Late one evening in January 2013, a group of men carrying Kalashnikov rifles approached another man. Their faces were hidden behind balaclavas and they smelled of alcohol. It was the height of the Syrian civil war, and the group of men were supporters of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. They arrested the man and handed him over to Syrian Air Force intelligence officials who detained and tortured him.

A Dutch court recently convicted one of those masked men involved in the arrest, known in court papers as Mustafa A., of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The verdict is the first time that a Dutch court has convicted a defendant who supported Assad’s regime during the civil war, and it is the latest example of how courts across Europe are playing an active role in holding perpetrators of atrocity crimes to account.

Joining the show to discuss the case and its implications are Fritz Streiff and Hope Rikkelman. Fritz and Hope work with The Nuhanovic Foundation, a nonprofit organization which helps to secure justice and reparations for civilian victims of war and conflict. The Foundation played an active role in this case.

Listen to the episode by clicking below.

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