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Justice for Syria? Norway’s role in fighting war crimes

May 24, 2022 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

In November 2019, a group of Syrian plaintiffs filed criminal complaints with Norwegian police and asked for investigations of named heads of Syrian intelligence services and other institutions responsible for torture and other grave abuses.

Similar cases have been filed in Sweden, Germany, France and Austria.

In January 2022, a court in the German town of Koblenz sentenced a former Syrian intelligence officer to life in prison for crimes against humanity.
Based on the trial in Germany, this panel will discuss the use of universal jurisdiction as a legal mechanism to fight war crimes in Syria. We will ask politicians, International law experts, activists, and victims’ families how Norwegian authorities can contribute to fighting impunity in Syria.
This panel is a collaboration between Masahat, Norwegian Helsinki Committee and The Syria Campaign.


Wafa Mustafa

Wafa Mustafa is an activist, journalist, and a survivor of detention. Mustafa comes from Masyaf, a city in the Hama Governorate, western Syria. She left the country on 9 July 2013, exactly a week after her father was forcibly disappeared by the regime in Damascus. She moved to Turkey and began reporting on Syria for various media outlets. In 2016, she moved to Germany and continued her interrupted studies in Berlin where she studied Arts and Aesthetics at Bard College and graduated in Spring 2020. Like many other families, Wafa doesn’t know what has happened to her father, Ali Mustafa. He was arrested once before in August 2011 due to his humanitarian efforts to help internally displaced people fleeing from Hama city to Masyaf. In her advocacy, Mustafa covers the impact of detention on young girls and women and families.

Alia Malek

Alia Malek is the author of The Home That Was Our Country: A Memoir of Syria (2017) and A Country Called Amreeka: US History Re-Told Through Arab American Lives (2009). She edited Patriot Acts: Narratives of Post 9/11 Injustices (2011) and edited and co-conceived EUROPA أوروپا : An Illustrated Introduction to Europe for Migrants and Refugees (2016). Her article on the Koblenz trial, “How a Syrian War Criminal Was Brought to Justice — in Germany,” was published on January 25th in the New York Times Magazine.She directs the international reporting concentration at the Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY and is a former civil rights attorney.

Aleksandra Sidorenko

Aleksandra is Senior Advisor at the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. She holds a master’s degree in law from the University of Oslo and has previous legal education from the American University in Central Asia. She has LL.M. in Public International Law and LL.M. in Information and Communication Technology Law. She is specialized in international criminal law. Earlier, Aleksandra worked at the Norwegian Center for Human Rights. She serves as a board member of the NGO Initiative International Criminal Law and Human Rights” (Poland) and advisor at Case Matrix Network (Belgium).


May 24, 2022
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Event Category:


Mariboes gate 8
Oslo, 0183 Norway
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The Norwegian Helsinki Committee
The Syria Campaign