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  • a group of human rights organizations have filed criminal complaints here in Germany for two chemical weapons attacks carried out in Syria in 2013 and 2017.

  • Some estimates suggest more than 1000 people were killed in one of the attacks in the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta to avert military intervention in 2013 by the U.

  • S and other countries.

  • The regime of Bashar al Assad committed to destroying its chemical weapons.

  • However, investigators say the Syrian military has continued to use outlawed weapons such as sarin gas against its own population.

  • Human rights groups have identified the use of nerve gas in more than 200 instances over the past seven years.

  • Now the hope is that the courts in Germany can deliver justice for the victims.

  • DW reporters were given exclusive access to documents and witnesses who formed part of the complaint filed with the country's federal prosecutor.

  • Go ahead.

  • The screams of victims who died in the sarin gas attack in Ghouta to this day still echo in the ears off Syrian nurse, a man she wants nothing mawr than Syrian President Bashar Assad and the perpetrators off the attack to be charged She and her husband, Mohammad, are witnesses off a criminal complaint filed in Germany by human rights groups.

  • They wish to remain anonymous because they fear for their family safety e fear for my mother and my sisters, who are still living in Syria because the regime is cruel and unjust.

  • It has no mercy.

  • If it had a conscience, they wouldn't have done these things.

  • On August 21st, 2013, at least four rockets loaded with sarin gas warheads struck rebel held parts off eastern Ghouta.

  • More than 1000 people were killed, many off them Children.

  • Among them was Iman and more meds.

  • Eldest son.

  • They too were exposed to sarin and we're unconscious for days.

  • To this day, the Syrian regime denies any responsibility for the attack.

  • E hope that one day I can stand before a judge and tell them what this chemical attack did to us.

  • E.

  • It was a terrible scene that I cannot describe to you.

  • People were lying on the ground like ants being killed by bug spray.

  • These images never leave my mind.

  • Hardy Al Khatib is convinced that the Syrian regime was behind the attack.

  • For years, his organization the Syrian archive, along with two other human rights groups, have meticulously analyzed the attack from the suspected launch sites toe the rockets used.

  • They have also documented undisclosed chemical weapons facilities, including where sarin was hidden after 2013.

  • We think from our investigation that most probably branch for 150 a network off different entities that are responsible for the coordination on the execution off these attacks.

  • The W's investigative team, along with German newsmagazine Dash Bigger, was given exclusive access to parts off the criminal complaint.

  • It includes testimonies from 50 defectors with firsthand knowledge off the chemical weapons program and named suspected perpetrators such as Bashar Assad and his younger brother, Mahir.

  • We have one witness who has described that the request for the use of sarin gas comes from Maharaja Assad and then is communicated to the presidential palace where it is approved.

  • We believe it is approved or ordered by Bashar al Assad.

  • The criminal complaint was filed in October with the chief federal prosecutor and cultural, where war crimes unit has been investigating atrocities in Syria for years.

  • Federal prosecutors here in Germany confirmed to us that a criminal complaint was fired, but they would not comment on its contents.

  • Instead, they said they would independently probe the evidence before deciding whether to open a case against individual suspects.

  • But that can take weeks or even months.

  • A man was traumatized by the events.

  • She suffers from depression and needs medication to make it through the day.

  • But the investigation in Germany has given her strength and hope that the people responsible for all the suffering will finally be held to account.

  • Joining me now is Birgitta Shoko, one of the D.

  • W's investigative reporters who filed this report.

  • Birgitta, What are the chances that this complaint actually turns into an indictment of President Assad?

  • We understand that the federal prosecutor's office is taking this criminal complaint very seriously, and in fact it's a really comprehensive documentation.

  • Off the attacks was a lot of evidence and also names off possible perpetrators.

  • I think the strongest evidence are the defectors testimonies, which described the chain of command, and they also suggest that even Bashar Assad knew about this attack and that could lead to an indictment under international law.

  • But we have to remember that Assad is still an acting head of state and that it's clear that it will take a long time until such indictment could happen.

  • And also you have to take in mind.

  • He has a lot off very strong allies like Russia and China.

  • So I think to this day he in a way enjoys immunity for now.

  • I'm curious.

  • You know, there are three human rights organizations that are behind this complaint.

  • Why did they choose Germany to press the charges?

  • Given the history off Germany with the Nazi regime and the Nuremberg trials, Germany has bean supporting the prosecution off international crimes like genocide, like war crimes crimes against humanity for a very long time.

  • And it has enacted the so called principal off universal jurisdiction.

  • And this principle means that Germany can prosecute, uh, such crimes, international crimes, regardless, whether we're committed our against whom and this obviously applies to Syria, you have seen many hours.

  • I'm sure of many multiple videos of that terrible night in 2013 in ghouta, plus additional documentation as well.

  • Is there any chance that these crimes were committed by anyone outside of this regime or other than this regime?

  • No, I don't think so.

  • Because all evidence really point in the direction off the Assad regime, starting with the rockets which were used in that attack, and the launch sites, which were, uh, in fact close to the presidential palace.

  • Andi.

  • And even more important, the chemicals which were used sarin is very, very difficult to produce and even more difficult to use as a weapon.

  • And there had been no indication that the rebels would have had the capacity nor the access to such a chemicals.

  • You met survivors Peyman and Mohamed, who, of course, lost their eldest son in the ghouta attack.

  • Um, what keeps him going?

  • A man is heavily traumatized, and as we told him the report she still needs medication.

  • But on the day when visited her, she told me that she hadn't taken her medication because she said she wanted to be clear in her head when she was talking with us about thes thes atrocities.

  • And I think she and her husband more med.

  • They are keen, uh, and committed to, in their wish, to do their bit to help us had regime responsible.

  • And for them, every small step in direction to justice is an important one and this criminal complaint is definitely one of them.

  • Birgitta Shaka of D.

  • W investigative unit really appreciate that very powerful report.

a group of human rights organizations have filed criminal complaints here in Germany for two chemical weapons attacks carried out in Syria in 2013 and 2017.

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German authorities investigate Syria’s chemical warfare | DW News

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/11/29
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