SJAC’s trial monitoring program started in 2020 with the trial of Anwar Raslan and Eyad Al-Gharib in Koblenz, Germany. The subsequent trial of a former government affiliate Alaa M. started in Frankfurt, Germany in January 2022. Since the beginning of the respective trial proceedings, SJAC has monitored both trials via local, trained court monitors and published regular trial reports, available in both English and Arabic. SJAC is also closely following developments in the case against El Shafee Elsheikh (member of the so-called “ISIS Beatles”), set for trial in Alexandria, VA USA in March 2022.
SJAC has compiled several resources ranging from accompanying analyses, reports, and lists of witnesses for each trial. To access the resources, click on the links below.
In April 2020, the Higher Regional Court in Koblenz began the first trial of two former Syrian government officials for acts of torture. This is the first criminal trial worldwide on state torture in Syria. The precedent is an important one as Syrian government officials have largely escaped prosecution to this point.
Since the beginning of the trial proceedings on April 23, 2020, SJAC has monitored the trial via trained court monitors and published regular trial reports, available in both English and Arabic. The lack of official court translations distorts the historical landscape of the conflict, limits the scope of testimony available, and hinders future opportunities for reflection on human rights violations and justice processes. Consequently, SJAC’s comprehensive trial monitoring establishes a historical record of the trial and ensures the availability of documentation for victims and families.
On February 24, 2021, the Higher Regional Court in Koblenz found Eyad Al-Gharib guilty of aiding and abetting torture and deprivation of liberty as crimes against humanity. He was sentenced to 4.5 years imprisonment. The trial monitoring report detailing the verdict is available here. In addition, SJAC’s reflections on the verdict — including the role of limited evidence and his status as a low-level warrant officer — are available here.
After one year of trial proceedings, SJAC provided a detailed report, assessing the legal and practical background of the trial. This report — including a critical reflection on the first trial against former government affiliates — can be found here.
On January 13, 2022, The Higher Regional Court in Koblenz found Anwar Raslan guilty of being accomplice in 4,000 cases of torture and deprivation of liberty, 27 cases of murder, and 3 cases of sexual violence as crimes against humanity. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.