POLICY AND PRACTICE - Accountability for Syria: the search for justice in exile

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If victors write history, and Bashar al-Assad is consolidating his grip on Syria after nearly a decade of civil war, is there any hope of justice for victims of state-sponsored abuse in Syria? Russia and China have blocked efforts to set up an international tribunal for Syria, so Syrians in exile have been searching for ways to use national laws, and the principle of universal jurisidiction to pursue accountability. Last year Germany arrested two Syrian men and charged them with committing crimes against humanity. When they go on trial this year, it will be the world's first prosecution for state-backed torture in Syria. Activists have also filed cases in Norway, Sweden and Austria, and international groups are stockpiling evidence in the hope of future court cases. But with the top members of Assad’s government safely ensconced in Damascus, how much impact can these cases have? About the speaker: Emma Graham-Harrison is senior international affairs correspondent for the Guardian and Observer. She has covered conflicts, political crises, energy and the environment in more than 40 countries across five continents, and was based in China, Afghanistan and Spain for over a decade, before returning to London to take up her current roving role. She graduated from Oxford with a first class degree in Chinese Studies, and speaks Mandarin and Spanish. Awards include Foreign Reporter of the Year at the 2017 British Press Awards; her investigative work on the Cambridge Analytica investigations was also recognised at the British Press Awards and by the London Press Club.

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