Bard College Berlin Presents
Monday, November 11, 2019

Real Talk: Justice for Syria and Universal Jurisdiction in Germany - What Can be Done?

Grüner Salon, Volksbühne, Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin

Panel Discussion with Franziska Brantner, Hesham Moadamani,  Ameenah A. Sawwan and Andreas Schüller
Moderation: Christin Lüttich

A reality of life in Syria since 2011 is that anyone suspected of opposing the regime is at risk of arrest and arbitrary detention. This, alongside mortal danger from ongoing war, is among the reasons millions of refugees have fled the country. Thousands of people have died in custody in Syria’s torture prisons, and tens of thousands more have experienced torture. Many survivors of torture have sought refuge in Germany, and some are now fighting to achieve a measure of justice for the crimes committed against them, though their road towards accountability is legally and personally complex.

In Germany, cases are now being brought against individuals for crimes committed in Syria through the principle of universal jurisdiction. In March 2017, the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights together with 7 Syrian torture survivors as well as the Syrian lawyers Anwar al-Bunni (Syrian Center for Legal Studies and Research) and Mazen Darwish (Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Speech) submitted the first criminal complaint against six high-level officials of the Syrian Military Intelligence Service to the German Federal Prosecutor. The criminal complaint targets six officials known by name and further unknown officials of the Syrian Military Intelligence Service. The claimants were tortured or witnessed torture in the prisons of the intelligence services.

In this event, a panel of activists and experts will discuss the legal and non-legal steps that could be taken in Germany to further advocate for criminal accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity. What are the legal steps and what’s coming next for the perpetrators? The panel and participants will also discuss how other activities, including campaigning, awareness-raising, storytelling and advocacy can contribute to the struggle for justice in Syria.

Franziska Brantner, member of the German Bundestag, spokesperson for European Policy and Managing Director of the parliamentary group of Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen
Hesham Moadamani, Syrian activist living in Berlin, co-manager of the project “Campus Conversations” at Bard College Berlin, a place for students, locals, and refugees to discuss important issues and practice languages. Hesham offers educational walking tours through “Refugee Voices Tours,” which draw parallels between German and Syrian history and explain the so-called refugee crisis through personal experience.
Ameenah A. Sawwan, Syrian campaigner and activist, based in Berlin since 2016 and at Bard College Berlin since 2018. Ameenah is currently working for the advocacy group “The Syria Campaign” and is a member of the Syrian Women’s Political Movement.
Andreas Schüller, director of the International Crimes and Accountability program at the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights.

Moderated by Christin Lüttich, co-manager of “Adopt a Revolution”.

Date & time: Monday, November 11, 2019; from 7:00pm (doors open 6:30pm)
Venue: Grüner Salon, Volksbühne
Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin

Tickets: EUR 5 / 3; link to purchase>>

More information>>

Photo from a demonstration on the international day of the disappeared organized by The Syria Campaign and Adopt a revolution in front of the Russian Embassy in Berlin on August 31, 2019.  
Photo: Mohammed Abdullah (Artino)

Real Talk is a new series at Grüner Salon that renders visible the political discourse of the young, resistance-oriented, democratic and activist Middle-Eastern diaspora in Berlin and provides space for its debates. This series aims to make evident the transnational realities and struggles between ‘here’ and ‘there’; ‘then’ and ‘now’, differences which Nationalism seeks to deny and erase, and which reveal themselves in the Diasporas. The talks serve as a platform to explore the diaspora’s own thoughts and reactions to these realities. The series in the Grüner Salon aims to create a space where Syrian, Afghan, Yemen, Iraqi and other experts in various discursive and artistic discipline can discuss and perform their work.

The series is a cooperation between Bard College Berlin, the Volksbühne Berlin and the German Council on Foreign Relations. It offers a mix of lectures, short-films, panel discussions and performances discussing themes such as the struggle for survival of the civil society in the Middle East; the re-claiming of political agency; disappeared and missing prisoners; the fate of women in the revolution; the political dimension of the (post-)traumatic; the experience of statelessness; and other topics related to the diaspora.

Watch on YouTube:

Past events in this series:

December 10, 2019, Volksbühne
Real Talk: Couldn't They Be Allies? Political Diasporas and German Foreign/Cultural Policy

September 23, 2019, Volksbühne
Real Talk: On Changing Gender Relations in Yemen and Its European Diaspora

May 10, 2019, Volksbühne
Real Talk: On New Beginnings and Berlin’s Arab Exile Body

April 9, 2019, Volksbühne
Real Talk: Accommodating the Devil. The Syrian Civil Society’s Struggle for Survival

Contact information:  communications@berlin.bard.edu

Location: Grüner Salon, Volksbühne, Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin

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