Syrian Torture Investigations in Germany and Beyond: Breathing New Life into Universal Jurisdiction in Europe?
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Journal of International Criminal Justice 16 (1): 165–191 (März 2018)

The article discusses current developments in national prosecutions of international crimes committed in Syria and their potential to challenge international and national law for prosecuting these crimes. While most national authorities engaging in investigations and prosecutions of international crimes have so far employed a ‘no-safe-haven approach’, investigating and indicting suspects present on their territory, civil society organizations favour investigations against high-level perpetrators still in Syria, demanding state authorities follow a ‘global-enforcer approach’. The article discusses the approach taken by German authorities where universal jurisdiction legislations allows a more strategic approach for the prosecution of international crimes and where the prosecutorial strategy of ‘structural investigations’ sets a promising example of how states can balance the two aforementioned prosecutorial concepts and thus contribute substantially to the fight against impunity for international crimes committed in Syria.
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