‘China is protecting war criminals, Russia is participating in the war crimes’ Kenneth Roth on Syria

A German court has found a Syrian former army colonel guilty of crimes against humanity, handing him a life sentence. It was a landmark trial to examine state-sponsored torture during the Syrian civil war.

Executive Director for Human Rights Watch Kenneth Roth told DW that Raslan’s sentencing under universal jurisdiction was a ‘truly historic moment.’ “The Assad government in Syria has pursued this war really through a war crimes strategy,” Roth said. “They have deliberately bombed hospitals, schools and marketplaces, they’ve used chemical weapons against their own people, they’ve used starvation as a method of war.”

“The issue here in this trial was the pervasive use of arbitrary detention, torture and thousands of executions.”

Roth told DW that Syria never joined the International Criminal Court, and China and Russia have “blocked” access to the court through the UN Security Council through their veto.

For this reason, “a number of governments, Germany included, helped to circumvent the veto in the UN Security Council by going to the UN General Assembly and getting it to create what’s known as the International Independent Impartial Mechanism [IIIM].”

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