Germany

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Refugees arriving on the Greek island of Lesbos in September 2015 (Photo: Flickr/Ben White - CAFOD)
08 March 2016 by Stephanie van den Berg, The Hague (The Netherlands)

Parallel to calls for the establishment of an international tribunal to address alleged war crimes committed in Syria [IJT-169], many European countries say they have stepped up screening procedures to weed out possible war criminals amid the influx of Syrian refugees. The Netherlands, which has been somewhat of a pioneer in this regard, last week announced that in 2015 they denied asylum to 10 Syrian nationals because they are suspected of committing war crimes. But past experience points to a wide gap between identifying potential perpetrators and actually bringing them to justice.

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24 September 2014 by Stephanie van den Berg

Despite successes, national war crimes units still rely too heavily on local counterparts, says a Human Rights Watch report comparing three EU members that use universal jurisdiction to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity. For the 109-page report ‘The long arm of justice’, Leslie Haskell looked at how war crimes units in the Netherlands, Germany and France operated and what could be learnt from them. HRW chose the Netherlands for having the oldest and most robust unit, and France and Germany for having units less than five years old.