الرئيسية / Statement of chemical killings of the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings

Statement of chemical killings of the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings

25 April 2017

Mr Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro

Chairperson – Independent International Commission of

Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

United Nations Office at Geneva

8-14, avenue de la Paix

1211 Geneva 10

BY EMAIL:     coisyria@ohchr.org, camassagee@ohchr.org

Copy to:        Syria monitoring team

Re:                  Syria – Extrajudicial executions of seven civilians during military raid in Kafr Al Tun, Hama governorate, in February 2012

Alk ref:            2016-268-269-270-272-277; 2017-155-156

Mr Chairperson,

We write to bring to your attention the extrajudicial killing on discriminatory grounds of seven civilians by members of the Syrian security forces and the “Shabiha”, a pro-Assad militia, during the military raids in the village of Kafr Al Tun, Hama governorate, in late February 2012. We refer to:

Mr Mohammad Al Asaad (محمد الأسعد), born in 1982, was a farmer and an employee in Hama municipality. He was married and owned Family card no. 233463 issued in Hama. He used to live near Al Hikmah school in Kafr Al Tun village, Hama governorate, Syria. He is the brother of Mr Firass Al Asaad and a relative of Messrs Mohammed Al Asaad and Ahmed Al Asaad.

Mr Firas Al Asaad (فراس الأسعد), born in 1986, was an employee in cartoon factory. He was married and owned Family card no. 78412 issued in Hama. He used to live near Al Hikmah school in Kafr al-Tun village, in Hama governorate, Syria. He is the brother of Mr Mohammad Al Asaad and a relative of Messrs Mohammed Al Asaad and Ahmed Al Asaad.

Mr Mohammed Al Asaad (محمد الأسعد), born in 1969, was a farmer. He was married and owned Family card no. 387697 issued in Hama. He used to live near Al Hikmah school in Kafr Al Tun village, in Hama governorate, Syria. He is the brother of Mr Ahmed Al Asaad and a relative of Messrs Mohammad Al Asaad and Firas Al Asaad.

Mr Ahmad Al Asaad (أحمد الأسعد), born in 1967, was a farmer. He was married and owned Family card no. 474667 issued in Hama. He used to live near Al Hikmah school in Kafr Al Tun village, in Hama governorate. He is the brother of Mr Mohammed Al Asaad and a relative of Messrs Mohammad Al Asaad and Firas Al Asaad.

Mr Abdel Nasser Al Khairo (عبدالناصر الخيرو), born in 1951, was a farmer. He was married and owned National ID Card No. 05200067582. He used to live in Al Shir village, near the crossroad of Subin village and the road of Hama-Mahardah, Mahardah Subdistrict in Hama Governorate, Syria. He does not have any family ties with the above mentioned individuals.

Mr Radwan Mahmoud Al Hussein (رضوان محمود الحسين), born in 1955, was the local sheriff of Subin village. He is disabled as he lost his hand when was working in a scutcher in a cotton factory. He was married and used to live in Subin village.

Mr Moaaz Radwan Al Hussein (معاذ رضوان الحسين), born in 1986, was an car electrician. He was married and used to live in Subin village. He is the son of Mr Radwan Al Hussein.

Background

In the context of the Syrian conflict, between February 2012 and May 2013, the Syrian military forces carried out a “counter-terrorism” operation in the village of Kafr Al Tun with shelling and ground operations. Accompanied by the “Shabiha”, a pro-Assad militia,[1] the military forces carried out raids in Kafr Al Tun and neighbouring villages. It is reported that during these raids, civilians were arbitrarily arrested on sectarian grounds, many of them subsequently disappeared,[2] while more than 20 civilians, mostly belonging to the same family were executed on 23 February 2012.[3]

It is within this context that the cases of summary execution here at stake took place.

Extrajudicial killings

Due to the military operation in Kafr Al Tun, Messrs Al Asaad left their village to find shelter in the neighbouring Subin. There, they were hosted by the local sheriff, Mr Radwan Al Hussein.

On 23 February 2012, Syrian security forces comprising members of the 7th division of the army, headed by the major general Wajih Al Mahmoud and based in Hama military airport, the Air Force Intelligence, the Military Intelligence Division – also known as “Military Security” – and some other members of the “Shabiha”, raided the village of Subin. At around 10 am that day, they stormed into Mr Al Hussein’s house and arrested all the individuals in the house, before bringing them to a car wash place. According to Mr Al Hussein’s wife, who survived the massacre, the security forces identified them as Sunni Muslims, and shot them all, leaving Messrs Mohamad, Firas, Mohamed and Ahmad Al Asaad, as well as Mr Radwan and his son Mr Moaaz Al Hussein dead.[4]

Following the incursions in Kafr Al Tun and Subin village, on 27 February 2012, the same security services raided Shir village.

A group 13 armed men belonging to the above mentioned forces, accompanied by the “Shabiha” militias, some in military uniforms, other in civilian clothes, broke into Mr Al Khairo’s house. Mr Al Khairo’s wife and sister-in-law, reported that the security agents explicitly identified him as Sunni, destroyed Mr Al Khairo’s belongings and furniture, before dragging him outside where they shot him dead.

Requests

In light of the above information, we submit that these cases amount to summary executions for which the Syrian authorities are responsible, in violation of their obligations stemming from customary international humanitarian law,[5] as well as contained in article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Syria ratified in 1969. We recall that the executions carried out on discriminatory grounds in areas perceived as supporting the opposition also amounts to a form of collective punishment.

Subsequently, we request your intervention to urge the Syrian authorities to open prompt, transparent and independent investigations into these cases and to prosecute and punish all those responsible for the acts of summary executions of the abovementioned victims.

We further ask you to remind the Syrian authorities of their obligations to respect and guarantee human rights and fundamental freedoms in all circumstances, in particular the right to life, and to put an end to the systematic violations of international humanitarian law and human rights by all parties involved in the hostilities, which could amount to crimes against humanity.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter. Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of any assistance.

Yours faithfully,

Me Rachid Mesli                                              Me Isa Suleiman

Legal Director, Alkarama                         President, Human Rights Guardians

[1] BBC News, Syria unrest: Who are the shabiha?, 29 May 2012, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-14482968 (accessed on 11 April 2017).

[2] Alkarama, Syria: Five Men From the Same Village Disappeared Following Abduction by the Military Intelligence, 19 July 2016, https://www.alkarama.org/en/articles/syria-five-men-same-village-disappeared-following-abduction-military-intelligence and Alkarama, Syria: Six Men from the Same Village Disappeared Following Abduction by the Air Force Intelligenece,  https://www.alkarama.org/en/articles/syria-six-men-same-village-disappeared-following-abduction-air-force-intelligence (both accessed on 11 April 2017).

[3] http://awda-dawa.com/Pages/Articles/Default.aspx?id=7898 (accessed on 11 April 2017).

[4] This video shows Mr Al Hussein https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYGEuBW3LrM (accessed on 24 April 2017).

[5] International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Rule 98, Violence to Life, Customary International Humanitarian Law Database, https://ihl-databases.icrc.org/customary-ihl/eng/docs/v1_rul_rule89 (accessed on 11 April 2017).