On the hunt for Syrian war criminals hiding out in Europe
23 January 2022 | 4:21 pm
On January 13, in the first European trial against a high-ranking Syrian regime official, a former senior intelligence officer was sentenced to life in prison in Germany for crimes against humanity. Former head of interrogation at a detention centre in Damascus, Anwar Raslan was found guilty on 4,000 counts of torture and the murder of 27 detainees, less than a year after one of his subordinates was convicted by the same German court. It’s been a long road to justice for victims and their lawyers tracking down former torturers who have settled in Europe since 2013.
When French voters cast their ballots in the April 24 presidential run-off, the result will be watched well beyond our borders. For now, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen are serving up opposing visions of France's place on the world stage. He is for ratcheting up concerted EU sanctions against Vladimir Putin, while she is against any oil or gas embargo.
The past few days have delivered more reports of atrocities committed by the Russian military in Ukraine: women and girls raped, civilians locked up and shot, plus reports of chemical weapons being deployed in Mariupol. Calls continue for more to be done to stop Russian President Vladimir Putin. In the EU, leaders have condemned the Kremlin, decrying the attacks as "war crimes".
Spain’s Alejandro Sanchez, Germany’s Marie-Thérèse Kaiser and Italy’s Fabrizio Busnengo all have two things in common: They are under 35 and are positioning their respective far-right political parties at the gates of power. Each of them shrugs off the dark side of their countries’ history, campaigning with gusto for parties that are less than a decade old: Vox in Spain, Germany's Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) and Brothers of Italy. Our correspondents Sarah Morris, Céline Schmitt, Armelle Exposito, Anne Mailliet, Louise Malnoy and Lorenza Pensa report on the new faces of the far right in Europe.
Russian energy giant Gazprom said it would halt gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria, raising concerns that Moscow could use energy supplies as blackmail over the conflict in Ukraine.
The rest of Europe may not be at war, but is it ready for the sacrifices of a wartime economy? The Kremlin shutting the gas tap on Bulgaria and Poland may be but a prelude to a brutally swift transition away from Russian gas and oil. Deals will be dropped, money will be lost.
This week, we take a special in-depth look at the Yarmouk camp on the outskirts of the Syrian capital Damascus. It was once home to the largest concentration of Palestinian refugees. During the Syrian civil war, Yarmouk was placed under a brutal siege from 2013 to 2015, leading it to be described as the "worst place on Earth". We speak to filmmaker Abdallah Al-Khatib, who chronicled this period in his documentary "Little Palestine (Diary of a Siege)".
Europe is at a crossroads. Amid the war in Ukraine, can the continent wean itself off Russian gas? An energy transition is underway, but the alternatives could lock countries into dirty fossil fuels for years to come. We take a closer look in this edition of Down to Earth.
The leaders of Serbia and Kosovo met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin. Leaders voiced optimism at the prospect of both joining the European Union.
A select group of citizens of the EU has gathered multiple times since last May to discuss what the bloc should look like in the years ahead. But implementing some of the ideas would mean overhauling how the EU works.
French President Emmanuel Macron and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen voiced support for rewriting the bloc's treaties during a conference on the EU's future that was dominated by the war in Ukraine.
Europe wants to build stronger ties with Africa but several issues between the two remain unresolved. While the African continent is hoping for more trust and collaboration, Europe remains uncompromising with its demands. What will it take to reset the relationship?
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