Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers welcomes the decision of the War Crimes Unit of the UK Metropolitan Police Service Counter-Terrorism Command (SO15) to open an investigation against Asma al-Assad following our submissions to them.
The legal team at Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers has been investigating this matter for a number of months and has submitted two confidential filings with the War Crimes Unit. The filings allege incitement and encouragement. The conflict in Syria is now in its tenth year. The Syrian people who have fought for nothing more than freedom and dignity have been subjugated and denigrated now seek justice. It is important to hold not only those who carry out these horrific crimes accountable but also those who promote, incite, encourage and glorify such acts. It is alleged that one of those influential persons who is encouraged or incited acts of terrorism in Syria is the First Lady, Asma Al-Assad.
We are seeking to ensure that the process of truth and justice is meted out equally to all persons irrespective of status and standing. This is an important step in holding senior political officials accountable for their acts and ensuring that a State, through an independent and impartial legal process, takes responsibility for the acts of its own nationals.
As the matter is under review by the appropriate authorities, and wishing to maintain the integrity and confidentiality of such investigations, it would not be appropriate to comment on the specific allegations or the evidence that supports those allegations, however, as the subject is a British national it is important that she faces prosecution if the evidence supports the allegation and not merely stripped of her citizenship. This is an important process, and it is only right that justice is served before an English Court. We recognise that it would be politically expedient to merely strip any person accused of their citizenship. That will not serve the interests of the hundreds of thousands of civilian victims to the ten-year conflict. Any removal of citizenship should only come after facing a trial before an English Court where the process will be independent and impartial and will look solely at the evidence irrespective of any political considerations.
You can read more about the issue in these media reports:
- Al Jazeera:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/3/14/syrias-asma-al-assad-faces-war-crime-allegations-in-uk - Sky News: https://news.sky.com/story/mets-war-crimes-unit-examining-allegations-against-asma-al-assad-wife-of-syrian-president-12245430 - The Guardian:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/mar/14/asma-al-assad-syria-risks-british-citizenship-loss-possible-terror-charges - The Independent: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/syria-first-lady-terrorism-met-police-b1816945.html - Arab News: https://www.arabnews.com/node/1825001/middle-east
For more information you can read our press release here.