War crimes victims lead Dutch police to alleged Afghan war criminal

12 November 2015 by Benjamin Duerr, The Hague (The Netherlands)

In an extraordinary case testing the boundaries of universal jurisdiction and refugee law, an alleged war criminal of Afghan origin who had acquired Dutch nationality has been arrested in the Netherlands at the initiative of victims.

 

A sign marks the entrance of the asylum application centre of the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service (Photo: Flickr/directie_voorlichting_venj)
Image caption: 
A sign marks the entrance of the asylum application centre of the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service (Photo: Flickr/directie_voorlichting_venj)

Sadeq Alamyar, a 64-year-old former Afghan army commander-turned-Dutch national, was arrested in October. Dutch prosecutors accuse him of war crimes allegedly committed in 1979.

According to the Dutch Public Prosecution Service, Alamyar commanded the 444th commando unit which cracked down hard on civilian populations following attacks by rebel Mujahideen fighters. The allegations relate to an incident in April 1979 when troops under his alleged command raided houses in and around Kerala, the capital of Kunar province in north-eastern Afghanistan. During the attack, “large numbers” of boys and men were executed or taken away to be killed, the prosecution says.

Even though the Kerala massacre is well documented by both the media and human rights observers, Alamyar would be the first person so held accountable, wrote Kate Clark for the Afghanistan Analysts Network.

Criminal complaint

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