“Pro Justice”: Campaigns Calling for Holding Perpetrators to Account
“At the [Pro Justice], we want to say that justice cannot die, and if it is repressed today, tomorrow it will explode. We want to make a priority of accountability at all the discussion tables addressing the Syrian affair.”
With these words, Wael Sawah, executive director of the “Pro Justice” organization, expressed the objectives of the campaigns launched on the organization’s website, the last of which was titled “No Legitimacy for Perpetrators,” conducted on last October 31.
“No Legitimacy for Perpetrators is a solidarity campaign to instill the truth that there would not be a real peace in Syria, or real reconciliation, without holding the key perpetrators, the reason for the destruction of the country and the violation of human rights, accountable,” Sawah told Enab Baladi.
The “Pro Justice” organization is preparing for further steps in the future, in cooperation with other organizations in the field of human rights, as to transfer this activity from the phase of solidarity and documentation to the phase of accountability.
Under the “No Legitimacy for Perpetrators” campaign, the “Pro Justice” organization addresses the Syrian regime’s personalities involved in committing human rights violations. It spreads information about these personalities and the violations they made, similar to what they did in the case of Major General Rafiq Shahadah, “who exploited his position to achieve personal interest, for he employed his son Mudar at the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and turned him into a diplomat to work for the Syrian Embassy in London, knowing that Mudar’s education does not exceed high school,” according to information reported on the organization’s website.
The list includes officers and officials involved in military operations and crimes during the war, such as Jamil Hassan, responsible for the violations committed by the “Air Force Intelligence” personnel, including killing under torture and forced disappearance, in addition to his responsibility for “the shelling that targeted the civilians and their forced displacement.”
The “No Legitimacy for Perpetrators” which followed the “Black List” campaign, was published for the last two weeks in Arabic and English, seeking to introduce more than 70 security and political personalities, involved in committing violations against the Syrian people, as to facilitate the way for bringing them into court and not to allow them an escape from punishment.
Sawah defined the “Pro Justice” organization as follows: “There are several respected Syrian organizations working in the filed of transitional justice and accountability. All these organizations are doing an excellent job in their sectors. Pro Justice is established to be an organization specialized in the cause of accountability because all the international and regional forces have abandoned the Syrian affair and are now looking for a political solution, which will definitely be at the disadvantage of the Syrian people. So, through the Pro Justice, we want to make a priority of the accountability issue at all discussion tables.”
The organization consists of several Syrian law specialists and politicians, and it had launched the “Black List” campaign early in October, seeking to shed the light on the “war criminals” in Syria through publishing separate investigations about each of these personalities, including biographies and the lists of international sanctions covering them.
Most notable of these personalities are Maher al-Assad, Ali Mamlouk, Mohammed Dib Zaitoun, Ali Abdullah Ayyoub, Fahd Jassem al-Freij, Abdel-Fatah Qudsiyeh, Jamil Hassan and other key figures of the Syrian regime.
Sawah believes that no one has the right to deem the Assad’s regime as innocent of the violations it committed against the Syrian people and that there are many ways to follow as to achieve this end. The goal, at the end, is not to give the perpetrators away to avoid punishment.
“To realize this, we will start a campaign with officials at the actor countries, including the U.S., to make sure that these perpetrators are not exempted from punishment,” he added.
Several human rights organizations are making massive efforts as to hold the key figures of the Syrian regime accountable for the violations they committed against the Syrian people, the last of these was the international arrest warrant that was issued on November 5 by the French prosecutors for the Head of the National Security Office Ali Mamlouk, the Head of the Air Force Intelligence security branch Jamil Hassan and Abdel Salam Mahmoud, an Air Force Intelligence officer. The warrant was issued against the background of the “Caesar” photographs, leaked by a dissentient militant, who was assigned to photograph the bodies of detainees who died under torture at the Military Hospital.
This is in addition to another international arrest warrant naming Jamil Hassan, which the German state prosecutor issued in June 2017, under the suits filed to him, in cooperation with the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression.