France will not judge an ex-Syrian soldier for “complicity in crimes against humanity”

France will not judge an ex Syrian soldier for complicity in

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There will be no trial in France for an ex-Syrian soldier. The man was arrested on French soil in 2019 and indicted for ” complicity in crimes against humanity “. But the Court of Cassation has just ruled by declaring the French justice ” incompetent “. This decision disappoints supporters of the ” universal jurisdiction Which, in theory, allows serious crimes to be tried outside the country where they were committed.

This ex-Syrian soldier served in the ranks of the State Security of his country, and he is suspected of having participated in arrests and abuse against opponents of Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

The man claims his innocence, but it is not on the merits that the French justice has just pronounced. Indeed, it is because Syria has not ratified the statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and because the crime against humanity does not exist in Syrian law that the French justice declares itself incompetent.

A message of impunity

Clémence Bectarte, lawyer for the International Federation for Human Rights, deplores “ a message of impunity . For her, it is a message, also, from France of a great contradiction, a great ambiguity, with on the one hand the French authorities who display a will to contribute to the fight against the impunity of the crimes committed in Syria. And on the other, a legislator who maintains very restrictive conditions and who will therefore make it impossible to exercise universal jurisdiction in France, particularly with regard to crimes committed in Syria. “.

Lawyers and human rights defenders fear that other cases investigated in France will encounter the same obstacle. In Germany, the principle of universal jurisdiction allowed this year the opening of a historic trial, the first to concern abuses attributed to the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

►Also listen: Syria: the endless conflict. Disaster country. Failed state?