The Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression Welcomes the Verdict of the Higher Regional Court in Berlin

PARIS (February 24, 2023) – On Thursday 23 February 2023, the Higher Regional Court in Berlin sentenced Palestinian-Syrian Moafak D. to aggravated life imprisonment for war crimes. Moafak D. was convicted of launching an anti-tank weapon shell at a gathering of civilians from the Yarmouk camp, which was besieged at the time in the Syrian capital, Damascus. The attack took place during the distribution of humanitarian aid, which resulted in the death of at least 4 civilians and the injury of at least two others on March 23, 2014.

The Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM) welcomes the court’s decision as a step toward justice and redress for the victims of grave violations committed in Syria since 2011. This trial is in line with the SCM’s vision of justice being a prerequisite for building a democratic society based on freedom and equality and respecting human dignity and rights. This case is the third case in Germany in which the verdict was issued based on the principle of universal jurisdiction. This principle allows the persecution of Syrian suspects accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria.

In this context, lawyer Tareq Hokan, director of the Strategic Litigation Project at SCM said: “The court’s decision in Berlin is a consolation and compensation for the victims who lost their lives in this attack, their families, and the survivors. We at SCM believe that impunity will be stopped and that justice will prevail by prosecuting everyone who committed grave violations against Syrians.”

SCM commends the work of the Syrian civil society and the courage of the victims and survivors who believed in the principle of legal justice and accountability for crimes committed in Syria from all sides. SCM also stresses that all cases related to violations committed in Syria are not a substitute for launching a national path for transitional justice that completely ends the state of impunity, and guarantees the rights of victims by providing justice as an indispensable prelude to building sustainable peace in Syria.