solutions and good practices that have
emerged in 2018. From many of the selected cases, lessons can be drawn and
eventually applied to different contexts. We hope that the UJAR will be used as a
practical tool to disseminate good practices and inspire judicial actors resorting
– or considering resorting – to universal jurisdiction.

This UJAR also sheds a light on the continuing cooperation required in universal
jurisdiction cases. The fight against impunity brings together a wide array of
actors, both legal and non-legal. Joining forces, recognizing our complementarity,
overcoming our differences, and building mutual trust are the only way to ensure
no state remains a safe haven for war criminals.

The stakes are too high. The need is too urgent. The moment for action is now.

Philip Grant
TRIAL International Director

Valérie Paulet
TRIAL International Project Coordinator

Photo credit: Pexel

Building on shifting sands:

evidentiary challenges in
universal jurisdiction cases

Mass crimes, remote locations, Survivors, prosecutors, lawyers,
protection of victims and investigators, diasporas, NGOs, Authorities, civil
witnesses, procedural obstacles, victims’  associations  and media are
learning to work together, sometimes
society, local
outreach. Those are just some in unexpected ways, to offer victims communities
of the challenges inherent to the best chance of justice for the most
universal jurisdiction cases. serious crimes. A crucial ally for national prosecuting
From gathering evidence to authorities is civil society. NGOs have
more flexibility to enter a country
tracking down suspects, each Investigating from the and document atrocities, insofar as
step of the process is long,
complex, often frustrating other side of the world a simple visa could let them in – as
opposed to the official laissez-passer
and sometimes downright Crime scenes are the traditional required by state institutions. They can
dangerous. The legal world’s starting point for any criminal therefore operate more freely, more
answer to those challenges? investigation. But in universal swiftly, and more discreetly.
Joining forces. jurisdiction cases, they are by
definition situated abroad. Where to NGOs also have a more permanent
The nature and scale of international start fieldwork in a country one has presence in the field and direct
crimes – such as genocide, crimes never been to? Collaboration with contacts with victims and survivors.
against humanity and war crimes – local authorities “is as necessary For these reasons, they can offer
make them among the most complex as it is tricky”, according to Thijs valuable contacts in the field. “We
to prosecute. These difficulties are Berger, a Prosecutor of the Dutch War collaborate closely with local NGOs,”
multiplied when investigations or Crimes Unit. explains Emmanuelle Marchand.
trials take place far away from where “They are the ones present in the
the crimes were committed. Be it for For the sake of fair trials, prosecuting country, interviewing victims and
political, legal or security reasons, authorities are bound by the same witnesses, identifying zones where
holding accountable alleged criminals standards when they investigate crimes were committed. Without the
may only be possible remotely: that is abroad as when they build locals’ knowledge, we would not know
when universal jurisdiction kicks in. domestic cases: independence where to start.”
and confidentiality. Likewise, the
Under this principle, states may or standard of proof they will have to Tom Laitinen, a State Prosecutor in
shall prosecute criminals present present in court remains unaltered Finland, recalls for instance how an
on their territory, regardless of the by the tremendous challenges to international NGO assisted his team in
criminal’s nationality, where the investigating abroad. a Rwandan case: “They had conducted
crimes took place, or  the  victims’ their own investigation on the same
location and nationality. Based on the An additional challenge is that these village where our suspect had acted
concept that certain crimes endanger standards vary from one country to during the genocide. We were able to
the very essence of mankind, this tool another, and there is sometimes no talk to one of their researchers, who
was developed to give power to the telling in advance where the trial shared some information with us.”
whole world to punish these crimes. will take place. “Where and when a

But universal jurisdiction comes with

trial opens is very dependent on the
suspects’ movements, and the will of a
The paper chase of
significant challenges. In some cases, state to initiate prosecution,” explains finding witnesses
prosecuting authorities are unable to Emmanuelle Marchand, Senior Legal
enter the states where atrocities were Counsel at Civitas Maxima, a Swiss Because of the difficulty of accessing
committed; unstable contexts mean NGO defending victims of war crimes crime scenes, forensic evidence
witnesses are hard to find and may be and crimes against humanity. “As a is often scarce in universal
too afraid to testify; evidence may be result, we gather evidence without jurisdiction cases. Therefore, a case
hard to collect. Geographical distance knowing which court will examine is often heavily reliant on witnesses’
places a large financial burden on the it, and the rules of admissibility of statements. But both NGOs and
investigations. evidence may be widely different.” prosecuting authorities acknowledge
the difficulty of identifying and meeting
An impossible task? Not quite. with witnesses.
Around the world, a constellation of
actors is joining forces against the
odds to uphold universal jurisdiction.

Once again, human connections are Central Office to fight crimes against for a couple of days. In these cases,
the answer: “There is a lot of calling humanity, genocides and war crimes, we work night and day in order to
around. You talk to one person, and explains: “When we are looking gather information and prepare a
they know somebody who knows for someone, we leave no stone complaint up to standards that are
somebody, who tells you ‘my wife’s unturned: we look at bank accounts, necessary to trigger the opening of a
cousin’s nephew used to be in that energy or telecommunications bills, criminal investigation,” says Benedict
fighting faction’. If you are lucky interrogate hotels and hospitals in De Moerloose, Head of International
enough to talk to that person, then case the suspect checked in, search Investigations and Litigation at TRIAL
maybe he will be an interesting the database of airplane companies. International.
witness,” says Thijs Berger. We knock on every door, because
one successful lead is all we need Eric Emeraux agrees that universal
According to human rights consultant to get started.” jurisdiction relies on momentum,
Hélène Legeay: “Families of victims which is often unpredictable: “A case
are often willing to speak, but they Yet even the most organized is like a living thing: it stalls for a
only have second-hand information. prosecuting authorities cannot while, then something moves and
The story of a direct victim is a lot operate alone. Immigration services, suddenly everything is moving fast!
more compelling, unfortunately it is a diasporas, intelligence agencies, and When it happens, you have to be ready
lot harder to find them and convince – once again – NGOs, are all crucial or you may miss your chance.”
them to talk.” channels of information. “We never
work alone,” explains Eric Emeraux. In the face of all these difficulties, it
Often, the most unlikely sources “We are immersed in a galaxy of is permitted to ask: is it worth all
provide the best information. Insiders other actors including NGOs, Europol, the trouble? The answer from the
– witnesses who may themselves have Interpol, Eurojust, etc. It’s all about legal world is an unequivocal yes.
taken part in the crime – can provide collaboration and trust.” Firstly, because universal jurisdiction
valuable information on the internal constitutes the only hope of justice
organization of a criminal enterprise. The boom of social networks has for countless victims. And secondly,
Thijs Berger is all too aware of that, also revolutionized this task. Joseph because tremendous successes –
as he has seen a case crumble like Breham is a French lawyer working unimaginable just a few years ago –
a house of cards: “In a case relating on universal jurisdiction cases: have been achieved. And every single
to Afghanistan, we lacked insider “One of the suspects of a case case is not only a victory in itself: it
witnesses who could make sense of we were working on had posted a also eases the way for many others,
a complicated military situation. We picture of himself on Facebook, because it reinforces the belief that
were able to establish that at least and the background buildings were justice can – and must – triumph. “We
two fighting units were present on looking remarkably like Paris. owe it to the victims to do our utmost,
the crime scene. And the question We had this picture authenticated to but also to future generations,”
was: which unit actually committed check whether he was indeed in the concludes Eric Emeraux. “If impunity
the crimes? We could not prove it French capital.” wins today, then sooner or later
in court. A crucial connection was conflicts will re-emerge and new
lacking between the suspect and the
crimes.” Unsurprisingly, insiders A narrow window of atrocities will be committed.”  

willing to collaborate are difficult to

find, since they may end up
incriminating themselves. Why is locating the suspect so
crucial and delicate? Because in
Hunting down the most cases,state authorities can only
open a case when a suspect enters
suspects themselves their territory. And sometimes, their
passage can be limited to a simple
In addition to all these investigative transit through an airport: then speed
hurdles, there is also the tracking is of essence. For NGOs, there is an
of the suspects themselves. The additional hurdle: they do not have
increasing permeability of frontiers the power to open a case or arrest
has made movements easier and a suspect and must rely on national
swifter than ever before for fleeing prosecuting authorities to do so.
criminals. Locating them can be
a needle-in-a-haystack task, as “In some instances, we find out that
Eric Emeraux, Head of the French a perpetrator will only be in town

149 18% 17
named suspects in more named accused on
15 countries suspects than last trial

8 2 111
convictions acquittals war crimes

90 15 42
crimes against genocide torture
humanity charges charges charges

Photo credit: Will Baxter/TRIAL International

Cases of 2018


VICTIMS DEMAND The first applicant, Ruben Amor

Benedicto Salmerón, is the
THE TRUTH ABOUT grandson of the disappeared José
Salmerón Céspedes who was forcibly
THE FRANCO disappeared, tortured, and executed
DICTATORSHIP in 1936 in Tetouan, then part of the
Spanish protectorate in Morocco. The
applicant demanded the exhumation
Rodolfo Martín Villa and others of his grandfather’s remains, which
he believes are buried in the European
cemetery of Tetouan.
The second case relates to Gustavo
Ongoing proceedings in Argentina Adolfo Muñoz de Bustillo, a 16-year-
against former Spanish officials and old executed on 11 September 1978,
other actors of the Franco dictatorship during violent riots in the transitional
for alleged serious crimes under period in Barcelona. Judge María
international law committed in Spain Servini de Cubría had first rejected
between 1936 and 1977 the case as it happened after the 1977 However, the Supreme Court
elections that ousted Franco. overturned this decision, while
Judge Baltasar Garzón was put on
Suspects On 22 October 2018, the Spanish trial for prevarication for his alleged
National Court (Audiencia Nacional, unfair interpretation of the amnesty
Former Spanish officials and other Sala de lo Penal) denied the request law. He was finally acquitted but the
actors of the Franco dictatorship from the Argentinian judge María amnesty law remains applicable, and
(including González Pacheco, former Servini de Cubría to come to Spain to the crimes committed by the Franco
police officer; Jesús Muñecas Aguilar, hear Rodolfo Martín Villa, as part of dictatorship cannot be investigated or
former captain of the Civil Guard; and the international rogatory commission prosecuted in Spain.
former government minister, Rodolfo issued in September 2017. The
Martín Villa) Spanish judge argued that the crimes
are prescribed; and executing the Procedure in
Country of residence international rogatory commission
would violate the 1977 amnesty law.
of suspects On 14 April 2010, Spanish and
On 26 October 2018, Judge María Argentinian human rights
Spain Servini de Cubría admitted the organizations filed a criminal
complaint filed two years ago by the complaint with the Argentinian
Charges NGO Women’s Link Worldwide on
behalf of six women repressed by
investigating judge Servini de Cubría
on behalf of Spanish victims. On 18
the dictatorship. The investigation September 2013, the Argentinian
Crimes against humanity, including
will examine cases of sexual assault, judge issued arrest warrants against
torture, extrajudicial killings, and
murder, forced abortion, and the theft four former officials of the Franco
enforced disappearances
of children under Franco’s regime. dictatorship (including González
Pacheco and Jesús Muñecas Aguilar)
Current status Procedure in Spain and requested their extradition in
order to stand trial for crimes against
Under investigation humanity, including acts of torture,
In December 2006, the Spanish
investigating judge, Baltasar allegedly committed in Spain between
Developments in Garzón, opened an investigation into July 1936 and June 1977.
allegations of crimes against humanity
2018 committed during the Franco
dictatorship. In October 2008, he ruled On 24 April 2014, the Spanish National
On 21 June 2018, the Argentinian that the 1977 Spanish law granting Court (Audiencia Nacional, Sala de lo
Federal Tribunal allowed two victims amnesty for crimes committed during Penal) rejected an extradition request
to join the proceedings against former the Franco dictatorship did not apply, issued on 18 September 2013 by Judge
Spanish officials and other actors of owing to the nature of the crimes. Servini de Cubría against González
the Franco dictatorship. Pacheco and Jesús Muñecas Aguilar.
On 30 October 2014, notwithstanding In June 2017, Judge Servini de Cubría Zoom in
the Court’s decision, the Argentinian issued an international arrest warrant
investigating judge issued detention against Rodolfo Martín Villa for the Establishing the
orders against 20 of the accused in death of five workers in Vitoria in unconditionality of
order to request their extradition to 1976. However, it was annulled by universal jurisdiction
Argentina. However, these orders were the Appeals Chamber as unfounded.
not executed in Spain, the authorities In July 2017, Judge Servini de Cubría In its judgment, the
arguing that the Spanish Amnesty issued a new arrest warrant against Federal Supreme
law prevails. Martín Villa for crimes against Court clarified that the
humanity and murder. universal jurisdiction
In 2015, the Judge Servini de Cubría principle is not one of
sent a second rogatory commission Read more about the case subsidiary application,
to the local tribunal of Guadalajara concurrent or limited
in Spain, requesting the exhumation to connections between
of the corpse of Timoteo Mendieta, the facts and the state
a trade unionist who was reportedly that intends to judge it.
imprisoned in the Guadalajara
Central Prison and executed in 1939. The Federal Supreme
It also provided for a DNA test of Court also judged
his daughter, Ascensión Mendieta, that the international
victim and plaintiff in the case. On qualification of a crime
24 November 2015, the Tribunal against humanity
of Guadalajara authorized the depends exclusively on
exhumation, which started on 19 the verification that a
January 2016. The exhumation of 22 determined illicit act
bodies from a first mass grave found is committed in the
nearby the Guadalajara prison did context of a generalized
not allow identifying the remains of or systematic attack
Timoteo Mendieta. against a civilian
population. It found
On 16 March 2016, Women’s link that the crimes could
Worldwide, an international women’s occur not only in the
organization based in Spain, filed a spatial-temporal
complaint calling for the investigation epicenter through
into systematic gender-based crimes which the attack
committed against women during the extends, but also in its
Franco regime. margins.

In August 2016, Judge Servini de

Cubría opened an investigation into
the death of Spanish poet Federico
García Lorca, pursuant to a complaint
filed by the Spanish Association for the
Recuperation of Historical Memory
(Asociación para la Recuperación de
la Memoria Histórica).

On 9 June 2017, the remains of

Timoteo Mendieta were identified
in a mass grave uncovered
nearby the Guadalajara prison.
The archaeological team of the
Association for the Recovery of
Historical Memory (ARMH) has
exhumed 28 other victims of the
Franco regime.

ARGENTINIAN On 28 November 2018, a federal
prosecutor formally requested
The complaint also denounces his
alleged role in the murder of Saudi
PROSECUTORS inquiries into whether the allegations
are being investigated elsewhere,
journalist Jamal Kashoggi, who was
killed on 2 October 2018 inside the
CONSIDER and into Mohammed bin Salman’s Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Saudi
CHARGES AGAINST diplomatic status and immunities. On
the same day, the competent federal
authorities deny any involvement
of the Crown Prince. Turkish and
CROWN PRINCE investigating judge sent information
requests to the governments of Saudi
US intelligence agencies found the
murder to have been premeditated
Prince Mohammed bin Salman Arabia and Yemen, to the International and ordered by Mohammed bin
Criminal Court and to the Argentine Salman himself.
Foreign Ministry.
Preliminary examination in Argentina
Current status OTHER PENDING
into alleged complicity in war crimes
and torture committed in Saudi Arabia
Preliminary examination, pending CASES
the opening of an official judicial
investigation • The Paraguayan indigenous
Suspect community case: proceedings

Crown prince and deputy prime

Facts closed in 2017

minister of the Kingdom of Saudi On 25 March 2015, an international

Arabia coalition led by Saudi Arabia launched
air strikes against the armed group
Country of residence of Houthis in Yemen, triggering a
major armed conflict. For three years,
of suspect Yemen has been ravaged by a war that
has already killed more than 10,000
Saudi Arabia people, half of whom are civilians.

Mohammed bin Salman was

Charges appointed Minister of Defense on 23
January 2015. One of his first acts
War crimes; torture and inhuman was to launch the military campaign
treatment in violation of the 1984 in Yemen along with other Arab states.
Convention against Torture
UN bodies and human rights groups
Developments in have denounced the widespread
violations of human rights and
2018 humanitarian law committed in
Yemen. Alleged violations include
On 26 November, the international deliberately targeting civilians, the
NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) filed use of illegal cluster-munitions,
a denunciation with the Argentine indiscriminate airstrikes and a naval
Federal Prosecutor in anticipation blockade which deprived civilians of
of Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to access to basic necessities.
Buenos Aires for the G20 Summit.
The submission asks the Argentine The complaint denounces alleged
authorities to investigate Mohammed violations of international law
bin Salman’s role in war crimes committed during the armed conflict
allegedly committed by the Saudi-led in Yemen as well as sexual harassment
coalition in Yemen, as well as in acts and torture, including electrocution
of torture and ill treatment of Saudi and flogging of Saudi citizens.
nationals, including the murder of
Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.


SUPREME COURT these murders were allegedly intended

to intimidate the population, to force
OVERTURNS the Syrian army to leave the contested
area, and to threaten or destroy the
JUDGMENT FOR political, constitutional, economic or
WAR CRIMES social structures of the Syrian state.

IN SYRIA Procedure
Name withheld
The accused sought asylum in Austria
in May 2015. He was subsequently
reported to the authorities by refugees,
Context whom he had told that he belonged
to the Farouq Brigades and that he
Ongoing proceedings in Austria for had fought against Syrian President
war crimes committed between 2013 Bashar al-Assad. The trial opened
and 2014 in Syria in February 2017 but was adjourned
shortly thereafter on medical grounds
Suspect after the accused collapsed in court.

Palestinian national, former member On 10 May 2017, the accused was

of the Farouq Brigades found guilty on 20 charges of murder
as a war crime and sentenced to life
imprisonment by a jury in Innsbruck.
Country of residence The Defense appealed the conviction,
arguing that the court failed to call key
of suspect witnesses who could testify to the fact
that the defendant had left Syria for
Austria Turkey in summer 2013, and that he
had not taken part in hostilities from
Charges January 2013 until his departure.

Terrorist offences, war crimes of On 12 December 2017, the Supreme

murder, and violations of the 1949 Court of Justice overturned the
Geneva Conventions conviction on grounds that the failure
to question these witnesses had
violated the rights of the defendant,
Developments in and remanded the case back to the
2018 regional court.

A retrial was scheduled to begin on 10

December 2018 before the Regional
Court of Innsbruck.

Current status
Conviction overturned; retrial ongoing

The accused is alleged to have
executed at least 20 unarmed and
injured Syrian government soldiers in
Al Khalidiya and Homs between 2013
and 2014. According to the charges,

INVESTIGATION Darwish (Syrian Center for Media
and Freedom of Expression), as well
OPENS AGAINST as the Center for the Enforcement of
Human Rights International (CEHRI)
THE AL-ASSAD Following the submission, the
REGIME prosecutor heard one of the
complainants and initiated a
Names withheld criminal investigation.

Current status
Ongoing investigation
Ongoing investigation by the
Austrian Prosecutor into international
crimes committed by the Syrian Facts
intelligence services
The investigation concerns crimes
against humanity and war crimes
Suspects committed by Military Intelligence,
Air Force Intelligence and General
High-ranking officials of the Syrian Intelligence, including murder,
intelligence services, including Military extermination, torture, serious bodily
Intelligence, Air Force Intelligence and harm and deprivation of liberty
General Intelligence services between February 2011 and January
2017 in 13 detention centers in
Country of residence Damascus, Daraa, Hama, and Aleppo.

of suspect Read more about the case


Crimes against humanity and
war crimes

Developments in
Austrian authorities have initiated
an investigation into the Syrian
intelligence services after 16 women
and men from Syria filed a criminal
complaint to the public prosecutor in
Vienna in May 2018.

The group of torture survivors – which

included an Austrian citizen – filed the
complaint together with the European
Center for Constitutional and Human
Rights (ECCHR), Syrian lawyers Anwar
al-Bunni (Syrian Center for Legal
Research and Studies) and Mazen



STAND TRIAL FOR The first proceeding involves three
GENOCIDE suspects: E.G., accused of genocide
and the war crimes of murder and
Names withheld rape; E.N., accused of genocide and
the war crimes of murder, attempted
murder, and rape; and F.N., accused
Context of genocide and the war crimes of
murder and attempted murder.
Upcoming trials in Belgium for
The second proceeding involves two
genocide and war crimes committed
accused: T.K., suspected of having
during the 1994 Rwandan genocide
committed genocide and the war
crime of murder; and M.B., accused
Suspects of genocide and the war crimes of
murder and attempted murder.
Rwandan nationals

Country of residence
of suspects

Genocide and war crimes

Developments in
In December 2018, pre-trial authorities
of the Brussels Criminal Court ruled
that five Rwandan nationals, E.G.,
E.N., F.N., T.K., M.B., are to stand trial
for crimes allegedly committed during
the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Current status
Detained, awaiting trial

The five accused allegedly participated
in crimes committed in 1994 in Rwanda
in connection with the genocide
of Tutsis and the massacre of
moderate Hutus.

ON THE 1989 The investigation is still ongoing but
• Tzipi Livni: investigation ongoing

LIBERIAN WAR should be completed by early 2019.

Martina Johnson
Current status
Under house arrest, indicted
The Martina Johnson case constitutes Facts
the first arrest and indictment for war
crimes and crimes against humanity Martina Johnson was allegedly
allegedly committed during the first actively involved in Operation Octopus
Liberian civil war (1989–1996). launched by Charles Taylor and his
NPFL troops in October 1992. This
Liberia’s former president, Charles offensive against the government and
Taylor, was sentenced on 30 May the peacekeeping forces was aimed at
2012 to 50 years in prison (confirmed taking over the capital Monrovia and
on appeal on 10 December 2013) for resulted in the deaths of hundreds of
the crimes he committed during the civilians, many of whom were targeted
Sierra Leone civil war in the 1990s. for ethnic reasons.
However, he was not prosecuted for
the crimes committed in Liberia by his
troops, the National Patriotic Front of
Liberia (NPLF). In 2012, three Liberian victims,
assisted by the NGOs Civitas Maxima
Suspect and its Liberian sister organization
the Global Justice and Research
A former frontline commander of the Project (GJRP), filed a complaint in
NPFL, Liberian Martina Johnson was Belgium against Martina Johnson
allegedly Charles Taylor’s chief of for her alleged direct participation in
artillery during Operation Octopus in mutilations and mass killings during
October 1992. Operation Octopus in October 1992.

Martina Johnson was arrested on 17

Country of residence September 2014 in Gent, Belgium,
of suspect based on documentation collected by
the two NGOs.
She was released on 4 May 2015 and
placed under judicial supervision.
Direct involvement in alleged war
Read more about the case
crimes and crimes against humanity,
including mutilation and mass killings



RAISES TECHNICAL In June 2014, 1,700 unarmed Iraqi
CHALLENGES army recruits were arrested at Camp
Speicher near Tikrit, Iraq, by members
The Iraqi twin brothers of the IS. The victims were laid on
the ground and shot one by one. The
Iraqi twin brothers are alleged to have
Context murdered 11 of them.

Ongoing proceedings in Finland Procedure

against Iraqi twin brothers for their
alleged implication in the Camp The 24-year-old Iraqi twin brothers
Speicher massacre near Tikrit, Iraq, in entered Finland in September 2015 as
June 2014 asylum seekers. They were arrested
by the National Bureau of Investigation
Suspect on suspicion of involvement in the
Camp Speicher massacre committed
on behalf of IS in Iraq. Their trial
Iraqi nationals and alleged Islamic
started on 13 December 2016 before
State (IS) fighters
the District Court of Pirkanmaa.

Country of residence On 30 November 2016, they were

charged with war crimes, murder,
of suspects and assault with terrorist intent. The
prosecution sought life imprisonment
Finland for the defendants, both of whom had
pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Charges On 24 May 2017, the District Court of
War crimes, murder and aggravated Pirkanmaa acquitted the Iraqi twin
assault committed with terrorist intent brothers for lack of evidence. They
were granted a compensation for their
pre-trial detention. The two accused
Developments in were allowed to reside in Finland. The
2018 prosecution appealed this judgment.

The appeal trial started on 11 Read more about the case

September 2018 but was postponed
until further notice due to
arrangements regarding hearings of
witnesses in Iraq. The Court of Appeal
decided that the main hearings would
not be formally opened before these
witnesses have been heard, “outside
the main hearing”.

Current status
Acquitted; on appeal

Field notes
“There were many problems
with the witnesses’

“The fact that some witnesses

testified from Iraq raised
many problems before the
District Court. We had to rely
on a video line that was very
poor. The statements were
difficult to hear, and the line
dropped for hours on end.
The Court also found
that the anonymity of the
witnesses posed a threat
to fair trial standards.”

Tom Laitinen, State

Prosecutor in Finland

FORMER IRAQI an IS militant. The video was uploaded
to Ahmed Jabbar Hasan’s Facebook
SOLDIER page, along with another video of him
posing in front of burning bodies.
WAR CRIMES Procedure
Ahmed Jabbar Hasan The investigation was launched in
May 2017 after the police had been
informed about the video by someone
Context who had seen it online.

The accused was arrested for three

Ongoing proceedings in Finland days at the end of June 2017. He was
against an Iraqi soldier for war crimes indicted in July 2018.
committed in Iraq, in March 2015

Iraqi nationals and former corporal in
the Iraqi army

Country of residence
of suspect

War crimes of desecrating and
violating the dignity of a dead body

Developments in
The investigation was ongoing in 2018.
On 10 January 2019, a Court in Helsinki
sentenced the accused to a 18 month
suspended sentenced for war crime,
after he was filmed cutting off the
head of a dead Islamic State fighter.

Current status

In March 2015, during an operation
against the Islamic state (IS) near
Karma in March 2015, the accused
was filmed decapitating the body of


ONGOING INVESTIGATIONS against three high-level regime

ON SYRIA suspects: Ali Mamluk and Jamil
Hassan, also subject to an arrest
warrant issued in Germany earlier this
year, are both wanted for complicity in
crimes against humanity, torture and
THREE enforced disappearances. Abdel Salam
Mahmoud, in charge of the Air Force
INTERNATIONAL Intelligence investigative branch at
Mezzeh military airport in Damascus,
ARREST WARRANTS a detention site with one of the highest
and enforced disappearances is
TARGET HIGH- mortality rates in Syria according
to the UN’s Commission of Inquiry, ongoing before the French specialized
RANKING AL-ASSAD is wanted on war crimes charges unit for the prosecution of genocide,
crimes against humanity, war crimes
as well as complicity in crimes
REGIME OFFICIALS against humanity, torture and and torture within the Paris High
enforced disappearances. Court (hereinafter: the specialized
The Dabbagh family investigation unit), resulting in the issuance of three
international arrest warrants against
Current status the high-ranking regime officers.

Context Judicial investigation ongoing; Read more about the case

international arrest warrants issued
Ongoing investigation in France for
international crimes committed in
Syria in 2013 Facts
In November 2013, Patrick Dabbagh
Suspects and his father, Mazen Dabbagh, both
dual French-Syrian nationals, were
Ali Mamluk, director of the National arrested from their home in Damascus
Security Bureau; Jamil Hassan, head by Syrian Air Force Intelligence agents
of the Syrian Air Force Intelligence and detained for interrogation at the
and Abdel Salam Mahmoud, director Mezzeh investigative branch. Neither
of an Air Force Intelligence one has been seen since.
investigative branch
In summer 2018, the Dabbagh family
Country of residence received formal notification from the
Syrian authorities that Patrick and
of suspects Mazen had died.

Charges On 24 October 2016, a complaint
was filed with the Paris High Court
Complicity in crimes against humanity, by Obeida Dabbagh, a Syrian-French
torture and enforced disappearances; national, on behalf of his brother and
war crimes nephew, Mazen and Patrick Dabbagh,
both Syrian-French nationals,
together with FIDH and LDH. Obeida
Developments in Dabbagh alleged that they were
2018 arrested in 2013 in Syria by the Air
Force Intelligence Directorate and
In October 2018, in an unprecedented detained at the investigative branch in
step towards accountability for crimes Mezzeh (Damascus). They have since
committed in Syria, French judges disappeared. A judicial investigation
issued international arrest warrants into torture, crimes against humanity,

SYRIAN ARMY French photojournalist
Ochlik and American war crimes

BOMBARDMENT correspondent Marie Colvin were

both killed in the attack. Several
TARGETING other journalists were injured in the
JOURNALISTS attack, including French journalist
Edith Bouvier as well as Syrian and
IN HOMS British journalists who were using
the center as a base to report on
The Rémi Ochlik and Edith the events in Homs in early 2012.
Bouvier investigations
Context This case was originally opened
in 2012 as a homicide case but
Ongoing investigation into the was reclassified in 2014 as a war
murder of journalists during an army crimes case.
bombardment of a media center in
Syria in 2012 The families of Rémi Ochlik and
Marie Colvin are civil parties in the
case, together with French, Syrian
Charges and British journalists injured in
the attack, FIDH, and Reporters
War crimes without Borders.

Developments in Read more about the case

On 9 April 2018, documents filed in a
US civil case concerning Marie Colvin’s
death were declassified. They allegedly
demonstrate the premeditated nature
of the Syrian army bombardment
of a media center in Homs that led
to the death of American journalist
Marie Colvin, French photographer
Remi Ochlik, and injuries to several
others including Edith Bouvier, Paul
Conroy and Wael al Omar. These
documents have been filed in the
ongoing war crimes investigation
underway in France.

Current status
Investigation ongoing

On 22 February 2012, a Syrian army
bombardment in Baba Amr, Homs,
led to the deaths or serious injury
of several journalists operating
from a media center based there.

INVESTIGATION Starting an investigation
without suspects
PHOTOS To investigate crimes under
universal jurisdiction,
French authorities must be
The Caesar investigation
able to prove the physical
presence (for torture and
enforced disappearances) or
Developments in the residence (for the Rome
Statute crimes) of a suspect in
2018 France.
The Caesar investigation is still Yet a structural investigation
ongoing, in collaboration with other on Syria is currently ongoing,
European countries, in particular in which the accused were
Germany, following the creation initially not identified.
in 2018 of the joint investigative How? France first based its
team between the French and jurisdiction on the possibility
German authorities. some perpetrators came
to France to claim asylum,
Procedure proving de facto their
presence in the country.
A former photographer, codenamed In 2018, this structural
Caesar, with the military police of investigation became part
the Syrian regime sought refuge of a joint investigation with
in Europe after fleeing Syria with Germany (see below).
thousands of pictures of dead and
abused bodies, attesting to the torture
committed in the jails of the regime of
Bashar al-Assad.

In September 2015, on the basis of

these pictures, the French ministry of
foreign affairs requested that the Paris
prosecutor of the French specialized
unit for the prosecution of genocide,
crimes against humanity, war crimes
and torture within the Paris High Court
(Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris)
open a preliminary investigation into
crimes against humanity, war crimes
and torture. France has jurisdiction
over these alleged crimes if one or
more of the victims is French, or if a
suspect has established his habitual
residence on French territory, or, in
the case of the crime of torture, if a
suspect is located on French territory.
Investigations are ongoing.

FIRST IN FRANCE: Developments in to Lafarge risking its employees’
lives and violating a number of basic
COMPANY INDICTED 2018 labor rights.

FOR CRIMES On 28 June 2018, three investigative Procedure

AGAINST HUMANITY judges of the Paris High Court
charged the legal entity Lafarge SA In September 2016, the French
Lafarge – Eric Olsen and others (now LafargeHolcim) with complicity finance minister filed a complaint
in crimes against humanity, financing before the Paris prosecutor against
of a terrorist enterprise, breaching an LafargeHolcim for its alleged illegal
Context embargo, and endangering the lives of
others. Lafarge allegedly paid millions
purchase of oil in Syria, despite the
EU embargo issued in 2012. The Paris
Proceedings against the cement of euros to ISIS and several armed prosecutor opened an investigation in
company Lafarge SA (now groups to keep their cement factory October 2016.
LafargeHolcim): on the one hand, running. The investigative judges
for financing terrorism, complicity in ordered LafargeHolcim to hand over On 15 November 2016, 11 former
crimes against humanity committed 30 million euros to the authorities as Syrian employees and the human
by the Islamic State in Syria (ISIS), and a security deposit ahead of a possible rights groups Sherpa and ECCHR filed
deliberate endangerment of people’s trial. a criminal complaint as civil parties in
lives; and on the other hand, for illegal Paris against Lafarge, Lafarge Cement
Eight former executives were also Syria, and their current and former
purchase of oil
charged in this case between CEOs, for financing of terrorism,
December 2017 and May 2018, and complicity in crimes against humanity
Suspects were requested to provide the courts committed in Syria and for a series of
with a deposit of several million euros. labor rights violations.
Current and former directors and top
executives of French-Swiss cement
company LafargeHolcim Group Current status On 9 June 2017, three investigative
judges of the Paris High Court
(crimes allegedly committed by the (Tribunal de Grande Instance de
Company as a legal entity and
French company Lafarge prior to Paris) opened an investigation into the
individuals indicted; the judicial
its 2015 merger with Swiss-based crimes alleged by the NGOs Sherpa
inquiry is ongoing
Holcim) and of its subsidiary Lafarge and ECCHR, and 11 former Syrian
Cement Syria. The suspects are employees. In September 2017, three
French and Norwegian nationals Facts of the victims were heard by one of the
investigative judges.
Country of residence The 2016 complaint filed by human
rights groups Sherpa and the European On 13 October 2017, the plaintiffs’
of suspects Center for Constitutional and Human NGOs filed a motion requesting that
Rights (ECCHR), with former Lafarge the investigative judges summon a
France and Switzerland (headquarters) Syrian employees, alleged crimes former French minister of foreign
committed in Syria between 2013 and affairs and two former ambassadors
2014 in relation to Lafarge’s cement
Charges factory in Jalabiya, in northern Syria; in
of France to Syria for questioning.

an area where several armed groups, On 14 November 2017, the French

Financing of a terrorist enterprise, including ISIS, were operating. Lafarge police searched the headquarters
complicity in war crimes, complicity in allegedly entered in negotiations with of LafargeHolcim in Paris. At the
crimes against humanity, deliberate ISIS to purchase oil and pozzolan same time, the Belgian federal police
endangerment of people’s lives, from them, as well as to obtain official searched the premises of Groupe
exploitative labor practices, forced ISIS passes for crossing checkpoints Bruxelles Lambert (GBL), the second
labor, and violation of the EU embargo in order to maintain its production largest shareholder of LafargeHolcim,
on oil purchases in the area. Testimonies also point in Brussels.

In December 2017, six former CEOs
and directors of Lafarge and Lafarge
Zoom in
Cement Syria were indicted on France leads the way in the
charges of financing terrorism and fight against corporate crime
deliberate endangerment of people’s
lives, and some on the additional France amended its law in
charge of breaching the EU embargo 2004 (Loi n° 2004-1343 du
on Syrian oil – namely: Eric Olsen 9 mars 2004) allowing the
and Bruno Lafont, former CEOs of prosecution of companies
Lafarge; Bruno Pescheux, CEO of the for all crimes entailed in its
Lafarge Syrian subsidiary between Criminal Code – including
2008 and 2014; and his successor, for their activities abroad.
Frédéric Jolibois; Jean-Claude
Veillard, Lafarge’s director of security; The condition is that a
and Christian Herrault, vice director physical representative of
at Lafarge. In March and May 2018, the company must have
Lafarge’s human resources executive committed the crime (in the
Sonia Artinian and former safety present case Eric Olsen and
director at LCS, Jacob Waerness, were his associates) in order to
indicted on similar charges. prosecute the corporation
as a moral person.
In June 2018, Lafarge as a legal entity
was charged in this case (see above).

Read more about the case

FRANCE REVOKES Current status Zoom in
REFUGEE Detained; under investigation
Why must Ahmed
Hamdane El Aswadi be
STATUS OF MASS judged in France?
France granted refugee
SUSPECT Ahmed Hamdane El Aswadi is status to Ahmed
Hamdane El Aswadi
suspected of having participated in
Ahmed Hamdane El Aswadi the June 2014 massacre of Camp in 2017. It revoked this
Speicher, a military base near status following the
Tikrit, where armed men abducted war crimes allegations,
Context and executed hundreds of young yet still recognized the
threats the accused
army recruits, mainly Shiites,
Ongoing investigation in France for killing up to 1,700 people. Based on would be exposed to if
war crimes and murder committed testimony from other suspects, the he returned to Iraq.
in Iraq in 2014 Iraqi authorities claim that Ahmed
Hamdane El Aswadi personally Subsequently,
executed 103 soldiers. The accused pursuant to the 1951
Suspect denies all involvement in the Geneva Convention
alleged crimes. on Refugees, Ahmed
Iraqi national and suspected member Hamdane El Aswadi
of Islamic State (IS) The accused arrived in France during could not be sent back
the summer of 2016. He was granted there to face trial.
Country of residence the refugee status in June 2017.
This protection was removed after
The only remaining
option was to judge
of suspect his arrest. him in France.

Charges In the summer of 2017, the French
intelligence services identified
Inhuman and degrading treatment Ahmed Hamdane El Aswadi as an
as war crimes and violations of the alleged IS member and reported his
1949 Geneva Conventions; terrorist presence to the judicial authorities.
conspiracy and murders linked to a
terrorist group In November 2017, the office of the
prosecutor of the French specialized
Developments in unit for the prosecution of genocide,
crimes against humanity, war
2018 crimes and torture within the
Paris High Court (hereinafter “the
On 6 March 2018, Ahmed Hamdane specialized unit”) requested the
El Aswadi was arrested in Lisieux, opening of an investigation against
Normandy. After two days in Ahmed Hamdane El Aswadi. He is
custody, he was indicted for criminal accused of having participated in the
conspiracy, murder in connection massacre of Camp Speicher in June
with a terrorist enterprise, and war 2014. He denies any involvement in
crimes of inhuman and degrading the events. This is the first case to
treatment and of using prohibited be investigated jointly by the anti-
means and methods of warfare. He terrorism and the specialized unit.
was subsequently placed in pre-trial
detention. Read more about the case

SAUDI CROWN On 24 November 2018, the Argentine
authorities received a complaint from
were known to the coalition; and the
bombing of a funeral hall in Sana’a
PRINCE UNDER Human Rights Watch for his alleged
responsibility in war crimes committed
on 8 October 2016, which resulted in
dozens of civilian casualties.
INVESTIGATION in Yemen, as well as alleged torture
against Saudi citizens. Mohammed
Prince Mohammed bin Salman
bin Salman arrived in Buenos
Aires for the G20 Summit on 28
November 2018.
Ongoing investigation in France Current status
for torture and inhuman treatment
committed during the Yemen war Under investigation

Suspect Facts
Crown prince and deputy prime On 25 March 2015, an international
minister of the Kingdom of coalition led by Saudi Arabia launched
Saudi Arabia air strikes against the armed group of
Houthis in Yemen, triggering a major
armed conflict. For three years now,
Country of residence Yemen has been ravaged by a war that
has already killed more than 10,000
of suspect people, half of whom are civilians.
Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman was
appointed Minister of Defense on 23
Charges January 2015. One of his first acts
was to launch the military campaign
Torture and inhuman treatment in Yemen along with other Arab states.

UN bodies and human rights groups

Developments in have denounced the widespread
2018 violations of human rights and
humanitarian law committed in
Yemen. Alleged violations include
On 9 April 2018, while Mohammed
deliberately targeting civilians, the
bin Salman was in France on a
use of illegal cluster-munitions,
personal visit, the Yemeni human
indiscriminate airstrikes and a naval
rights group Legal Center for Rights
blockade that deprived civilians of
and Development (LCRD) lodged a
access to basic necessities.
complaint against him with the French
specialized unit for the prosecution of
The complaint alleges that certain
genocide, crimes against humanity,
attacks on civilian targets constitute
war crimes and torture within the
violations of the 1984 Convention
Paris High Court (hereinafter “the
against Torture. These include the
specialized unit”). The complaint
destruction of an Oxfam warehouse
alleges that Mohammed bin Salman
containing humanitarian supplies
bears complicity in acts of torture
on 18 April 2015; airstrikes on a
and inhuman treatment committed
wedding ceremony on 28 September
by Saudi forces in Yemen since 2015.
2015, which killed 131 civilians; the
A judge should be designated to
26 October 2015 attack on an MSF
investigate the case.
hospital, the GPS coordinates of which

INVESTIGATION took command of the rebel army, the
“Libyan national army” (LNA).
OPEN ON BENGAZHY During the spring 2014, Khalifa
SIEGE Haftar and the LNA launched the
“Operation Dignity” to take over the
Khalifa Haftar
city of Benghazy.

Khalifa Haftar is accused of having

Context ordered, in October 2014, the attack of
a family in Benghazy. One of the family
Ongoing proceedings in France for members was allegedly arbitrarily
torture allegedly committed in Libya arrested and tortured for three weeks.
between 2016 and 2017
Between 2016 and March 2017, the
LNA is suspected of having committed
Suspect crimes while occupying the city of
Benghazy. Khalifa Haftar is accused
Commander-in-chief of the Libyan of having launched a campaign of
National Army (LNA) indiscriminate shelling, murders,
and forced disappearances against
Country of residence Al-Laitti, Bu-Atni and Ganfouda
neighborhoods, where many civilians
of suspect had found refuge.

Charges On 18 April 2018, a first complaint was
filed against Khalifa Haftar before the
Torture and acts of barbarism specialized unit for acts of torture.
The victim alleges that his family was
Developments in killed during “Operation Dignity” in
Benghazi. He also denounces that he
2018 was arbitrarily detained and tortured
for three weeks.
While Khalifa Haftar was in France for
medical reasons, two complaints for On 26 April 2018, Ali Hamza, a
acts of torture were filed respectively Lebanese-Canadian citizen residing
on 18 and 26 April 2018 against him in Canada, launched a complaint to
to the French specialized unit for the Prosecutor of the specialized unit
the prosecution of genocide, crimes for acts of torture and barbarity. He
against humanity, war crimes and alleges crimes committed by the ANL
torture, within the Paris High Court during the siege of Benghazi between
(hereinafter “the specialized unit”). 2016 and March 2017, during which
The investigation is ongoing. his mother and four of his brothers
and sisters lost their lives.

Current status Khalifa Haftar returned to Libya

following the filing of the complaints.
Under investigation
Read more about the case
In 2011, Khalifa Haftar joined the
Libyan insurgency against the
regime of Muammar Gaddafi and

A EUROPEAN On 4 September 2018, he was arrested Field notes
by the OCLCH agency – the French
COLLABORATION: police unit specialized in investigating
war crimes, crimes against humanity,
“Fear has changed
SWISS NGO SEEKS genocide, and torture. Kunti K. was
A WARLORD’S remanded in custody. “Universal jurisdiction
cases have had a huge
PROSECUTION He is suspected of torture, murder,
slavery, using child soldiers, and
impact in Liberia. For
years, any prosecution
IN FRANCE cannibalism committed between was not possible,
1993 and 1997, in Liberia during the victims could see
Kunti K.
civil war. former war lords
being nominated in

Context Current status the government. Now

they know that there
is another option, that
Indicted: remanded in custody
Ongoing proceedings in France for a breakthrough is
serious crimes under international possible. It triggered
law allegedly committed in Liberia Facts something in the
between 1993 and 1997 population: every day
Kunti K. allegedly committed crimes on the radio, people
Suspect against humanity between 1993 and
1997 as commander of the ULIMO,
are calling for war
crimes trials. Fear
during the first Liberian civil war has changed sides:
Alleged commander in the United
(1989–1996). it used to be on the
Liberation Movement for Democracy in
victims’ side, now it’s
Liberia (ULIMO), a rebel group fighting
In his capacity as ULIMO commander, on the perpetrators’.”
against Charles Taylor’s National
Kunti K. allegedly committed murder,
Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL)
enslavement, torture, cannibalism, Emmanuelle
and used child soldiers. Marchand, Senior
Country of residence Legal Counsel for the
Read more about the case NGO Civitas Maxima
of suspect
The Netherlands

Crimes against humanity, including
torture, use of child soldiers,
murders, cannibalism

Developments in
On 23 July 2018, the Swiss NGO
Civitas Maxima launched a complaint
in the name of Liberian victims before
the French specialized unit for the
prosecution of genocide, crimes
against humanity, war crimes and
torture, within the Paris High Court
(hereinafter “the specialized unit”).

IS SELLING SPYING Current status a company) accused by a witness,
or when there is some evidence
DEVICE TO AL- Under investigation
that a person may have been
complicit, as a perpetrator or an
ASSAD’S REGIME accomplice in committing the crimes
COMPLICITY IN Facts under investigation.

TORTURE? The brutal crackdown led by the In July 2015, five Syrian victims
testified anonymously as witnesses in
Syrian regime against civilians since
QOSMOS March 2011 has led to more than the case. All five witnesses had been
400,000 deaths, mainly of civilians, identified, arrested, and tortured by the
as well as innumerable arbitrary Syrian regime following surveillance
Context detentions, enforced disappearances, of their electronic communications.
They described in detail the violence
and cases of systematic torture in
Ongoing proceedings before the detention centers. In the early years they suffered in detention. For security
French specialized unit for the of the conflict, the Bashar al-Assad reasons, they were not able to act as
prosecution of genocide, crimes regime specifically targeted human civil parties in the case (because this
against humanity, war crimes and rights defenders, activists and cyber- would have required them disclosing
torture, within the Paris High Court activists. Identifying and tracking their identities).
(hereinafter “the specialized unit”), for these targets was possible thanks
allegedly aiding and abetting crimes of to sophisticated communication Read more about the case
torture committed in Syria since 2011 surveillance tools, including, it
is believed, technology designed
by French technology company,
Suspects QOSMOS. The company specializes in
developing tools designed to analyze
French companies, including digital data in real time, enabling
QOSMOS, and their management, intelligence services to intercept
as accomplices to acts of torture live electronic communications by
identifying specific key words, and
Country of residence to thus target and repress dissident
of suspects
France Procedure
On 22 July 2012, FIDH and LDH filed
Charges a request with the Paris Prosecutor
(Tribunal de Grand Instance de Paris)
Aiding and abetting acts of torture to open an investigation into the
by allegedly supplying surveillance possible supply by French companies,
material to the Bashar al-Assad including QOSMOS, of surveillance
regime in Syria material to the Syrian regime.

Developments in On 11 April 2014, the case was

transferred to the specialized unit and
2018 a judicial investigation into the alleged
role of QOSMOS in aiding and abetting
In January 2018, the investigative acts of torture in Syria was opened.
judge in charge of the case notified
his intention to close the investigation. In April 2015, after being questioned
Shortly afterwards, FIDH and LDH by the investigative judge, QOSMOS
filed a brief requesting the audition was attributed the status of “assisted
of a witness, which was accepted by witness”. This status, which can be
the judge. used prior to a formal indictment, may
be applied to any person (including

RWANDAN TRIALS IN FRANCE Current status On 18 March 2014, he filed a notice
of appeal. His sentence was upheld
on appeal on 3 December 2016. The
Sentenced to 25 years, confirmed on appeal hearings took place from 24
appeal; definitively sentenced October to 3 December 2016. On 3
DEFINITIVE December 2016, the French Criminal
SENTENCE FOR THE Facts Court (Cour d’Assises de Bobigny)
confirmed the verdict on appeal
FORMER HEAD OF Pascal Simbikangwa who allegedly and upheld his sentence of 25 years
imprisonment for genocide and
supplied weapons and other material
INTELLIGENCE to Hutu officers or militia, was said complicity in crimes against humanity.
Pascal Simbikangwa to be responsible for roadblocks in His defense lawyers appealed to the
the capital and to have instructed and Supreme Court (Cour de Cassation).
encouraged militiamen to actively
participate in the crimes. On 28 On 24 May 2018, the Criminal Chamber
Context October 2008, he was arrested by of the French Supreme Court (Cour
French Police in Mayotte for trafficking de Cassation) rejected the appeal,
The Pascal Simbikangwa trial was fake identity cards, under the false confirming Simbikangwa’s conviction
the first trial to take place in France identity of “Safari Senyamuhara”. His and sentence.
involving a Rwandan citizen for their correct identity was discovered during
role in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. his detention. Read more about the case

Suspect Procedure
Head of the Service Centrale des On 13 February 2009, the “Collectif
Renseignements (SCR), the Central des Parties Civiles pour le Rwanda”
Intelligence Service in Rwanda (CPCR) filed a criminal complaint in
Country of residence On 1 March 2013, the Office of the
of suspect Prosecutor of the French specialized
unit for the prosecution of genocide,
France crimes against humanity, war crimes
and torture within the Paris Tribunal
Charges (hereinafter “the specialized unit”)
requested the indictment of Pascal
Simbikangwa for aiding and abetting
Genocide, aiding and abetting
genocide, and aiding and abetting
genocide, and aiding and abetting
crimes against humanity committed in
crimes against humanity
Rwanda between April and July 1994.

Developments in He was indicted for these crimes on

29 March 2013.
Pascal Simbikangwa’s trial opened
On 24 May 2018, the French Supreme on 4 February 2014 before the Paris
Court (Cour de Cassation) rejected his Criminal Court (Cour d’Assises). The
appeal, thus definitively confirming his prosecutor requested a life sentence.
conviction for genocide and complicity
to crimes against humanity, and 25- On 14 March 2014, the Court sentenced
year prison sentence. Pascal Simbikangwa to 25 years’
imprisonment for his participation
in the genocide, and for aiding and
abetting crimes against humanity.

LIFE SENTENCE Facts Court (Cour de Cassation) dismissed
the appeal on 7 January 2015.
CONFIRMED Octavien Ngenzi was the mayor of The trial before the Paris Criminal
AGAINST TWO the Kabarondo district in eastern
Rwanda and the local leader of a
Trial Court opened on 10 May 2016
and lasted eight weeks, concluding on
MAYORS former political party called the 6 July 2016 with the conviction of both
National Republican Movement for Octavien Ngenzi and Tito Barahira for
Octavien Ngenzi and Tito Barahira Development and Democracy (MNRD). genocide and crimes against humanity.
Tito Barahira was a former mayor of They were found guilty of overseeing
the same district and the chairman the systematic practice of summary
Context of the MRND at the commune level. executions of ethnic Tutsis. Both were
Octavien Ngenzi and Tito Barahira sentenced to life imprisonment.
The case against Octavien Ngenzi were convicted of participating in
and Tito Barahira is the second trial the massacre of hundreds of Tutsis, On 7 July 2016, their lawyers
in France to have resulted in the including those who had sought announced their intention to appeal
conviction of Rwandan nationals for refuge in a church in Kabarondo on 13 the conviction.
their involvement in the 1994 genocide April 1994.
in Rwanda. The appeal trial took place between 2
Procedure May and 6 July 2018 before the Paris
Suspects Criminal Court (Cour d’Assises).
The defendants’ convictions and life
On 2 June 2010, the “Collectif des
Former Rwandan mayors Parties Civiles pour le Rwanda” sentences were confirmed on appeal.
(CPCR) filed a complaint against They have both appealed to the French
Octavien Ngenzi with the Office of the Supreme Court (Cour de Cassation).
Country of residence Prosecutor at the Mamoudzou
Read more about the case
of suspects Court (Tribunal de Grande Instance
de Mamoudzou, Mayotte). On 4 June
France 2010, Octavien Ngenzi was arrested
and detained in Mayotte.

Charges In October 2010, Tito Barahira was

indicted by the National Public
Genocide and crimes against humanity Prosecution Authority (NPPA) in
Rwanda for his alleged participation
Developments in in the genocide and for alleged
incitement to commit genocide.
2018 Pursuant to an arrest warrant issued
in Rwanda, he was arrested on 3 April
On 2 May 2018, their appeal trial 2013 in Toulouse, France. However,
opened before the Criminal Court in the French authorities denied the
Paris (Cour d’Assises de Paris). Rwandan extradition request, and
the two cases were combined on 16
On 6 July 2018, the Appeal Court July 2013. Fourteen civil parties have
confirmed their convictions and life joined the case.
sentences issued at first instance.
Both defendants have appealed to On 13 May 2014, the Office of the
the French Supreme Court (Cour Prosecutor of the High Court of Paris
de Cassation). (Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris)
sought the prosecution of Octavien
Ngenzi and Tito Barahira before the
Current status Paris Criminal Trial Court. On 28 May
2014, the investigating judge referred
Sentenced to life imprisonment; their case to the Paris Criminal Trial
confirmed on appeal; last Court. The defendants appealed this
recourse ongoing decision but the French Supreme

FINAL HEARINGS IN Nyamishaba school (Kibuye district)
in April 1994, and in the massacres of
Claude Muhayimana is also accused
of taking part in the massacres at
EIGHT-YEAR-LONG Tutsi civilians who had found refuge in
Karongi, Gitwa and Bisesero, between
the Kiguye Church and the Gatwaro
stadium the following day, where
PROCEDURE April and June 1994. thousands of people were killed.
However, the prosecutor called for
Claude Muhayimana
He is also accused of participating the dismissal of the accusations
in killings carried out in the Kibuye with regard to these two events as
church on 17 April 1994 and in a Claude Muhayimana presented an
Context stadium the following day. Both alibi, proving he was not there during
massacres resulted in the death of the events.
Ongoing proceedings in France for thousands of victims.
crimes allegedly committed during Read more about the case
the 1994 Rwandan genocide
Suspect On 13 December 2011, the Rwandan
judicial authorities issued an
Naturalized French national originally international arrest warrant against
from Rwanda Claude Muhayimana for his alleged
participation in the Rwandan genocide.
Country of residence In addition, the Rwandan authorities
requested his extradition from France.
of suspect On 26 February 2014, the French
France Supreme Court (Cour de Cassation)
ruled that Claude Muhayimana could
not be extradited because Rwanda’s
Charges request was based on laws passed
after the alleged crimes took place.
Complicity in crimes against humanity
and genocide On 9 April 2014, Claude Muhayimana
was arrested in Rouen following a
Developments in complaint filed in June 2013 by the
“Collectif des Parties Civiles pour
2018 le Rwanda” (CPCR). A criminal
investigation was launched regarding
The appeal hearings against the his alleged role in the genocide
referral decision took place on 18 committed in the district of Kibuye.
October 2018 before the Investigation Claude Muhayimana was placed in
Chamber of the Court of Appeal in pre-trial detention. On 3 April 2015,
Paris (Chambre de l’instruction de la he was released and placed under
Cour d’Appel de Paris). The judgment judicial control.
will be delivered on 29 March 2019.
On 9 November 2017, the investigative
judge referred the case to the
Current status Paris Criminal Trial Court (Cour
d’Assises de Paris) for complicity
Pending trial in genocide and crimes against
humanity through aiding and abetting.
Facts Claude Muhayimana will be judged
for his alleged participation in the
Claude Muhayimana is alleged to have Nyamishaba school attack, as well as
driven Hutu militias to several attack for the massacres of Karongi, Gitwa
locations, while he was the driver and Bisesero, between April and
for the Kibuye Guesthouse. He was June 1994. The accused appealed the
allegedly involved in the attack on the referral decision.

GENOCIDE FUGITIVE murders. After the genocide, Philippe
Hategekimana fled to France where
ARRESTED IN he obtained citizenship.

CAMEROON Procedure
Philippe Hategekimana
In June 2015, the “Collectif des Parties
Civiles pour le Rwanda” (CPCR)
Context filed a complaint against Philippe
Hategekimana before the Paris High
Ongoing proceedings in France for Court (Tribunal de grande instance
crimes allegedly committed during de Paris). The CPCR alleged he was
the 1994 Rwandan genocide involved in committing atrocities
during the Rwandan genocide in 1994.
In September 2015, an investigation
Suspect was opened.

Former police officer; dual French and The investigating judge from the
Rwandese citizenship French specialized unit for the
prosecution of genocide, crimes
Country of residence against humanity, war crimes and
torture, within the Paris High Court
of suspect (herein after “the specialized unit”),
issued an international arrest warrant.
Read more about the case

Developments in
He was arrested in Yaoundé,
Cameroon, on 30 March 2018. France
has requested his extradition for the
purpose of trying him before a French

Current status
Detained; awaiting extradition

Philippe Hategekimana is suspected
of having participated in the genocide
against Tutsis in Rwanda 1994. He was
allegedly involved in multiple atrocities
in Nyanza and the surrounding
villages in April 1994. He is accused of
having assassinated a Tutsi mayor and
of having participated in several mass

LAST CHANCE OF Facts In parallel, Wenceslas Munyeshyaka
was tried in absentia in Rwanda and
JUSTICE FOR A Wenceslas Munyeshyaka was the
sentenced to life imprisonment in
PRIEST’S VICTIMS former head of the Sainte-Famille
parish in Kigali. He is accused of Proceedings resumed when the case
Wenceslas Munyeshyaka being involved in the mass executions was transferred in January 2012 to
that took place on 17 and 22 April 1994 the French specialized unit for the
in the Sainte-Famille parish. He is prosecution of genocide, crimes
Context suspected of repeatedly participating
in the selection of Tutsi refugees to
against humanity, war crimes and
torture within the Paris High Court
Pending proceedings in France be murdered, of leaving them to die of (hereinafter “the specialized unit”).
against a Rwandan priest for crimes thirst, of reporting to the authorities
committed during the 1994 genocide those who tried to help them, and of On 19 August 2015, the prosecutor
in Rwanda raping several women. After leaving of the specialized unit requested
Rwanda, he became a priest in France. a dismissal of the case against
Wenceslas Munyeshyaka. On 2
Suspect Procedure before October 2015, the investigative judges
dismissed the proceedings against
parish in Kigali
the International
Former head of the Sainte-Famille him. The civil parties appealed this
Criminal Tribunal for decision.

Country of residence Rwanda On 8 November 2017, the Investigation

Chamber of the Court of Appeal in
of suspect On 20 July 2005, the International Paris postponed the appeal hearing
Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to 31 January 2018, following the
France dismissal of the case on 2 October
indicted Wenceslas Munyeshyaka for
genocide and crimes against humanity 2015 by the investigative judges, in
Charges including rape, extermination and order to review the petitions submitted
by the civil parties.
murder. In 2007, the ICTR issued
Complicity in genocide, crimes against an arrest warrant requesting that
the French government arrest him. On 22 June 2018, the Investigation
humanity and torture
Finally, on 20 November 2007, the Chamber of the Court of Appeal in
ICTR referred the case to the French Paris issued a decision upholding the
Developments in authorities. dismissal of the case. The civil parties
have appealed against this decision to
2018 the French Supreme Court (Cour de

Following a hearing in January 2018,

Procedure in France Cassation).

on 21 June 2018, the Investigation On 12 July 1995, a complaint was Read more about the case
Chamber of the Court of Appeal in filed against Wenceslas Munyeshyaka
Paris (Chambre de l’instruction de by several French associations (the
la Cour d’Appel de Paris) confirmed “Collectif des Parties Civiles pour le
the dismissal of the case against Rwanda”, Survie, LICRA), as well as
Wenceslas Munyeshyaka. individual plaintiffs. On 25 July 1995,
an investigation was opened into
The civil parties appealed against the genocide, crimes against humanity,
dismissal of the case to the French and torture. The FIDH and its French
Supreme Court (Cour de Cassation). member organization, the Ligue des
Droits de l’Homme (LDH), joined the
Current status case as civil parties in 2005.

Case dismissed; last recourse ongoing On 8 June 2004, almost 10 years after
the investigation opened, the European
Court of Human Rights condemned
France for exceeding reasonable time

Field notes
“Genocide was not
criminalized in Rwanda”

“France has many cases

relating to the Rwandan
genocide. In the five years my
Office has existed, we have
worked mostly on those cases.
France does not extradite
Rwandan nationals because
genocide was not criminalized
at the time. Instead, it opens
trials in its own courts – in
a way, doing the job for the
Rwandan authorities.”

Eric Emeraux, Head of the

French Central Office to fight
crimes against humanity,
genocides and war crimes

TWO MORE Current status May 2000. He was released on 20
December 2000.
UPCOMING Pending trial He was arrested again on 5 September
GENOCIDE TRIALS 2007 and placed under judicial

Laurent Bucyibaruta
Facts supervision after the issuance of
an arrest warrant by the ICTR in
Laurent Bucyibaruta, as prefect of August 2007.
Gikonrogo, allegedly delivered public
Context speeches urging the Hutu population
to attack and kill the Tutsis on many
On 9 May 2017, the investigating judge
within the Paris High Court informed
occasions between December 1993 the parties that he had completed his
Pending proceedings in France
and April 1994. investigation.
against a Rwandan prefect for crimes
committed during the 1994 genocide On 4 October 2018, the prosecutor
in Rwanda He is also accused of having ordered
massacres of Tutsis and moderate issued its final submission
Hutus in various locations in the (requisitions), requesting that
Suspect Gikongoro Prefecture. Bucyibaruta be sent to criminal trial
on charges of genocide and crimes
Former Gikongoro prefect and head Laurent Bucyibaruta is also accused of against humanity.
of the prefectural committee of having ordered the rape and murder of
the Interahamwe movement (the women and girls in various locations. Read more about the case
youth organization of the National
Republican Movement for Democracy
Procedure before
and Development – NRMD) Sosthène Munyemana
the International
Country of residence Criminal Tribunal
of suspect for Rwanda Context
France The International Criminal Tribunal Pending proceedings in France
for Rwanda (ICTR) indicted Laurent for serious international crimes
Charges Bucyibaruta on 16 June 2005 for committed during the 1994 genocide
in Rwanda
incitement to genocide, genocide,
Genocide and crimes against humanity and complicity in genocide, as well as
crimes against humanity, including
extermination, murder, and rape.
Developments in Gynecologist at the University Hospital
2018 In August 2007, the ICTR issued an
arrest warrant requesting that the
of Butare

French government detain him.

On 4 October 2018, the prosecutor
issued its final submission
Finally, on 20 November 2007, the Country of residence
(requisitions) requesting that Laurent
ICTR referred the case to the French
of suspect
Bucyibaruta be sent to criminal trial
on charges of genocide and crimes France
against humanity. On 24 December Procedure in France
2018, an investigative judge referred
the case to the Paris Criminal Trial On 5 January 2000, the FIDH and
Court (Cour d’Assises de Paris) for its member organization in France,
complicity in genocide and crimes Genocide and crime against humanity
the Ligue des Droits de l’Homme
against humanity. Laurent Bucyibaruta (LDH), lodged a complaint against
will be judged for his alleged complicity Laurent Bucyibaruta for his alleged
in massive and systematic executions participation in the genocide of 1994.
of civilians. The Office of the Prosecutor of Troyes
questioned and detained him on 30

Developments in Chamber of the Bordeaux Court of
Appeal denied this request.
2018 In October 2008, Sosthène Munyemana
On 11 May 2018, the prosecutor of was found guilty in absentia by the
the French specialized unit for the Butare’s Gacaca Court. He was
prosecution of genocide, crimes sentenced to life imprisonment.
against humanity, war crimes and
torture within the Paris High Court On 14 December 2011, Sosthène
(hereinafter “the specialized unit”), Munyemana was indicted in the
issued his final submission. He alleged French proceedings and placed under
that Sosthène Munyemana organized judicial supervision.
a hunt against Tutsis, detained some
On 9 May 2017, the investigating judge
of them in inhumane conditions, and
within the Paris High Court informed
sent them to killing sites.
the parties that he had completed
On 13 June 2018, FIDH, jointly with his investigation.
LDH and CPCR, filed their final
On 13 June 2018, FIDH, jointly with
submission as civil parties, requesting
LDH and CPCR, filed their final
that Sosthène Munyemana be sent
submission as civil parties, requesting
to trial.
that Sosthène Munyemana be sent
to trial.
Current status
Read more about the case
Investigation closed; pending trial


On 17 April 1994, in a public speech,
Sosthène Munyemana allegedly
incited Hutus to exterminate the Tutsi • The Guantanamo torture case:
community of Tumba. From 21 April investigation ongoing
1994, he is also accused of taking part
in several massacres of Tutsis in and • Teodorin Obiang: appeal ongoing
around Tumba. He is reported to have
distributed ammunition and compiled • AMESYS and Nexa Technologies
lists of Tutsis to be eliminated. He cases: investigation ongoing
allegedly led the night patrols and
specified who should be abducted. • Norbert Dabira: investigation
Procedure • Mauritanian complaint: case
On 18 October 1995, the “Collectif
Girondin pour le Rwanda”, the • Laurent Serubuga: investigation
FIDH and the NGO Survie lodged ongoing
a criminal complaint against
Sosthène Munyemana for his alleged
participation in genocide. In 2001,
the “Collectif des Parties Civiles
pour le Rwanda” (CPCR) joined the
proceedings as a civil party.

In 2006, Rwanda requested his

extradition from France. However,
on 7 October 2010, the Investigation


INVESTIGATIONS The investigation focuses on
AGAINST international crimes committed
by the Syrian regime since 2011,
THE SYRIAN including crimes committed by four
Syrian intelligence services. In the
GOVERNMENT context of the Syrian uprising, the
intelligence services allegedly played
the key role in counteracting the civil
Context movement by persecuting organizers
and participants of demonstrations,
Ongoing structural investigation of the arresting and detaining persons
German Federal Public Prosecutor perceived as a threat to the regime, criminal complaint against six high-
into crimes under international law and interrogating them under level officials of the Syrian Military
allegedly committed by the Syrian torture. For these purposes, the Intelligence Directorate with the
government and related institutions intelligence services operate Office of the German Federal Public
since 2011 numerous branches and detention Prosecutor. The complaint addresses
facilities across the country. The crimes against humanity and war
crimes committed in those detention crimes committed in detention
Suspects facilities include systematic torture, centers controlled by the Syrian
sexual violence, inhuman treatment, Military Intelligence Directorate,
Unknown killings, and exposure to inhuman in particular in the Branches 235,
prison conditions. 215, and 227. The high-ranking
Country of residence officials are suspected of bearing

of suspects Procedure criminal responsibility as superior

commanders, indirect perpetrators
of or accomplices in unlawful arrests,
In September 2011, the German
Syria and others detention, torture, sexual violence,
Federal Prosecutor opened a
and other inhuman acts committed
structural investigation into war
Charges crimes and crimes against humanity
in the detention facilities of those
branches between May 2011 and
committed in Syria since 2011. This
July 2015. At the beginning of May
Crimes against humanity and investigation is aimed at gathering
2017, the complainants were heard by
war crimes evidence of crimes committed by
the prosecutor.
the Syrian government, and was
Developments in particularly advanced by the release
of photographs taken by the former
On 21 September 2017, the Caesar
File Support Group, together with
2018 employee of the Syrian military police,
codenamed ‘Caesar’. He handed over
ECCHR, filed a criminal complaint
with the Office of the German Federal
The Office of the German Federal Public more than 53,000 photographs taken
Public Prosecutor against senior
Prosecutor continued to hear witness in Syria between May 2011 and August
officials of the Syrian intelligence
testimonies and to receive evidence in 2013, showing over 6,000 corpses
services and the military police, for
form of documents, pictures, videos, of detainees with visible marks of
crimes against humanity and war
etc. Out of the structural investigation, torture and inhuman treatment. The
crimes committed in Syrian detention
once there is sufficient evidence structural investigation has resulted
facilities; complementing the
against individual suspects, person- thus far in investigations against at
evidence provided in the complaint of
specific investigation is initiated. least 10 individuals involved in crimes
1 March 2017. A representative of the
committed by the Syrian government.
Caesar File Support Group provided
Current status On 1 March 2017, the European Center
the prosecutor with a set of high-
resolution images of deceased and
for Constitutional and Human Rights
Ongoing investigation tortured detainees.
(ECCHR) together with seven Syrian
victims, the Syrian Center for Legal
Researches and Studies (SCLRS),
and the Syrian Center for Media and
Freedom of Expression (SCM), filed a
On 6 November 2017, 11 Syrian torture
victims, supported by ECCHR, SCLSR
Zoom in
and SCM, filed two more criminal France and Germany join
complaints with the Office of the forces against impunity
German Federal Public Prosecutor. in Syria
The complaints denounce crimes
against humanity and war crimes France and Germany are
allegedly committed in various conducting a structural
detention facilities of five branches of investigation on war crimes
the Air Force Intelligence Directorate and crimes against humanity
in Damascus, Aleppo and Hama, as by armed groups and Syrian
well as in the Saydnaya military prison. officials. The recent cross-
border arrest warrants
The complaints target high-ranking against the very top of
officials of the National Security al-Assad’s regime are first
Office and Air Force Intelligence victories and a new hope
Directorate, among them the head of for justice and accountability
the Air Force Intelligence Directorate, for victims.
Jamil Hassan, as well as high-ranking
Syrian military officials. These milestones
demonstrate that
In June 2018, a person-specific extraterritorial justice has
investigation against Jamil Hassan, an essential role to play in
head of the Syrian Air Force Intelligence pursuing those responsible
Directorate, by the German Federal for the gravest crimes
Prosecutor resulted in an arrest perpetrated against civilians
warrant announced by the German in Syria since March 2011.
Federal Court of Justice. The suspect It is now clear that
is accused of having committed war perpetrators, regardless of
crimes and crimes against humanity. their rank, will face justice.
Jamil Hassan, Ali Mamluk
Read more about the case and Abdel Salam Faraj
Mahmoud will not be able to
travel freely anymore. The
three arrest warrants create
an obligation on other states
to extradite the accused to
France or, in the case of Jamil
Hassan, France or Germany.

PROSECUTING In October 2018, French judges also
issued an arrest warrant against
MASS ABUSE IN Jamil Hassan, as well as Ali Mamluk
and Abdel Salam Mahmoud.
FACILITIES Current status
Jamil Hassan
Under investigation; arrest warrant is
in force

Context Facts
Ongoing person-specific investigation
The Syrian Air Force Intelligence
by the German Federal Public
Directorate is regarded as the most
Prosecutor for war crimes and crimes
powerful and most brutal of Syria’s
against humanity committed in Syria
four intelligence services. Similar
between 2011 and 2013
to other intelligence services, since
2011, the Air Force Intelligence
Suspect Directorate is tasked with the
surveillance, arrest, detention, and
Jamil Hassan, head of the Syrian Air killing of all regime critics. For these
Force Intelligence Directorate purposes, the intelligence agency has
numerous detention facilities across
Syria, which are reported to be centers
Country of residence of systematic torture, sexual violence,
of suspect and inhuman treatment of detainees.
The inhuman conditions of detention,
Syria involving extreme hunger and an
almost complete lack of medical care
in the detention centers, allegedly
Charges resulted in critical medical states and
deaths of detainees.
Crimes against humanity and
war crimes Jamil Hassan has headed the Air
Force Intelligence Directorate since
Developments in 2009. Under his direct supervision,
hundreds of detainees were allegedly
2018 subjected to torture, inhuman
treatment, and extrajudicial killings.
On 8 June 2018, the German Federal
Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof –
BGH) issued an arrest warrant against
Jamil Hassan, head of the Air Force
See Structural investigations against
Intelligence Directorate, for alleged
the Syrian government.
crimes against humanity and war
crimes, upon a request of the German
Federal Prosecutor. He is accused of
Read more about the case
having killed, tortured, caused severe
physical or mental harm to numerous
detainees of the Air Force Intelligence
Directorate between 2011 and
2013, in form of direct perpetration,
co-perpetration, or as a military

STRUCTURAL Current status
INVESTIGATIONS Under investigation; arrest warrant
AGAINST NON- against a high-ranking commander of
ISIS in force
The investigation concerns crimes
committed by non-state armed
Context groups in Syria and Iraq, including
extrajudicial killings, torture, inhuman
Ongoing structural investigation in treatment, abduction for the purpose
Germany for serious crimes under of blackmail, and other war crimes.
international law committed by
non-state armed groups in Syria and A part of the investigation is focused
Iraq since 2014 on the attack by the Islamic State
(IS) against the region around the
Suspects town of Sinjar in northwestern Iraq
in August 2014. The Yazidi minority
Unknown was reportedly subjected to genocide,
mass execution, widespread
kidnappings, and sexual enslavement
Country of residence in Syria and Iraq.
of suspects
Syria, Iraq, Germany, elsewhere
A second structural investigation
Charges concerning crimes committed in
Syria was opened by the German
prosecutorial authorities in August
Genocide, war crimes, including
2014 for the purposes of gathering
abduction and sexual enslavement
evidence of international crimes
committed by the terrorist group
Developments in Islamic State (IS) and other non-
state armed groups operating in Syria
2018 and Iraq.

The Office of the German Federal The structural investigation has

Public Prosecutor continued to hear resulted thus far in investigations
witness testimonies and to receive against 30 specific individuals involved
evidence in form of documents, in crimes committed by the non-
pictures, videos, etc. state armed groups, which has led to
indictment and further prosecution on
In 2018, the structural investigation several occasions.
resulted in opening of further person-
specific investigations and led to new In December 2016, the Supreme Court
arrest warrants, indictments and of Germany issued an arrest warrant
convictions, which are presented in against a high-ranking IS commander
detail in the case profiles below. allegedly responsible for genocide and
war crimes, including abduction and
sexual enslavement of Yazidi women
in Syria and Iraq.

FOUR SIBLINGS The investigation against Abdullah K.
is still ongoing.
WAR CRIMES Current status
Mustafa K., Abdullah K., Ahmed K., Sultan K. and Mustafa
Sultan K. and Ahmed K. K. are on trial; Abdullah K. is still
under investigation.

Context Facts
Ongoing proceedings in Germany In November 2012, the four accused
against four Syrian brothers for allegedly joined Jabhat al-Nusra
serious crimes under international in Syria and fought against Syrian
law allegedly committed in Syria since government troops in the city of Ras
November 2012 al-Ayn in northern Syria. Mustafa
K., Sultan K., and other Jabhat al-
Suspects Nusra members reportedly captured
an official of the regime of Bashar
al-Assad and forced his family to
Four Syrian brothers, former members
leave the city while plundering their
of Jabhat-al Nusra
possessions. The governmental
official was found dead later.
Country of residence
In addition, alongside other Jabhat
of suspects al-Nusra members, Ahmed K. is
accused of threatening and thereby
Germany forcing the Kurdish population to
leave the city. Furthermore, Sultan K.
Charges and Abdullah K. allegedly took part
in the hostilities against the Kurdish
War crimes, membership in a People’s Protection Units.
terrorist group
Developments in On 12 June 2017, the four brothers
2018 named Mustafa K., Abdullah K., Sultan
K., and Ahmed K. were arrested in
On 25 January 2018 Mustafa K., Sultan northern Germany.
K. and Ahmed K. were indicted for
committing war crimes by allegedly Ahmed K., Sultan K., and Mustafa K.
forcing civilians to leave the city have been indicted on 25 January 2018,
of Ras al-Ayn and plundering while Abdullah K. was not formally
their possessions. They were also charged yet. Proceedings before the
charged with membership in a Higher District Court of Celle started
terrorist organization. on 20 April 2018 and were scheduled
to be held until 21 December 2018.
The trial before the Higher District
Court of Celle started on 20 April 2018.
On 13 December 2018 war crimes
charges were dropped against Mustafa
K. and Sultan K., while terrorism
charges were upheld. Ahmed K. was
acquitted of all charges.

JABHAT AL-NUSRA of Raqqa. In March 2013, the accused,
together with other members of his
FIGHTERS ON TRIAL combat unit, reportedly executed
36 Syrian civil servants previously
FOR KILLINGS IN taken prisoner during the capture of
RAQQA Raqqa. Prior to the execution, the civil
servant had been sentenced to capital
Abdul Jawad A.K., Abdulrahman A. A. punishment by a Shariah court.
and Abdalfatah H. A.
Context On 1 June 2016 Abdul Jawad A. K.
was arrested by German authorities.
Ongoing proceedings in Germany for Later, on 2 March 2017, Abdulrahman
alleged war crimes committed in Syria A.A. and Abdalfatah H. A. were
in March 2013 arrested in Dusseldorf. They were
formally charged with membership
in a terrorist organization, murder,
Suspects and war crimes, for their alleged
involvement in the killing of 36 Syrian
Syrian nationals, former members civil servants in Syria in March 2013.
of a combat unit belonging to Jabhat
Read more about the case

Country of residence
of suspects

War crimes, murder, membership in a
terrorist group

Developments in
The accused are in custody while the
trial is ongoing.

Current status
On trial

Abdul Jawad A.K., founding member
of a combat unit belonging to Jabhat
al-Nusra, and Abdulrahman A. A. and
Abdalfatah H. A., who joined the unit
at a later stage, have allegedly taken
part in hostilities during the capture

ABDUCTION, civil war since summer 2012. Ibrahim
Al F. and over 150 fighters under
BLACKMAIL AND his command allegedly controlled
a district in northern Aleppo and
TORTURE RESULT frequently looted the surrounding
IN LIFE SENTENCE areas. According to the charges, the
accused participated in abduction
of two civilians who resisted the
Ibrahim Al F. looting, and their subsequent one-
month detention. Together with
his subordinates, Ibrahim Al F. is
Context accused of having personally tortured
the detained residents, who were
Completed proceedings in Germany released after the ransom was paid.
regarding war crimes committed in Under his command, his subordinates
Syria in 2012 allegedly abducted at least six other
civilians and subjected them to severe
torture, which led to death of at least
Suspect one person.
Syrian national, alleged former
member of Ghurabaa al-Sham, a part Procedure
of the Free Syrian Army
On 6 April 2016, German authorities
arrested Ibrahim Al F. in the Westphalia
Country of residence region. He was formally charged with
of suspect war crimes and abduction for the
purpose of blackmail, at the Higher
Germany Regional Court of Dusseldorf on 27
October 2016. His trial started on 22
May 2017. On 24 September 2018,
Charges the accused was found guilty by the
Higher Regional Court of Dusseldorf
War crimes, torture and abduction for and sentenced to life imprisonment.
the purpose of blackmail
Read more about the case
Developments in
On 24 September 2018, the accused
was found guilty by the Higher
Regional Court of Dusseldorf and
sentenced to life imprisonment.

Current status
Sentenced to life imprisonment

Ibrahim Al F. was accused of having
been the head of the militia Ghurabaa
al-Sham, which has been fighting the
Syrian government forces as part of
the Free Syrian Army in the Syrian

IDLIB WAR CRIMES war crimes in Idlib, Syria. Jointly
with two other members of the FSA,
SUSPECT IN the suspect allegedly captured and
detained two members of an armed
CUSTODY group fighting on the side of the Syrian
government for an unknown time
Mohamad K. period between January 2012 and
January 2013. To punish the detained
fighters, Mohamad K. allegedly
Context tortured the almost unclothed men by
beating them severely and repeatedly
with a cable-like object. The torture
Ongoing proceedings in Germany for
was filmed by another FSA member.
war crimes committed in Syria

Syrian national

Country of residence
of suspect

War crimes

Developments in
On 10 December 2018, Mohamad
K. was indicted for war crimes. The
Stuttgart Higher Regional Court has
not yet scheduled the trial.

On 20 June 2018, the suspect was

arrested on suspicion of having jointly
committed war crimes, namely cruel
and inhuman treatment of civilians,
in the province of Idlib, northern
Syria. Investigating judge ordered his
pre-trial detention.

Current status
Indicted; in custody

Mohamad K. is a former member
of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and
is accused of having committed

FORMAL of a high-ranking Iraqi civil servant
captured by ISIS. Raad. A., together
INDICTMENT OF with other ISIS members, allegedly
escorted the captive to the execution
TWO ISIS SUSPECTS site and guarded him until he was
executed. Abbas R. is also accused
Raad A. and Abbas R. of having insulted and humiliated
the captive.

Context Procedure
Ongoing proceedings in Germany for Raad A. and Abbas R. have been in
war crimes committed in Iraq in 2014 custody since 24 May 2017, following
their arrest in connection with another
Suspects investigation. On 9 August 2018, they
were indicted for membership in a
terrorist organization and war crimes.
Iraqi citizens, alleged members of ISIS

Country of residence
of suspects

War crimes and membership in a
terrorist organization

Developments in
On 9 August 2018, Raad A. and Abbas
R. were indicted for war crimes and
membership in a terrorist organization.
The Berlin Higher Regional Court has
not yet scheduled the trial.

Current status
Indicted; in custody

Raad A. and Abbas R. allegedly joined
ISIS in June 2014 in Mosul. In the same
month, Abbas R. was present during
the execution of two Shiite women by
ISIS fighters and assisted them with
the transportation of the bodies.

In October 2014, Raad A. and Abbas R.

allegedly participated in the execution

SENTENCE abducted by the terrorist organization
Jabhat al-Nusra in the Damascus area.
LENGTHENED FOR Suliman Al-S. allegedly participated in
his abduction by keeping the victim
A UN EMPLOYEE under surveillance between March
KIDNAPPER and June 2013. Carl Campeau was
held captive for eight months until he
managed to escape in October 2013.
Suliman Al-S. While in detention, his captors issued
death threats against him and tried
unsuccessfully to obtain a ransom for
Context his release.

Closed proceedings in Germany for

war crimes committed in Syria in 2013
On 21 January 2016, Suliman Al-S.
Suspect was arrested in Stuttgart on suspicion
of war crimes committed during the
Syrian national Syrian civil war.

On 27 June 2016, he was charged for

Country of residence war crimes, abduction for the purpose
of suspect of blackmail, unlawful imprisonment,
attempted blackmail, use of force or
Germany threats against life and membership
in a terrorist organization abroad.

Charges The trial began on 20 October

2016. On 20 September 2017, the
Aiding and abetting abduction for Higher Regional Court of Stuttgart
the purpose of blackmail, attempted found Suliman Al-S. guilty of aiding
robbery by blackmail in three cases, and abetting the kidnapping of an
aggravated deprivation of liberty and employee of the United Nations in
war crimes against humanitarian Syria in February 2013.
He was sentenced to three years and
Developments in six months in prison. The charges of
membership in a terrorist organization
2018 were dropped. The prosecutor
appealed the judgment regarding the
The appeal was ongoing in 2018. On length of the sentence.
23 January 2019, the Court of appeal
lengthened his sentence to four years Read more about the case
and nine months.

Current status

On 17 February 2013, the Canadian
national Carl Campeau, who had been
working as a legal adviser to UN forces
(UNDOF) in the Golan Heights, was

WAR CRIMES Developments in Their trial before the Higher Regional
Court in Stuttgart began on 4 May 2011
CHARGES UNDER 2018 and ended after 320 days of hearings,
on 28 September 2015. During the
SCRUTINY The appeal hearing took place on proceedings, 11 of the 16 initial
31 October 2018 before the Federal charges of war crimes and crimes
Ignace Murwanashyaka and
Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof). against humanity were dropped.
Straton Musoni
On 20 December 2018, the appeal
of Straton Musoni was rejected. Yet, The Higher Regional Court of Stuttgart
the Federal Court of Justice partially issued its first instance verdict on 28
Context overturned the conviction of Ignace September 2015, convicting Ignace
Murwanashyaka on the ground of Murwanashyaka of five counts
Ongoing proceedings in Germany aiding and abetting war crimes. of aiding and abetting war crimes
against former officials of the The Federal Court requested the and of leading a foreign terrorist
Democratic Forces for the Liberation higher regional Court in Stuttgart to organization, and sentencing him to
of Rwanda (Forces Démocratiques re-examine the issue. 13 years in prison. Straton Musoni
de Libération du Rwanda – FDLR) was sentenced to eight years’
for alleged serious crimes under imprisonment for his role as leader in
international law committed in the Current status a foreign terrorist organization.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
(DRC). The FDLR, formerly the Armée Sentenced to prison for 8 and 13 The judgment was appealed. The
de Libération du Rwanda (Liberation years; under appeal. Despite his appeal hearing took place on 31
Army of Rwanda) was created in 2001 appeal, Ignace Murwanashyaka is still October 2018 before the Federal Court
and has been operating in the eastern in detention in Germany; Straton of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof).
DRC since then. Some of its members Musoni is not in custody since 28
have been accused of participating in September 2015. Read more about the case
the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
Stuttgart regional council has
reportedly asked Straton Musoni on
Suspects 12 February 2018 to leave Germany. A
return to Germany is forbidden to him
Ignace Murwanashyaka has been for nine years.
head of the FDLR since 2001.
Straton Musoni has been his deputy
since 2004. Facts
In 2009, Rwanda and the DRC led
Country of residence a joint military operation aimed at
of suspects neutralizing the FDLR. This operation
resulted in various retaliatory attacks
by the FDLR on Congolese civilians,
Germany; Straton Musoni still lives in
including women, children and other
Germany, but with the order to leave
vulnerable persons. The two suspects
the country
are accused of having coordinated
attacks that resulted in the death of
Charges civilians, pillage, recruitment of child
soldiers, and rape and other forms of
Ordering and coordinating crimes sexual violence.
against humanity and 16 counts of
war crimes committed by the FDLR on
Congolese territory between January Procedure
2008 and November 2009; belonging
Ignace Murwanashyaka and Straton
to a terrorist group
Musoni were arrested in Germany
on 17 November 2009, following the
issuance of an arrest warrant by the
German Federal Court of Justice on 16
November 2009.

TALIBAN INDICTED He is accused of having killed an
Afghan policeman, together with
AND HELD IN other members of his Taliban unit.
The victim had been captured and tied
CUSTODY up to a tree by the unit commanders.
Omaid N. allegedly hit him in the head
Omaid N.
with wooden slats. Acting upon an
order of one of the unit commanders,
he allegedly shot him several times
Context with a semi-automatic rifle. The
policeman is assumed to have died
Ongoing proceedings in Germany for either from the beating or from the
war crimes and murder, allegedly subsequent gunshots.
committed in Afghanistan in 2013
On 19 May 2017, Omaid N. was arrested
Afghan citizen; alleged member of by German police and remanded in
the Taliban custody on suspicion of belonging to
the Taliban, and having committed
Country of residence war crimes and murder. He is awaiting
trial in custody.
of suspect
Read more about the case

War crimes, murder, membership in a
terrorist organization

Developments in
On 18 January 2018, Omaid N. was
indicted by the German Federal
Prosecutor for war crimes and murder
committed in 2013. He was also
accused of membership in a terrorist
organization. Omaid N. remains in
custody awaiting his trial.

Current status
In custody pending trial

Omaid N. allegedly joined the Taliban
in early 2013 and helped them
to transport weapons on at least
one occasion.

Ahmad Zaheer D.

Ongoing proceedings in Germany for
war crimes committed in Afghanistan

Afghan national, member of the
Afghan military forces

Country of residence
of suspect

War crimes

Developments in
On 25 October 2018, the suspect
was arrested by German authorities
and remains in custody, while the
investigation is ongoing.

Current status
Ongoing investigation

Ahmad Zaheer D. was a member
of the Afghan military forces and
was reportedly responsible for
interrogation of captured fighters on
at least one occasion. Together with
another military official, he allegedly
interrogated three detained fighters
and severely beat them by hand and a
plastic tube.
SHEDDING A LIGHT Current status The complaint was also joined by
Guantánamo detainee Abd al-Rahim
ON CIA SECRET Monitoring procedure (preliminary
al-Nashiri, who was tortured at the
CIA “black site” in Thailand during
DETENTION examination) the period in which Gina Haspel is
reported to have served as Chief of
Base at the prison.
Gina Haspel and others
The CIA is accused of having planned, Read more about the case
developed and exercised torture
and other acts of cruel, inhuman, or
Context degrading treatment in its response
to international terrorism since
Monitoring procedure (preliminary 2001. The CIA and the US armed
examination) in Germany regarding forces allegedly arrested suspects
torture and other crimes committed in different locations worldwide, and
by US officials in CIA detention brought them to US detention facilities
centers and other US overseas located outside mainland US territory
detention centers or rendered them to other states. As
part of the detention and interrogation
Suspects program, US officials reportedly
tortured detainees in these various
detention centers.
Gina Haspel, CIA Director since May
2018, and other US officials
Country of residence On 9 December 2014, the German
of suspects federal public prosecutor opened a
monitoring procedure in response
United States of America to the publication of the executive
summary of the US Senate Select
Committee on Intelligence report on
Charges the CIA detention and interrogation
program, and the criminal complaint
Torture, other related crimes filed by ECCHR on 17 December
2014. The monitoring procedure is
Developments in still underway.

2018 ECCHR submitted further information

on 28 July 2015 regarding witnesses
The US Senate confirmed on 17 May and suspects with respect to CIA
2018 the nomination of Gina Haspel as torture, and on 28 June 2016 with
CIA Director. respect to torture at Guantanamo and
Abu Ghraib.
In September 2018, the criminal
complaint filed against Gina Haspel On 6 June 2017, the European Center for
was joined by Abd al-Rahim al- Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)
Nashiri, who is currently detained at submitted to the Office of the German
Guantánamo and who was tortured Federal Public Prosecutor evidence
at the CIA “black site” in Thailand regarding Gina Haspel’s role in the torture
during the period that Gina Haspel is of detainees in a secret CIA detention
said to have served as Chief of Base at center in Thailand in 2002. A follow-up
the prison. submission was filed by ECCHR on 10
September 2018 with new information
that had come to light after Gina Haspel
was nominated as CIA Director.

ATTACKS BY ISRAELI On 21 July 2014, Israeli armed forces CASES
DEFENSE FORCES killed members of the German-
Palestinian Kilani family – a father, • Abdulmalk A. and Mousa H. A.:
DISPROPORTIONATE? mother, and their five children, aged 4 investigation ongoing
to 12 years old.
Members of Israeli Defense Forces • Harry Sarfo: investigation ongoing
The attack took place in the course
of the military operation “Protective
Context Edge”, during which Israeli armed
forces conducted air strikes in the
Preliminary investigation in Germany Gaza strip between 8 July and 26
against members of the Israeli August 2014. Civilian facilities and
Defense Forces for alleged war houses were destroyed and heavily
crimes committed in Gaza during the damaged, and hundreds of civilians
Operation “Protective Edge” between were killed.
8 July and 26 August 2014.
Due to a warning of the planned
Israeli airstrikes, the Kilani family fled
Suspects their home in Beit Lahia to Al-Salam
tower. Two days later, on 21 July 2014,
Members of the Israeli Defense Forces rockets hit the building, killing all the
responsible for the attack on Al-Salam family. Israel stated that the actual
building in Gaza on 21 July 2014 target of the attack was a commander
of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Country of residence
of suspects Procedure
Israel In December 2014, the ECCHR and
the PCHR filed a criminal complaint
with the German Federal Public
Charges Prosecutor on behalf of Ramsis Kilani,
who lost his father and half-siblings in
War crimes the strike. The submission provided
evidence including photos, videos, and
Developments in witness statements. He denounced
the alleged disproportionality of the
2018 Israeli attack on Al-Salam building.

In August 2018, the European Center At the same time, PCHR filed a
for Constitutional and Human Rights criminal complaint in Israel and
(ECCHR), together with its partner submitted an appeal against the
organization, the Palestinian Centre military prosecutor’s decision not to
for Human Rights (PCHR) submitted to investigate the Kilani case.
the German Federal Public Prosecutor
further evidence to substantiate the Read more about the case
criminal complaint filed in 2014.

Current status
Under pre-investigation


CIVIL SOCIETY Jammeh, is alleged to have carried

out the killings.
DICTATOR In May 2018, the families of the
victims and a coalition of local and
Yahya Jammeh international NGOs asked Ghanaian
authorities to open an investigation
against Yahya Jammeh.
Context The report and a legal brief about the
case were also transmitted to Ghanaian
Campaign to bring former Gambian authorities by TRIAL International and
president Yahya Jammeh and his Human Rights Watch.
accomplices to justice
The Ghanaian Inspector General of
Suspect Police and later the government,
through its Minister of Information,
Former Gambian president stated that “the government had
(1994–2016) tasked the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs and the Attorney-General’s
Department to study the request”
Country of residence and “advise the government on the
of suspect way forward.” According to the group,
Ghana is competent to investigate and
Equatorial Guinea prosecute the crime on the basis of
universal jurisdiction, part of Ghanaian
legal framework, notably for cases of
Charges enforced disappearances.

Complicity in enforced disappearances Read more about the case

and extrajudicial executions

Current status
Pending investigation

An investigation conducted by Human
Rights Watch and TRIAL International
revealed that a paramilitary unit
controlled by then-Gambian president
Yahya Jammeh allegedly summarily
executed more than 50 West African
migrants (including some 44
Ghanaians) in July 2005. The migrants,
who were bound for Europe but were
suspected of being mercenaries, were
murdered after having been detained
by Yahya Jammeh’s closest deputies
in the army, navy, and police forces.
The “Junglers”, a notorious unit that
took its orders directly from Yahya


DOES SELLING Developments in

ARABIA CONSTITUTE On 17 April 2018, the joint criminal
COMPLICITY IN WAR complaint by the European Center
for Constitutional and Human Rights
CRIMES? (ECCHR), Yemen-based Mwatana
Organization for Human Rights,
RWM Italia and Italian-based Rete Italiana
Export of Armament authorizes these
per Il Disarmo, in cooperation with
exports of armaments manufactured
Osservatorio Permanente sulle Armi
in Italy.
Context Leggere e le Politiche di Sicurezza
e Difesa (O.P.A.L.), was filed with
the public prosecutor in Rome.
Read more about the case
Ongoing investigation against directors
The prosecutor has opened an
of RWM Italia S.p.A., an Italian arms
investigation, which is still ongoing.
manufacturer, and against Italian
government officials who authorized
arms exports to Saudi Arabia, and for Current status
complicity in murder and bodily injury
Under investigation
Current and former CEOs and directors
of RWM Italia S.p.A. (a subsidiary The complaint denounces an air
of German-based Rheinmetall AG), strike launched by the Saudi-led
and Italian government officials from coalition in Deir Al-Hajari in Yemen
Italy’s National Authority for the Export on 8 October 2016, which allegedly
of Armament (UAMA); suspected killed six civilians. At the site of the
individuals are German and Italian airstrike, a suspension lug was found,
manufactured by RWM Italia S.p.A.
Country of residence Further remnants indicate the use of
a guided bomb. Testimonies of eye
of suspects witnesses confirm that no military
object was in the vicinity of the house
Italy that was targeted by the airstrike.

The complaint alleges the criminal

Charges liability of RWM Italia S.p.A.’s directors
and of UAMA officials for the export of
In relation to the company’s directors at least a part of the deadly weapon
and government officials, complicity used in the strike, to Saudi Arabia or
through gross negligence in murder another member state of the Saudi-
and bodily injury. led military coalition.

In addition, the complaint requests an Despite major warnings that

investigation into the alleged abuse the coalition warfare in Yemen
of power by the government officials. causes significant loss of civilian
The International Criminal Court life and breaches of international
Statute has not been implemented humanitarian law, exports of bombs
in the Italian Criminal Code and, as and other weapons to coalition
a consequence, it was not possible member states had not stopped and
to request an investigation into are still taking place. In Italy, the
complicity in war crimes. competent Italian Authority for the



CATCH UP WITH The suspect arrived in Norway as
NORWEGIAN a refugee through the UN Refugee
Agency (UNHCR) in 2006. He became
CITIZEN a Norwegian citizen in 2014.

Name withheld

Ongoing proceedings in Norway for
crimes allegedly committed during
the 1994 Rwandan genocide

Dual Norwegian and Rwandese

Country of residence
of suspect


Developments in
On 7 June 2018, a Norwegian of
Rwandan origin was arrested
by Norway’s national criminal
investigation service (Kripos) and
charged with genocide. He allegedly
participated in the killing of a large
number of people, mainly Tutsi, during
the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Current status
Under investigation



THREAT IN A Floribert Chebeya was found dead in
HUMAN RIGHTS his car in Kinshasa on 2 June 2010.
His associate, Fidèle Bazana, was
DEFENDER reported missing. The night before,
they had both gone to the PNC
MURDER CASE headquarters, which was the last time
they were both seen alive.
Paul Mwilambwe

Context On 2 June 2014, the International
Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
Ongoing proceedings against Paul and families of the victims filed a
Mwilambwe for the alleged murder criminal complaint as civil parties
of Floribert Chebeya on 2 June 2010 before Senegalese courts. The
in Kinshasa and the disappearance of plaintiffs testified before the judge
his associate Fidèle Bazana investigating the case in August 2014.

Suspect Paul Mwilambwe was indicted on 8

January 2015 and placed under judicial
Major in the Congo National Police supervision. In June 2015, Guylain
(Police Nationale Congolaise – PNC) Bazana, the son of Fidèle Bazana, was
auditioned by the investigative judge
as a civil party.
Country of residence
of suspect Parallel proceedings were launched
in DRC at the time of the events. Five
PNC officers were convicted, four of
whom were sentenced to death and
the fifth to life imprisonment.
In 2015, the Kinshasa military High
Enforced disappearances and Court acquitted on appeal the four
murder of human rights defender defendants sentenced to death and
Floribert Chebeya and his associate reduced the life sentence of the fifth
Fidèle Bazana defendant to 15 years in prison.
High-level suspects including Paul
Mwilambwe were not targeted by
Developments in these proceedings.
2018 In April 2017, lawyers representing
The investigation is still ongoing in the civil parties in the Senegalese
Senegal. New evidence submitted by investigation filed a brief with the
the civil parties is being examined by investigative judge in Senegal
the investigative judge. requesting that several pieces of
evidence from the DRC proceedings
be added to the case file.
Current status
Read more about the case
Under investigation


EXTRADITED Current status

SALVADORIAN Extradited and detained in Spain
Inocente Orlando Montano Morales From 1980 to 1992, El Salvador was
divided by an internal armed conflict
between the rebel Farabundo Martí
Context National Liberation Front (FMLN) and
the government, led by the Nationalist
In this request, Spain urged the US
authorities to allow the extradition of
Republican Alliance (ARENA). In this Inocente Orlando Montano from the
Ongoing proceedings for serious
context, on 16 November 1989, six USA to Spain to face trial for the murder
crimes under international law
Jesuit priests, their housekeeper, and of the six Jesuits, their housekeeper,
committed in El Salvador during the
her 16-year-old daughter were killed and her daughter, committed in El
1980–1992 internal armed conflict
at the Pastoral Center of José Simeón Salvador on 16 November 1989.
Cañas Central American University in
Suspect San Salvador. On 5 January 2016, a judge from
the Eastern District Court of North
Officer in the military, vice-minister of Following the ratification of the Carolina granted the request to
public security (from 1 June 1989 to 2 Chapultepec Peace Accords on 16 extradite Inocente Orlando Montano
March 1992) in El Salvador January 1992, a Truth Commission to Spain. On 1 April 2016, Inocente
was established to investigate crimes Orlando Montano’s lawyers filed a
committed during the war, including
Country of residence the murder of the six Jesuits, their
petition for a writ of habeas corpus to
reverse the extradition order.
of suspect housekeeper, and her daughter.
The Truth Commission concluded On 21 August 2017, the US Eastern
United States of America that these crimes were ordered by District Court of North Carolina
Salvadoran officials and executed by dismissed Inocente Orlando
the Salvadoran armed forces. Montano’s petition for a writ of habeas
Charges corpus, finding no irregularity in the
Crimes against humanity, murder Procedure extradition proceedings and no basis
upon which the petitioner’s request
and terrorism for release could be granted.
On 23 August 2011, US authorities
arrested Inocente Orlando Montano
Developments in on charges of federal immigration On 15 November 2017, the Supreme
Court dismissed Inocente Orlando
2018 fraud. He was indicted on 10 February
2012 for false declarations to the US Montano’s last request to halt his
authorities regarding the date of his extradition to Spain.
On 12 July 2018, the Criminal
entry into the territory and his military
Chamber of the Spanish National On 29 November 2017, Inocente
training in El Salvador.
Court (Audiencia Nacional, Sala de lo Orlando Montano was extradited to
Penal) partially upheld the appeal filed On September 2012, he pled guilty, Spain and placed in police custody. He
by the accused, eliminating from the acknowledging he had given false is accused of actively participating in
indictment the alleged crime against statements. His trial took place in planning the murder of the six Jesuits.
humanity that the investigating judge August 2013 and he was sentenced
had excluded from the procedure in to 21 months in prison on 27 August The case has also been reopened in
2014. The indictment only referred to 2013. On 23 July 2014, the Criminal El Salvador.
the eight murders committed with a Chamber of the Spanish National
terrorist intent. Court (Audiencia Nacional, Sala de lo Read more about the case
Penal) submitted a supplemental brief
Inocente Orlando Montano is currently
to the US authorities in support of a
detained in pre-trial detention before
pending request for extradition issued
his trial.
on 4 November 2011.

GUATEMALAN Facts On 6 March 2017, the Spanish National
Court (Audiencia Nacional, Sala de lo
FORMER MINISTER In October 2005, 19 prisoners escaped
penal) acquitted Carlos Vielmann of
the 10 extrajudicial executions that
CLEARED OF ALL from the Infiernito prison, a high
security prison in Guatemala City.
were perpetrated in 2005 and 2006,
CHARGES Carlos Vielmann and Erwin Sperisen,
considering that it was not proven
beyond reasonable doubt that he
who was appointed Chief of the had ordered, authorized, supported,
Carlos Vielmann Montes National Civil Police (NCP) by Carlos or otherwise acquiesced to the
Vielmann, allegedly devised a plan capture and murder of the victims,
aimed at finding and executing the or that he had any knowledge of the
Context escaped prisoners. This was known as
the Gavilán Plan. Nine prisoners were
circumstances leading to their deaths.
captured and three allegedly executed The judgment was appealed before
Ongoing proceedings for serious
as a result. the Supreme Court by the Human
crimes under international law
allegedly committed in Guatemala in Rights Association of Spain (APDHE).
In September 2006, under Carlos
2005 and 2006
Vielmann’s alleged direct command,
Erwin Sperisen,
along with 3,000
Read more about the case
Suspect NCP officers and members of the
army, intervened in the Pavón prison,
Former Guatemalan minister of a
high security prison controlled by
Domestic Aaffairs; dual Spanish and prisoners, to restore state authority.
Guatemalan citizenship This intervention ended in the arrest
and the alleged extrajudicial execution
of seven prisoners.
Country of residence
of suspect Procedure
Spain In 2010, Carlos Vielmann was indicted
for establishing, along with Erwin
Charges Sperisen, a parastatal criminal
structure within the Ministry of
Extrajudicial executions in 2005 (the Domestic Affairs, which ordered,
killing of three inmates who had authorized, and supported the murder
escaped from the Infiernito prison) and of seven prisoners in the Pavón prison
in 2006 (the killing of seven inmates at and three in the Infiernito prison.
the Pavón prison) in Guatemala
In February 2012, Guatemalan
authorities dropped their request for
Developments in the extradition of Carlos Vielmann.
2018 On 4 November 2013, Carlos
Vielmann was brought on charges of
On 30 July 2018, the Supreme extrajudicial executions before the
Court confirmed Carlos Vielmann’s Spanish National Court (Audiencia
acquittal. Nacional, Sala de lo penal).

Current status Carlos Vielmann’s trial took place

in January and February 2017. On
Acquitted 9 January 2017, the prosecution
requested 160 years’ imprisonment
and compensation of 300,000 euros
for each of the victims.

SYRIAN CASE directives equate the concepts of
direct and indirect victim in order to
Al-Hayek; Colonel Suleiman Al-Yusuf;
and another high-level official of the
CALLS SPAIN’S hold legitimacy to exercise jurisdiction
and give competence to the Spanish
Syrian government.

JURISDICTION courts. On 27 March 2017, Judge Eloy

Velasco Núñez declared the
INTO QUESTION complaint admissible and opened
Names withheld
Current status an investigation. Judge Eloy Velasco
requested that Eurojust ascertain
Closed; recourse ongoing to the whether there were other countries
Spanish Supreme Court of the European Union investigating
Context international crimes committed

Ongoing proceedings in Spain

Facts by the administration of the Syrian
Arab Republic. He also ordered
for alleged serious crimes under that testimonies be obtained from
On 17 February 2013, Abdulmuemen
international law committed in Syria the victim, witnesses, and expert
Alhaj Hamdo, a Syrian national born in
since 2011 witnesses, and that rogatory letters be
Idleb, disappeared while covering his
daily delivery shift as a professional sent. On 30 March 2017, the Spanish
Suspects transporter between the municipality public prosecutor appealed this
of Mashta el Helou and the city of
Nine high-level Syrian members of Homs in western Syria.
the security and intelligence forces On 27 July 2017, the Spanish National
In 2015, Abdulmuemen Alhaj Hamdo’s Court decided to dismiss the case
eldest son recognized the body of his after the public prosecutor argued it
Country of residence father on several photographs taken by lacked jurisdiction to judge the crimes
of suspects a forensic photographer codenamed
Caesar, who deserted from the Syrian

army. Caesar made public over 50,000 The law firm “Guernica 37 International
Unknown Justice Chambers” appealed the
photos evidencing various crimes
committed in detention centers of the decision before the Appeals Chamber
Charges Syrian government since 2013. of the Spanish National Court. On
15 December 2017, the appeal was
Terrorism, enforced disappearances rejected.
and torture Procedure
On 1 February 2017, Amal Hag Hamdo
Developments in Anfalis filed a complaint with the OTHER ONGOING
Spanish National Court (Audiencia
2018 Nacional) against nine high-level CASES
military and government officials of
In February 2018, the law firm the Syrian Arab Republic, for alleged • The Jesuit murder case:
“Guernica 37 International Justice acts of terrorism and enforced investigation reopened in San
Chambers” requested the Spanish disappearance committed against her Salvador in 17 April 2018 after it
Supreme Court to admit their brother, Abdulmuemen Alhaj Hamdo. was suspended in 2000
complaint and to order the reopening
of the investigation. The complaint is directed against: Ali • The Guantanamo case: appeal of
Mamluk, head of the Syrian National the closing of the investigation is
They also asked the Constitutional Security Bureau (NCB); Abdul-Fattah ongoing
Court to examine the constitutionality Qudsiyeh, deputy head of the NCB;
of the current law on universal Mohammad Dib Zeitun, head of the
jurisdiction in Spain. General Syrian Security Directorate;
Jamil Hasan, head of the Syrian Air
In parallel, they seized the Court of
Force Intelligence Directorate; Faruq
Justice of the European Union to
Al-Sharaa, former vice president;
know if the current definition of a
Mohamed Said Bekheitan, deputy head
victim under the Spanish legislation
of ruling Baath Party; Mohammad Al-
is in accordance with European
Hajj Ali, major general; General Jalal
regulations, and if the European

REMOTE His appeal trial opened on 10

September 2018. The appeal’s court
WITNESSES went to Rwanda to see the crime
scenes and the court building from
CONTRIBUTE where the Rwandese victims and
TO GENOCIDE witnesses were heard through
CONDEMNATION The prosecutor’s closing argument
Theodore Tabaro is planned to take place in late
February 2019.

Context Current status

Ongoing proceedings in Sweden for Ongoing trial
crimes allegedly committed during
the 1994 Rwandan genocide Facts On 6 September 2017, Theodore
Tabaro was charged with murder,
Suspect Theodore Tabaro was allegedly
involved in the 1994 Rwandan genocide
attempted murder, rapes, and
kidnappings against the Tutsi minority.
Dual Swedish and Rwandese against ethnic Tutsi, in which 800,000
He is accused of having organised,
citizenship people were killed. The alleged
recruited, incited, and even executed
crimes took place between 9 April and
massacres against Tutsis.
31 May 1994, in the Winteko,
Country of residence Nyakanyinya and Mibirizi sectors, in On 26 September 2017, the District
of suspect Southwestern Rwanda. Court of Stockholm travelled to
Rwanda to examine some of the
From 9 April 1994, Theodore Tabaro,
Sweden witnesses and victims, and to see the
with other Hutu militia, allegedly took
alleged crime scenes. Some 30 other
part in the massacre of numerous
survivors and family members of the
Charges civilians and the raping of women and
victims were among the plaintiffs.
young girls in Winteko. On 13 April
Genocide; war crimes 1994, he allegedly participated in the His trial opened on 27 September 2017
Nyakanyinya school attack, where before a Special Court in Stockholm.
several hundred people were killed or
Developments in seriously injured by grenades, gunfire,
Read more about the case
2018 and knives. He is also accused of
taking part in the Mibirizi church
On 27 June 2018, Theodore Tabaro attack, several days later.
was sentenced to life in prison by the
District Court of Stockholm. He was He arrived in Sweden in 1998 and
found guilty of murder, attempted became a Swedish citizen in 2006.
murder and kidnapping of members
of the Tutsi minority, with the aim to
completely or partially destroy the
group. He was not found guilty of the On 25 October 2016, Theodore Tabaro
rape charges that could not be proven. was arrested in his home in Orebro on
suspicion of involvement in the 1994
He was also sentenced to pay a Rwandan genocide. The accused was
compensation of between 25,000 subsequently remanded in custody
and 102,000 Kronor to 16 victims by the Stockholm District Court. The
(approximately 2,800 to 11,600 US war crimes unit of the Swedish police
dollars). have led the investigation headed by a
Senior Public Prosecutor.

FORCIBLE Prosecutors are reportedly in the
process of finalizing the investigation
preliminary investigation the same
year. Alex Schneiter, who was head of
DISPLACEMENTS and a formal indictment should be
issued soon.
Exploration during the relevant time
period, and Ian Lundin, became formal
FOR PROFIT? OIL suspects after being questioned by
COMPANY ON THE Current status prosecutors in 2016.

AUTHORITIES’ Under investigation

If convicted of aiding and abetting,
Ian Lundin and Alex Schneiter face
RADAR sentences of up to life imprisonment.
Lundin Petroleum - Alex Schneiter Facts Both deny the charges.
and others
The second Sudanese civil war was
fought by the Government of Sudan,
the Sudanese People’s Liberation OTHER ONGOING
Context Army (SPLA), and other armed groups
from 1983 to 2005.
Ongoing investigation in Sweden into
• Raed Abdulkareem: Sentence
complicity in international crimes According to a report published by
confirmed on appeal, judgment
committed in Sudan (now South a coalition of NGOs, the European
became final
Sudan) between 1997 and 2003 Coalition on Oil in Sudan, in 1997,
Lundin Petroleum (then Lundin Oil)
Suspects signed a contract with the Government
for the exploration and production of
oil in a war zone in southern Sudan,
Alex Schneiter, Swiss national and CEO
the Block 5A concession, which was
of Lundin Petroleum; and Ian Lundin,
not at that time under full Government
Swedish national and chairman of
Lundin Petroleum
A civil war broke out between the
Country of residence Government and SPLA-supported
armed groups for the control of the
of suspects Block 5A.

Sweden and Switzerland In this capacity, the company allegedly

paid the Sudanese army and non-state
Charges armed groups to forcibly displace
the local population from oil-rich
Aiding and abetting war crimes and areas. Almost 200,000 civilians were
crimes against humanity forcedly displaced, and thousands
died. Other crimes allegedly carried
out to clear the land include unlawful
Developments in killings, rape, enslavement, torture,
indiscriminate attacks, pillage, and
2018 the recruitment of child soldiers.
On 18 October 2018, the Swedish
Government authorized the Procedure
prosecution authority to proceed with
an indictment in this case. Pursuant In 2010, the European Coalition on Oil
to Swedish law, the prosecution of a in Sudan published a report indicating
foreign national for crimes committed that Lundin Petroleum may have been
abroad requires the governmental complicit in international crimes
authorization. committed in Sudan between 1997
and 2003. The report was submitted
to the Swedish International Public
Prosecution Office, which opened a


COURT ORDERS massive crimes that were committed

under his order. The investigation
THE ATTORNEY should go on.

GENERAL TO In August 2018, a letter signed by the

Special rapporteurs on torture and
INVESTIGATE on the independence of judges and
the court considered that immunities
could not be invoked for international
ALGERIAN lawyers to Switzerland was published
by the United Nations. It heavily

GENERAL criticized Switzerland for alleged Early January 2017, the Office of
lack of independence and political the Attorney General of Switzerland
Khaled Nezzar interferences concerning the cases dismissed the case, considering that
against Khaled Nezzar and Rifaat the alleged acts committed by the
al-Assad. former Minister of Defense could
Context not be considered as war crimes, on
Current status the grounds that there was no war in
Algeria when the facts occurred.
Ongoing proceedings against the
former Algerian Minister of Defense Investigation ongoing On 18 January 2017, the civil parties
for alleged war crimes, committed in
appealed the decision before the
Algeria between 1992 and 1994
Facts Federal Criminal Court.

Suspect From 14 January 1992 to 31 January Read more about the case
1994, as Minister of Defense and
General in the Algerian army, Minister member of the HCS, Khaled Nezzar
of Defense in Algeria from 1990 to allegedly incited, authorized,
1994, and Member of the High Council and ordered military and public
of State (HCS) from 1992 to 1994 agents to commit acts of torture,
murders, extrajudicial killings,
Country of residence enforced disappearances, and other
grave violations of international
of suspect humanitarian law. The dirty war
caused the death of around 200,000
Algeria persons, and the disappearance of
some 20,000 others.

Various war crimes: torture,
extrajudicial killings, enforced Three torture victims filed a first
disappearances, and other complaint against Khaled Nezzar
grave breaches of international in France in 2001, but he managed
humanitarian law to leave the country before judicial
action could be initiated. In October
2011, TRIAL International filed a
Developments in new criminal complaint as he was
2018 travelling to Geneva. Two victims
of torture joined the procedure. He
On 30 May 2018, the Federal Criminal was arrested in October 2011 and
Court annulled the dismissal of the interrogated by the Swiss Attorney
case by the Office of the Attorney General. He appealed the procedure
General. The Court recognized the before the Federal Criminal Court.
existence of an armed conflict in In a decision from 25 July 2012,
Algeria in the early 90s and found Khaled Nezzar’s appeal was rejected:
that Khaled Nezzar was aware of the

Zoom in
Proving the existence of an
armed conflict in Algeria

Overturning a lower-court
decision, the Federal Criminal
Court found that a non-
international armed conflict
was going on in Algeria
between January 1992 and
January 1994.

It considered that the crimes

alleged were committed in
the context of this armed
conflict and as such, the
accused could face charges
of war crimes. The Court
considered that the General
Khaled Nezzar was aware
of the massive crimes that
were committed under his
command. The Court also
asserted that one of the main
parties to the conflict, the
Groupe Islamique Armé (GIA),
fulfilled the conditions of an
armed group.

Moreover, the Federal

Criminal Court considered
that under certain conditions,
crimes against humanity can
be prosecuted in Switzerland,
even though they were
committed before the entry
into force of the relevant
provisions in 2011.

DETENTION Facts Field notes
EXTENDED FOR The Gambia was under was under the
“In spite of decade-
long abuse, some
FORMER GAMBIAN control of Yahya Jammeh from 1994
to 2016. For more than two decades,
victims are opening up
MINISTER UNDER all opposition was repressed: torture,
for the first time”
extrajudicial executions and enforced
INVESTIGATION disappearances were widespread.
“Since Ouman Sonko’s
arrest, the Gambian
Ousman Sonko authorities have
After the re-election of Yahya Jammeh
been very willing to
in September 2006, Ousman Sonko
collaborate with TRIAL
was appointed minister of interior.
Context He held this position until September
International. This
has facilitated our
2016, when he was dismissed from
Ongoing proceedings in Switzerland access to the field, my
office and left The Gambia.
against former Gambian minister of colleagues and myself
the interior under the Yahya Jammeh have travelled there
regime for alleged serious crimes Procedure over six times to meet
under international law survivors. It is sobering
Alerted to Ousman Sonko’s presence that, in spite of decade-
on Swiss territory, TRIAL International long abuse, some of
Suspect lodged a criminal complaint with the them are opening up
Bernese prosecuting authorities on for the first time.”
Former inspector general of police 25 January 2017. The former Gambian
(2005 to 2006) and Minister of the minister was arrested the following Emeline Escafit, Legal
Interior (2006 to 2016) day at the immigration center of Lyss Advisor at TRIAL
(canton of Bern), where he had filed for International
Country of residence asylum. He was charged with crimes
against humanity.
of suspect
Nine Gambian victims filed a
The Gambia complaint. Six of them were heard
by the attorney general, as well as
Charges several witnesses.

On 9 October 2017, the Swiss Federal

Crimes against humanity, and torture Supreme Court confirmed the seizure
of Ousman Sonko’s assets. They are
Developments in worth approximately USD 15,000.

2018 His detention was extended for three

months twice by the Court of Coercive
His detention was renewed Measures of the canton of Bern (on 2
several times during the year in May 2017, on 31 July 2017 and then
order to allow the Office of the on 1 November 2017). In 2018, his
Attorney to interview witnesses detention was extended twice for
and victims. The investigation is six months by the Court of Coercive
still ongoing. Measures (on 29 January 2018 and
then on 30 July 2018).
Current status Read more about the case
Detained pending trial

INVESTIGATIONS to two other victims, even though
their families were still present in
for almost a month. The estimated
number of civilian casualties ranges
AT A STANDSTILL Syria. Then the federal prosecutor
decided to dismiss part of their
from 10,000 to 40,000 people,
depending on the sources.
AGAINST THE complaints concerning the Tadmor
“BUTCHER OF prison massacre, where one thousand
detainees were allegedly massacred Procedure
HAMA” by Rifaat-al-Assad troops, stating that
the suspect was not present on the
In November 2013, after being
Rifaat al-Assad informed that Rifaat al-Assad was
Swiss territory when the complaint
in Switzerland, TRIAL International
was filed. On 17 September 2018, the
lodged a complaint with the Office of
victims appealed this dismissal.
the Attorney General of Switzerland
Context The court confirmed the decision, regarding the massacre of Hama. A
however, saying that Swiss criminal investigation for war crimes
Ongoing proceedings in Switzerland was opened in December 2013.
against the former head of the prosecuting authorities are allowed
to open an investigation when there In August 2014, a victim joined
Defense Brigades in Syria for alleged the proceedings.
war crimes committed in Hama is information that the suspect will be
in 1982 present in the near future.
In September 2015, Rifaat al-
In August 2018, a letter signed by the Assad returned to Geneva. TRIAL
Suspect special rapporteurs on torture and International and the victim asked the
Swiss authorities to arrest him. After
on the independence of judges and
Brother of the former Syrian lawyers to Switzerland was published the Office of the Attorney General
President Hafez al-Assad and uncle by the United Nations. It heavily refused to proceed with his arrest, the
of the current President Bashar al- criticized Switzerland for alleged victim filed a motion for provisional
Assad; former head of the Defense lack of independence and political measures before the Federal Criminal
Companies, Syria’s elite commando interferences concerning the cases Court. Two days later, the Office of
troops, from 1971 to 1984 against Khaled Nezzar and Rifaat the Attorney General was ordered to
al-Assad. audition Rifaat al-Assad.

Country of residence In 2016 and 2017, TRIAL International

of suspect Current status filed several more complaints. It also

brought to the case ample evidence
Under investigation and a list of witnesses ready to testify.
Various As the proceedings continued, six

Charges Facts more victims joined the case.

On 25 September 2017, a collective

On 27 June 1980, the Defense of lawyers revealed the existence of
War crimes allegedly committed in Companies, commanded by Rifaat
Hama in 1982 the criminal investigation pending in
al-Assad, attacked the Tadmor prison. Switzerland, since 2013, against Rifaat
More than 1,000 detainees were al-Assad. Four years after the opening
Developments in massacred in their cells. of the investigation, they denounced a
2018 Rifaat al-Assad, as the commander
denial of justice from the Office of the
Attorney General.
of the Defense Companies, is also
The federal Court dismissed the denial suspected of participating in the
of justice allegations, considering that massacre of several thousand people
Read more about the case
the extensive delay could be explained in Hama during the civil war in Syria
by the complexity of the case. from 1979 to 1982.

A survivor of the Hama massacre In February 1982, opponents of the

was interviewed in June 2018 under regime took up arms in Hama. As
condition of anonymity. retaliation, the Syrian armed forces,
including the Defense Companies,
The federal prosecutor in charge of the attacked the city. The civilian
case first refused to grant anonymity population was trapped in Hama

THIRD (AND On 27 April 2018, Erwin Sperisen was
sentenced to a 15-year sentence for
Erwin Sperisen appealed the
conviction and his appeal trial took
FINAL?) SENTENCE his complicity in the 2006 murders.
He appealed the judgment to the
place from 4 to 8 May 2015 before
the Criminal Chamber of the Geneva
FOR HEAD OF Supreme Court. Court of Appeal. On 12 May 2015, the
GUATELAMAN Criminal Chamber upheld the life

POLICE Current status imprisonment sentence. In addition

to the seven extrajudicial executions
for which Erwin Sperisen was found
Pending decision of the Supreme
Erwin Sperisen guilty in the first instance, he was
condemned as jointly responsible for
the murder of three fugitives from

Context Facts the Infiernito prison, though not as a

direct perpetrator.
In October 2005, 19 prisoners escaped
Ongoing proceedings for serious from El Infiernito, a high security Arguing that his right to a fair trial had
crimes under international law prison in Guatemala City. Erwin been violated, Erwin Sperisen lodged
allegedly committed in Guatemala in Sperisen allegedly set up a plan aimed an appeal against the conviction.
2005 and 2006 at finding and executing the escaped
prisoners; this was known as the On 29 June 2017, the Swiss Federal
Suspect Gavilan Plan. Nine prisoners were
captured and three allegedly executed
Court overturned the judgment of
the Criminal Chamber of the Geneva
The head of National Civilian Police as a result. Court of Appeal and ordered Erwin
(NCP) of Guatemala from 2004 to Sperisen’s retrial. The Federal
2007; he has dual Swiss and In September 2006, Erwin Sperisen, judges recognized the existence of
Guatemalan citizenship along with 3,000 NCP officers and extrajudicial executions committed
members of the army, intervened by a commando composed of police
in the Pavón prison, a high security forces. Yet they considered that Erwin
Country of residence prison controlled by prisoners, Sperisen should have been confronted
of suspect to restore State authority. This
intervention ended in the arrest and
with several witnesses.

the alleged extrajudicial execution of On 20 September 2017, the Swiss

seven prisoners. Federal Court allowed the release
of Erwin Sperisen, pending his
Charges Procedure retrial. On 25 September 2017, he
was released and placed under
Extrajudicial executions in 2005 (the house arrest.
In 2008, several Swiss organizations
killing of three inmates who had
filed a criminal complaint against On 11 October 2017, Erwin Sperisen
escaped from the Infiernito prison) and
Erwin Sperisen with the Office of the filed a new motion requesting the
in 2006 (the killing of seven inmates at
Prosecutor in Geneva, after discovering recusal of the Judge Cambi Favre-
the Pavón prison), in Guatemala
that he was living in Switzerland. He Bulle, the presiding judge of the
was arrested on 31 August 2012 in Criminal Chamber of the Geneva
Developments in Geneva. In March 2013, the mother Court of Appeal and Revision. On
of one of the victims filed a complaint
2018 and joined the criminal proceedings.
3 November 2017, his motion was
rejected. Erwin Sperisen appealed this
Fourteen witnesses travelled from
Erwin Sperisen’s new trial took place decision to the Federal Tribunal.
Spain, France and Guatemala to be
in April 2018 in Geneva. The public heard by the Swiss authorities.
prosecutor requested a life sentence Read more about the case
for his alleged participation in 2006 to His trial opened on 15 May 2014
the assassination of seven detainees in Geneva. He was convicted on 6
in the Pavón prison. Incidentally, June 2014 and sentenced to life
the prosecutor requested a 15-year imprisonment for the crimes he
sentence for Erwin Sperisen’s alleged committed in the Pavón prison, but
complicity in these murders. The he was acquitted for his alleged
Defense pleaded for his acquittal. involvement in the Gavilan Plan.

• Alieu Kosiah (Liberia): investigation

• Ali Bin Fadhul Al-Buainain

(Bahrain): investigation ongoing

• Naït-Liman case: the European

Court of Human Rights dismissed
the case on 15 March 2018


ETHIOPIAN “RED Current status

TERROR” SUSPECT Sentenced to life in prison; retrial

Eshetu Alemu
In 1974, the communist military
regime, known as the Dergue,
Context overthrew Emperor Haile Selassie
I and seized power in Ethiopia. The
Eshetu Alemu pleaded not guilty to
regime effectively ruled the country
Ongoing proceedings against a Dutch all charges. His trial was supposed
for 17 years. In February 1977, the Red
national originally from Ethiopia, for to start on 21 November 2016 in The
Terror was officially declared, which
war crimes committed in Ethiopia Hague. However, it was postponed
led to mass killings, arrests, torture,
during the Red Terror in the late 1970s until 30 October 2017 following his
and disappearances of suspected
decision to change lawyer.
political opponents.
Suspect On 15 December 2017, Eshetu Alemu
Eshetu Alemu is accused of ordering
was found guilty of war crimes,
Former member of the Provisional the execution of 75 people, of torturing
including arbitrary detention, inhuman
Military Administrative Council, also nine people, and of controlling
treatment, torture, and murders. He
known as the Dergue, during the the illegal detention of more than
was sentenced to life in prison.
Mengistu Haile Mariam’s regime 300 people in cruel and inhuman
conditions in Ethiopia’s Gojjam
province during the Red Terror. Read more about the case
Country of residence
of suspect In 1990, he fled to The Netherlands
as an asylum seeker and became a
The Netherlands Dutch citizen in 1998.

Charges Procedure in
War crimes, including arbitrary
detention, inhuman treatment, torture, On 12 December 2006, Ethiopia
and murder of alleged opponents to concluded the trial of former Dergue
the regime officials, convicting Eshetu Alemu, and
57 other regime officials of genocide
Developments in and crimes against humanity. Eshetu
Alemu was judged in absentia and
2018 received a death sentence.

Eshetu Alemu appealed his conviction

on 3 January 2018. On 23 April 2018, Procedure in The
a first pre-trial hearing took place
before The Hague appeals court. At the
defense’s request, on 19 November Eshetu Alemu was arrested in The
2018, the court agreed to hear a dozen Netherlands in September 2015.
witnesses in Ethiopia. An investigative In September 2016, 15 Ethiopian
judge will travel to Ethiopia, together witnesses residing in the United
with the defense counsel and States of America and Canada were
prosecutors, to hear those witnesses. questioned by a Dutch judge and a

LIBERIAN On 18 December 2018, the Supreme
Court upheld his conviction for
the Court of Appeal. The Supreme
Court considered that the appeal
“BLOOD TIMBER” aiding and abetting war crimes. The
judgment is now final.
judges wrongly rejected a prosecution
request to hear the testimonies of two
BUSINESSMAN new witnesses, and ordered a retrial.
AWAITING Current status In December 2016, Guus Van
Kouwenhoven fled to South Africa.

Guus Van Kouwenhoven Guus Van Kouwenhoven’s appeal

Facts hearings began on 6 February 2017
before the Court of Appeal of Den
Context Whilst managing the largest Bosch. On 10 February 2017, the
prosecution requested a 20-year
timber operation in Liberia, Guus
Ongoing proceedings against a Dutch Van Kouwenhoven facilitated the prison sentence.
national for alleged war crimes importation of weapons for Charles
Taylor, thereby contravening UN On 21 April 2017, the Court of Appeal
committed during the second Liberian
Security Council resolutions. These of Den Bosch sentenced Guus Van
civil war (1999–2003)
weapons were supplied to militias Kouwenhoven in absentia to 19 years’
and used to carry out numerous imprisonment for complicity in war
Suspect massacres. crimes committed in Liberia, and for
his involvement in arms trafficking
Dutch national, director of operations Guus Van Kouwenhoven allegedly for Charles Taylor. The Court of
of the Oriental Timber Company made available trucks, drivers, and Appeal considered that by providing
(OTC), and owner of the Royal Timber facilities for the transportation and weapons, personnel, and equipment
Company (RTC), operating in Liberia storage of weapons, as well as armed to the armed conflict, Guus Van
personnel to Charles Taylor’s troops. Kouwenhoven consciously accepted
Country of residence the probability that war crimes and/
or crimes against humanity would be
of suspect Procedure committed.

On 18 March 2005, Guus Van On 8 December 2017, Guus Van

The Netherlands
Kouwenhoven was arrested in Kouwenhoven was arrested in
Rotterdam. He was charged with South Africa on a Dutch warrant.
Charges delivering arms to Liberia, involvement The Netherlands has requested his
in war crimes committed in that extradition.
Complicity in war crimes, supplying country, and breaching the embargo
arms and ammunition in violation of decreed by the United Nations with Read more about the case
weapons embargoes respect to Liberia.

His trial began on 24 April 2006 in The

Developments in Hague. On 7 June 2006, the Dutch Court
2018 acquitted Guus Van Kouwenhoven of
war crimes due to a lack of evidence.
Guus Van Kouwenhoven’s extradition He was, however, sentenced to an
hearings in South Africa were eight-year prison term for breaking
postponed several times in 2018 for the UN arms embargo against Liberia.
medical reasons. The last hearing Both sides filed an appeal.
took place in October.
On 10 March 2008, the Dutch Court of
On 26 June 2018, the Advocate General Appeal overturned the conviction and
advised the Supreme Court to uphold acquitted him of all charges due to a
the appeal court’s judgment, and lack of evidence.
confirm his conviction for complicity
in war crimes committed in Liberia On 20 April 2010, the Supreme
and involvement in arms trafficking Court of The Netherlands (de Hoge
for Charles Taylor. Raad) overturned the decision of

Field notes
“We found a death list by

“In Afghanistan, many people

write their own biography and
print a few hundred copies,
selling them on the market
place. Going through one of
them, one of our investigators
found one referring to the
prison where our suspect
worked. When he brought it
to a translator, he realized
the pot of gold he had come
across. The book held
copies of transport orders
to and from this prison, in
other words, top-quality
incriminating material!

There was also the death

list: it was handed over by a
former UN worker, changed
hands many times, and came
into the possession of a social
worker… who turned out to
have brought it back to Austria
in her personal archives. One
of our witnesses happened to
know that she had the list, so
the police went there, and she
simply handed us copies of
that list.”

Thijs Berger, Public

Prosecutor in The


LIBERIAN AND Current status

SWISS NGOS JOIN Trial pending
Agnes Reeves Taylor Agnes Reeves Taylor is accused
of having ordered and carried out
torture in Gbarnga, the headquarters
Context of Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic
Front; and in Gborplay, between 23
December 1989 and 1 January 1991,
Ongoing proceedings for war crimes
during the first Liberian civil war.
allegedly committed during the first
Liberian civil war (1989–1996). The
Agnes Reeves Taylor case is the fourth Procedure
arrest by a Western country of a suspect
of war crimes allegedly committed On 1 June 2017, Agnes Reeves Taylor
during the first Liberian civil war. was arrested at her residence in East
Liberia’s former president, Charles London by the Metropolitan Police,
Taylor, was sentenced on 30 May 2012 based on information provided by the
by the Special Court for Sierra Leone NGOs Civitas Maxima and its Liberian
to 50 years’ imprisonment (confirmed sister organization, the Global Justice
on appeal on 26 September 2013), and Research Project (GJRP).
for crimes he committed during the
Sierra Leone civil war in the 1990s. On 2 June 2017, she was charged with
However, he was not prosecuted for torture and infliction of severe pain or
the crimes committed in Liberia by his suffering for her alleged involvement
troops, the National Patriotic Front of with Charles Taylor’s rebel group, the
Liberia (NPLF). NPFL, during the first Liberian civil
war. She was charged with two counts
Suspect of torture committed in Gbarnga,
in central Liberia, and one count of
torture committed in Gborplay, in
Ex-wife of former Liberian president
the northeast. She allegedly allowed
Charles Taylor
the rape of seven women at the
headquarters of Charles Taylor’s
Country of residence rebels.

of suspect On 11 August 2017, Westminster

Magistrates’ Court rejected her
United Kingdom request for provisional release on bail.

Charges On 19 October 2018, she entered a

plea of not guilty to eight charges.
Torture, conspiracy to commit torture,
and intentionally inflicting severe pain Read more about the case
or suffering in the performance of
official duties

Development in 2018
Her trial was scheduled to start in
October 2018, but was postponed until
January 2019.

“SPECIAL MISSION Adawiya Square, in Cairo. More than Zoom in
817 demonstrators, including women
IMMUNITY” and children, were killed during the
event, and numerous acts of torture
“Special missions”
fall outside of
CONFIRMED FOR are alleged to have occurred. accountability

Lt. General Mahmoud Hegazy

Procedure The Court of Appeal
confirmed the High
The Freedom and Justice Party (FJP)
Court’s findings that
learned that Lt. General Hegazy,
Context director of the Egyptian Military
under customary
international law,
Intelligence Service in 2013, would
a State receiving a
Judicial review proceedings concerning be visiting the United Kingdom in
special mission is
the decision of the Metropolitan September 2015. The FJP requested
required to ensure
Police not to arrest Egyptian official, that the Metropolitan Police arrest
personal inviolability
Lt. General Mahmoud Hegazy, in him during his visit.
and immunity from
connection with torture allegations
criminal proceedings
The Metropolitan Police refused on
for members of that
the grounds that the United Kingdom’s
Suspect Foreign and Commonwealth Office had
special mission.
granted him special mission immunity.
Lt. General Mahmoud Hegazy It also found that
Lt. General Hegazy subsequently left
this customary
the country.
international law could
Country of residence In 2016, four claimants – including
be given effect by
of suspect the FJP, former ministers of the FJP
domestic common
law (para. 135). Finally,
government, and a British surgeon who
Egypt the Court held that
worked in emergency field hospitals in
special mission
Egypt – submitted an application for
immunity applies to
Charges judicial review of the decision not to
arrest Lt. General Hegazy. REDRESS
jus cogens crimes such
as torture (para. 108).
and Amnesty International intervened
in the proceedings.

Developments in On 5 August 2016, the High

Court confirmed the decision of
2018 the Metropolitan Police not to
arrest Mahmoud Hegazy on the
On 19 July 2018, the Court of Appeal grounds that he benefited from special
upheld the High Court’s judgment, mission immunity.
considering that special mission
immunity was a rule of customary The claimants appealed the findings
international law, and that the of the High Court.
Metropolitan Police’s refusal to arrest
Lt. General Hegazy had been lawful.

Current status OTHER ONGOING

Case dismissed; under judicial review
• Emirati officials accused of torture
Facts of Qatari nationals; names withheld

In August 2013, Egyptian security • Vincent Bajinya, Célestin

forces attacked a protest in support Ugirashebuja, Charles Munyaneza,
of ex-President Morsi in Rab’a al- Emmanuel Nteziryayo and Célestin
Mutabaruka: investigation ongoing

SENTENCE IN During the first Liberian civil war
IMMIGRATION (1989–1996), Mohammed Jabbateh
was a high-ranking officer in the rebel
Mohammed Jabbateh In his capacity as ULIMO-K leader,
Mohammed Jabbateh allegedly
ordered, facilitated and encouraged
Context murder of civilian non-combatants,
enslavement and sexual enslavement,
Ongoing trial in Philadelphia (USA) public raping, maiming of civilians,
for immigration fraud and perjury. torture, conscription of child soldiers,
The accused lied to the immigration execution of prisoners of war, and the
authorities regarding his involvement desecration and mutilation of corpses.
in the first Liberian civil war
Suspect Mohammed Jabbateh was arrested
on 13 April 2016 in Philadelphia. He
High-ranking officer in the United was placed under house arrest on
Liberation Movement for Democracy in 18 April 2016. Civitas Maxima and its
Liberia (ULIMO), a rebel group fighting Liberia-based sister organization, the
against Charles Taylor’s National Global Justice and Research Project
Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) (GJRP), has collaborated with the US
Department of Homeland Security on
the investigation since 2014.
Country of residence
of suspect The trial officially began on 2 October
2017 in Philadelphia. Over 20 victims
United States of America came from Liberia to testify regarding
crimes committed by Mohammed
Jabbateh or under his control. They
Charges testified about rapes and torture,
killings and looting, pillaging and
Two counts of fraud in immigration acts of ritual cannibalism; committed
documents, two counts of perjury personally or ordered, facilitated,
and/or encouraged by Mohammed
Developments in Jabbateh among his ULIMO fighters.

2018 Mohammed Jabbateh’s trial began

on 2 October 2017 in Philadelphia.
On 19 April 2018, Mohammed He was charged with two counts of
Jabbateh was sentenced to 30 years fraud in immigration documents, and
in prison for immigration frauds and two counts of perjury stemming from
perjury. He appealed his conviction statements he made in connection
and sentence. with his applications for asylum, and
later for legal permanent residence in
the United States of America. On 18
Current status October 2017, he was found guilty by a
jury on all four counts.
Convicted; sentenced to 30 years of
imprisonment Read more about the case

Field notes LONG-TERM one of the co-founders and leader
of the National Patriotic Front of
“The victims’ stories drive RESIDENT Liberia (NPFL). The NPFL was a
military organization led by Charles
me to keep going”
CONVICTED OVER Taylor, aiming to overthrow the Doe
“When you go to the
field, you realize that for
MASS MASSACRES government. On 24 December 1989,
the NPFL entered Liberia through the
years and years, people Jucontee Thomas Smith Woewiyu Côte d’Ivoire. By April 1990, the NPFL
have kept their stories controlled 90% of the country.
to themselves. This is
The NPFL is accused of many
especially true for sexual
violence, which carries
Context international crimes, including
a lot of stigma. In a case sexual slavery, mass murders, and
Ongoing trial in Philadelphia (USA) conscription of child soldiers. Jucontee
in Liberia, a woman we
for immigration fraud and perjury. Thomas Smith Woewiyu was allegedly
had just interviewed felt
The accused lied to the immigration involved in the planning of attacks on
so empowered to testify
authorities regarding his involvement civilians, including Operation Octopus
that she decided to tell
in the first Liberian civil war (1989– in 1992. The operation led to the violent,
her son he was born of
1996). attempted seizure of Monrovia, and
rape. By doing so, she was
able to reconnect with her resulted in the murder of thousands
everyday life: speaking Suspect of combatants and civilians; including
the executions of five American nuns.
about her past enabled her
to deal with the present. Co-founders and leader of the National
Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) Since January 1972, Jucontee Thomas
Collecting testimonies can Smith Woewiyu has legal permanent
be very emotional for the residence in the United States. He
victims and witnesses. Country of residence applied for United States citizenship in
I carry these emotions
back to The Hague and
of suspect January 2006.

they become my fuel. I

remember for whom I
United States of America Procedure
worked, I remember their
testimonies. And it drives Charges On 30 January 2014, Jucontee Thomas
Smith Woewiyu was indicted on
me to keep going, and seven counts of perjury, six counts of
to give my best for the Immigration fraud, perjury
immigration fraud and three counts
victims.” of false statement related to his
Emmanuelle Marchand,
Developments in naturalization. Akin to Mohammed
Jabbateh, Jucontee Thomas Smith
Senior Legal Counsel for 2018 Woewiyu is accused of having lied
the NGO Civitas Maxima on his citizenship application; failing
The trial began on 11 June 2018. On to disclose his association with the
3 July 2018, he was found guilty of NPFL, and that he was connected to
immigration frauds, false statement crimes committed by the NPFL.
in relation to naturalization, and
perjury. The sentencing judgment On 12 May 2014, he was arrested in
was scheduled to take place on Newark Airport as he was returning
26 November 2018, but it from Liberia. In October 2014,
was postponed. bail was paid, and a Federal Judge
from Philadelphia granted him
Current status temporary release before his trial,
under the condition that he stayed
Convicted; awaiting sentence under house arrest.

Read more about the case

Jucontee Thomas Smith Woewiyu is
CIVIL CASES TAKE the case brings an extrajudicial killing
claim under the FSIA, which strips
Reconciliation Commission identifying
the perpetrators of this massacre, no
OVER CRIMINAL the immunity of designated state-
sponsors of terrorism for the unlawful
one has ever been held to account. This
civil action was brought against Moses
PROCEEDINGS killing of U.S. nationals. In March Thomas, a former commander of the
2018, plaintiffs filed a motion for Special Anti-Terrorism Unit, an elite
In the United States, suspects of default judgment against the Syrian unit of the armed forces of Liberia.
international crimes who reside or government. The evidence submitted He is believed to be responsible for
visit the country can be subject to by CJA showed that senior members the Massacre, during which Liberian
civil suit for violations of international of the Assad regime conspired to kill armed forces attacked a Red Cross
law committed outside of the United Marie Colvin and other journalists designated shelter at the church and
States, based on two different bases: engaged in independent reporting massacred 600 civilians. The claims
on the conflict, tracking them down against him include the commission of
through a web of informants and war crimes, crimes against humanity,
electronic surveillance. The court’s torture, and extrajudicial killing.
The Alien Tort Statute (ATS) decision is pending. Thomas filed a motion to dismiss the
gives U.S. federal courts jurisdiction complaint in April 2018, which the
to hear lawsuits filed by non-U.S. plaintiffs opposed. On 18 December
citizens for torts committed in 2018, the Court ruled that Moses
violation of international law. Over Mamani v. Berzaín In 2007, the Thomas will face trial in Philadelphia.
the past 30 years, the ATS has been Center for Constitutional Rights
used successfully in cases involving brought a lawsuit in a federal court
torture, state-sponsored sexual in Florida under the ATS and TVPA
violence, extrajudicial killing, crimes against the former President of Boniface v. Viliena In Haiti, armed
against humanity, war crimes and Bolivia, Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, groups that are aligned with political
arbitrary detention. and the former Minister of Defense, parties routinely kidnap, torture, and
Carlos Sánchez Berzaín. The claims kill political opponents, journalists,
arose from a brutal crackdown by the and human rights advocates; while
Bolivian military during a period of meting out vigilante justice, collecting
The Torture Victim Protection civil unrest in September and October bribes, and ensuring loyalty in the face
Act (TVPA) allows U.S. citizens 2003, during which over 50 civilians of collapsed legal institutions. One of
and non-citizens alike to bring civil were killed and hundreds more were the leaders allegedly responsible for
claims for torture and extrajudicial injured. In April 2018, a federal jury these abuses is Haitian Mayor, Jean
killing committed in foreign countries. found Sánchez de Lozada and Sánchez Morose Viliena, who is also a U.S.
The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Berzaín responsible for their roles in legal permanent resident. In 2017,
Act (FSIA) and the Anti-Terrorism planning and ordering the crackdown CJA filed a lawsuit in a federal court
Act also permit civil claims against that led to the extrajudicial killings. It in Massachusetts, setting out claims
perpetrators of mass atrocity under marked the first time a former head under the ATS and TVPA against Viliena
limited circumstances. of state has been found guilty in a on behalf of three media activists and
U.S. court for human rights abuses. human rights defenders. This case
These civil cases not only offer Plaintiffs were awarded $10 million seeks to hold Viliena accountable for
survivors an opportunity to face their in compensatory damages. In May a 2007 to 2009 campaign of killing,
abusers in a court of law, they can also 2018, the judge in the case overturned torture, and mass arson. In August
pave the way for criminal proceedings. the unanimous jury verdict. The case 2018, the court ruled that claims
Below are some notable cases from is now on appeal to the 11th Circuit related to torture, murder, and mass
this past year: Court of Appeals. arson were permitted to proceed,
following an attempt by the defendant
to dismiss the complaint.

Colvin v. Syrian Arab Republic Jane W. v. Thomas In February

In 2016, the Center for Justice and 2018, CJA filed a lawsuit in federal
Accountability (CJA) brought the first court in Pennsylvania under the ATS Jara v. Barrientos In 2016, a
war crimes lawsuit against the Assad and TVPA on behalf of survivors of the federal jury in Orlando, Florida,
regime for the murder of American Lutheran Church Massacre of 1990, found Pedro Pablo Barrientos Nuñez
war correspondent Marie Colvin. Filed the worst single atrocity of the Liberian liable under the TVPA for the torture
in a federal court in Washington, D.C., civil war. Despite Liberia’s Truth and and extrajudicial killing of Víctor

Jara, a Chilean musician. Jara was
killed in the days following General
Augusto Pinochet’s overthrow of
democratically elected President
Salvador Allende of Chile. CJA, which
brought the case on behalf of Victor
Jara’s family, presented previously
unused evidence to elucidate what
transpired in the hours and days
after the Pinochet coup; an important
contribution to the record of truth.
The court ordered Barrientos to pay
$8 million in compensatory damages
and $20 million in punitive damages
to Jara’s family. The government of
Chile has since requested Barrientos’
extradition to Chile to face criminal
trial, a request that now resides with
the U.S. government. In July 2018, a
Chilean court sentenced eight retired
Chilean military officers to 15 years in
prison for their roles in Jara’s death.

Photo credit: Will Baxter/TRIAL International

Table of cases

Country of Country of
Case Crimes Current status Page
prosecution commission Torture Genocide against
War Other
crimes charges

Passive personality
dictatorship -
Rodolfo Martin
Argentina Spain • • case; under
Villa and others
Mohammed bin
Argentina Saudi Arabia • • examination ongoing

Syrian case in Conviction overturned;

Austria Syria • • retrial ongoing

Austria Syria • • Under investigation 17

Rwandan nationals Belgium Rwanda • • Detained; awaiting trial 18

Martina Johnson Belgium Liberia • • • Under investigation 19

The Iraqi
twin brothers
Finland Iraq • • Appeal ongoing 20

Ahmed Jabbar Sentenced to 18

Finland Iraq • month sentence

Under investigation; 3
Syrian nationals France Syria • • • • arrest warrants issued

Active personality
Lafarge – Eric case; under
Olsen and others
France Syria • • • investigation; several
indictments issued

Ahmed Hamdane Detained; under

El Aswadi
France Iraq • • investigation

Mohammed bin
France Saudi Arabia • Under investigation 29

Khalifa Haftar France Libya • Under investigation 30

Under investigation; in
Kunti K. France Liberia • • • custody

Active personality
QOSMOS France Syria • case; under

25 year sentence
France Rwanda • • confirmed; definitive

Sentenced to life
Octavien Ngenzi France Rwanda • • imprisonnement;
confirmed on appeal

Sentenced to life
Tito Barahira France Rwanda • • imprisonnement;
confirmed on appeal

France Rwanda • • Pending trial 35

Active personality
France Rwanda • case: awaiting
extradition to France

Wenceslas Case dismissed; on

France Rwanda • • • appeal

Country of Country of
Case Crimes Current status Page
prosecution commission Torture Genocide against
War Other
crimes charges

Laurent Referred to the

France Rwanda • • criminal court

Sosthène Pending decision to

France Rwanda • • refer him to trial

the Syrian
Germany Syria • • Under investigation 41

Under investigation;
Jamil Hassan see also
Syria • • under arrest warrant

against non-state
armed groups
Germany Syria • • • Under investigation 44

in Syria
Mustafa K.
Abdullah K.
Sultan K. and
Germany Syria • • On trial 45
Ahmed K.

Abdul Jawad A.K. Germany Syria • • On trial 46

A. A.
Germany Syria • • On trial 46

Abdalfatah H.A. Germany Syria • • On trial 46

Convicted; sentenced
Ibrahim Al F. Germany Syria • • • to life in prison

Under investigation; in
Mohamad K. Germany Syria • custody

Under investigation; in
Raad A. Germany Syria • • custody

Under investigation; in
Abbas R. Germany Syria • • custody

Sentenced under
Suliman Al-S. Germany Syria 50

Democratic Sentenced; acquitted

Germany Republic of
the Congo
• • on appeal; pending

Sentenced; appeal
Straton Musoni Germany Republic of
the Congo
• rejected

In custody
Omaid N. Germany Afghanistan • • pending trial

Zaheer D.
Germany Syria • Under investigation 53

Monitoring procedure
Gina Haspel Different
and others
locations • • (preliminary

Members of
Israeli Defense
Germany Israel • pre-investigation

Country of Country of
Case Crimes Current status Page
prosecution commission Torture Genocide against
War Other
crimes charges

Yahya Jammeh Ghana The Gambia • • Pending investigation 56

Active personality
RWM Italia Italy Saudi Arabia • case; under

Norway Rwanda • Under investigation 58

Paul Mwilambwe Senegal Republic of
the Congo
• Under investigation 59

Inocente Orlando
Montano Morales
Spain El Salvador • • Awaiting trial 60

Carlos Vielmann Acquittal confirmed

Spain Guatemala • on appeal

Members of the Dismissed; recourse

Syrian security ongoing to the
and intelligence
Spain Syria • • Spanish Supreme
forces Court

Active personality
Theodore Tabaro Sweden Rwanda • • case; on trial

Petroleum - Alex
Schneiter and
Sweden Sudan • • Under investigation 64

Khaled Nezzar Switzerland Algeria • • Investigation ongoing 65

Detained; under
Ousman Sonko Switzerland The Gambia • • investigation

Rifaat al-Assad Switzerland Syria • Under investigation 68

Active personality
Erwin Sperisen Switzerland Guatemala • case; pending retrial

Active personality
The case; sentenced to life
Eshetu Alemu
Ethiopia • • imprisonment; retrial
Active personality
Guus Van The case; sentenced to 19
Kouwenhoven Netherlands
Liberia • • years imprisonment;
awaiting extradition

Agnes Reeves The United Detained; under

Taylor Kingdom
Liberia • investigation

Lt. General
The United Case dismissed;
Egypt • under judicial review

Mohammed The United Sentenced to 30 years

Jabbateh States
Liberia • imprisonment

Jucontee Thomas The United Convicted; awaiting

Smith Woewiyu States
Liberia • sentencing judgement

The United
Civil cases
Various • Under investigation 78


TRIAL International is a non-governmental organization fighting impunity
for international crimes and supporting victims in their quest for justice.
TRIAL International takes an innovative approach to the law, paving the way to
justice for survivors of unspeakable sufferings. The organization provides legal
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The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) is an
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groundbreaking strategic legal intervention to challenge impunity, injustice and
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and non-state actors accountable and to bring about political, economic, legal
and social change. In order to achieve that, ECCHR works closely with partners
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prevention of violations, and to bring perpetrators to justice. A broad mandate:
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and implement projects with a wider scope. In 2015, FIBGAR launched the
Madrid–Buenos Aires Principles of Universal Jurisdiction.

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a mandate to assist victims of torture and related international crimes to seek
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around the world to ensure that victims’ rights to justice and reparation are
enforced in practice. It accomplishes this through a combination of litigation,
advocacy and capacity building.

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