Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 21:21 EDT

Syrian Victims Seek Recourse In U.S Courts Against Syrian Arab Republic Officials

July 23, 2012

WASHINGTON, July 23, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF) re-filed its civil action on behalf of plaintiffs directly impacted by the violent crackdown used by the Syrian Army and other government forces against anti-government protesters and ordinary civilians.

The defendants include: Syrian Arab Republic; State Military Intelligence Service; Ali Mumluk; Maher Al-Assad; Colonel Hafez Makhlouf; Jamil Hassan; Atif Najib; Ashef Shawkat (now deceased); Major General Abdul Fattah Qudseyyah; Major General Rustom Ghazali; Anas Alswaid and Bashar Al-Jafari. The list includes defendants currently in Syria exercising command responsibility over military, security and auxiliary forces culpable in international crimes committed against civilians. They are personally liable and have acted in coordination with direct perpetrators of severe atrocities. A number of the defendants also continue to exercise command authority within Syria and as a result have been subjected to internationally enforced sanctions.

This filing constitutes the first of its kind to be filed in the U.S for the on-going atrocities committed against the civilian population in Syria as of March 2011. The defendants are charged with extrajudicial killing; torture; cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; arbitrary detention; crimes against humanity; war crimes and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The action is brought under the Alien Tort Statute and the Torture Victim Protection Act. These are both U.S Federal Statutes that allow for victims subjected to severe human right violations to seek redress before the U.S judicial system.

The complaint represents a small example of the harrowing experiences suffered by civilians in Syria including the torture and detention of 16-year-old U.S citizen subjected to imprisonment in a high security detention facility for 22 days. The United Nations Security Council, United Nations and Arab League Envoy to Syria and the United Nations Human Rights Council, all tasked with maintaining international peace and security and documenting severe human rights violations, have condemned the Syrian Arab Republic regime’s widespread and systematic crackdown against the civilian population, including the targeted killings of women and children. Most recently the International Committee of the Red Cross declared that the violence has now escalated across Syria declaring the nation to be in a state internal armed conflict. The result of which is that crimes against civilians are now considered to be open to war crime prosecutions with the usual international humanitarian laws to be applied. On behalf of the plaintiffs, the SETF seeks to hold those responsible for the documented atrocities to accountability and ensure there is an end to the impunity they currently enjoy.

The SETF is a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C and dedicated to advancing the democratic aspirations of Syrian civilians. It seeks to convey the plight of ordinary Syrian civilians to the U.S public and assists in all humanitarian efforts to achieve this cause. This includes the use of litigation to redress the atrocities committed and hold those responsible to just accountability. For questions or comments please contact 202-420-7881 or visit http://syriantaskforce.org/.

SOURCE The Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF)

Source: PR Newswire