Spread the love

Sweden: verdict for a former Syrian general accused of war crimes

A Stockholm court delivers its verdict Thursday on a former Syrian general accused of of war crimes in his country in 2012, the leader being one of the most senior Syrian military officials tried in Europe.

Mohammed Hamo, aged 65 and living in Sweden, was tried in the spring for “complicity” in war crimes between January and July 2012, a charge which could potentially earn him a life sentence.

The court is due to deliver its verdict at 11:00 a.m. (09:00 GMT).

The civil war in Syria between the regime of Bashar al -Assad and armed opposition groups including the jihadist organization Islamic State (IS), triggered in 2011 by the repression of pro-democracy demonstrations, has left more than half a million dead and divided this country.

According to the accusation, the former officer contributed, “through his advice and his action”, to the actions of the army “whose attacks were systematically carried out in violation of the principles of distinction, prudence and proportionality”.

“The war was waged indiscriminately,” prosecutor Karolina Wieslander told the court at the opening of the trial in April.

The prosecutor said the attacks of the army caused damage to civilians and their property “in a manner disproportionate to the concrete and immediate general military advantages that could be expected”.

As general at the head of an armed division, Mohammed Hamo participated in the coordination of these operations and provided weapons to the units involved, according to the prosecution.

The accused has denied these accusations.

He cannot be held responsible for his actions “because he acted in a military context and had to follow orders “, his lawyer, Mari Kilman, told the court.

– “Strong evidence” –

Aida Samani, senior legal advisor to the rights organization Civil Rights Defenders, said “strong evidence” was presented during the trial.

Sweden: verdict for a former Syrian general accused of war crimes

Journalists wait at Stockholm District Court on April 15, 2024, as the main hearing against former Syrian general Mohammed Hamo begins © TT News Agency – Oscar OLSSON

“We will see what the court does with this information and this evidence,” she added.

“What is remarkable about this case is “this is the first trial concerning the war waged by the Syrian army, that is to say the way in which the war was waged,” she said, stressing that no European court had previously dealt with this issue and the impact on civilian lives and infrastructure.

At the end of May, three senior officials of the Syrian regime, tried in absentia in France for complicity of crimes against humanity and war crimes, were sentenced to life imprisonment.

The Paris Assize Court notably found Jamil Hassan guilty , former director of air force intelligence.

Mohammed Hamo is the highest-ranking Syrian military official to have been tried in person in Europe.

In March, an uncle of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Rifaat al-Assad, was sent to stand trial in Switzerland for war crimes and crimes against humanity .

His presence at his trial, the date of which has not yet been announced, is however uncertain, Mr. al-Assad having returned to Syria after 37 years of 'exile. In Switzerland a person can be judged in their absence, under certain conditions.

In January 2022, a former colonel of the intelligence services, Anwar Raslan, was convicted in Germany in Koblenz (west) to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116