Former Algerian Minister of Defense Khaled Nezzar arrested in Switzerland
Former Algerian Minister of Defense, Khaled Nezzar, is set to stand trial in Switzerland on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The prospect of this trial rekindles hope for justice for the victims of the Algerian civil war. This historic case will feature the highest-ranking military official ever to be charged with such crimes under the principle of universal jurisdiction. For a detailed account and further updates on this significant legal proceeding, please refer to the report by TRIAL International and visit this link.
» The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) filed an indictment against Khaled Nezzar with the Federal Criminal Court (FCC) on 28 August 2023. The charges against the former Algerian general are numerous, as he is accused of participating in the war crimes of torture, inhuman treatment, arbitrary detention and conviction, as well as murders as crimes against humanity, which took place between January 1992 and January 1994, during the early years of the civil war. The conflict between the Algerian government and various armed Islamist groups resulted in almost 200,000 missing and dead people, and left countless victims of torture, sexual violence and other grave violations, committed by both the Algerian army and the armed groups. Since an amnesty law in Algeria provides complete impunity for atrocities committed by all parties to the conflict, the upcoming trial marks a historic step in the fight against impunity for crimes committed during the “Black Decade”. »
The situation regarding Khaled Nezzar and his forthcoming trial in Switzerland is a crucial event in international human rights and justice. Here’s a summary of the key points:
Khaled Nezzar’s Trial in Switzerland: Key Points
- Who? Khaled Nezzar, the former Algerian Minister of Defense, will face trial in Switzerland.
- Charges: He’s charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity, including torture, inhuman treatment, arbitrary detention and conviction, and murders. These acts are alleged to have occurred between January 1992 and January 1994 during the early phase of the Algerian civil war.
- Context: The Algerian civil war (1991-2002) saw significant conflict between the Algerian government and various armed Islamist factions. The resulting toll was near 200,000 missing or dead individuals and countless victims of severe human rights violations. Both the military and armed groups committed grave offenses.
- Impunity in Algeria: An amnesty law in Algeria offers impunity for atrocities committed by all parties during the war. This makes the upcoming trial in Switzerland exceptionally significant as it represents a fight against this impunity, especially concerning the grave violations during the « Black Decade. »
- Legal Proceedings: TRIAL International filed a criminal complaint against Nezzar in 2011. His health has declined during the near twelve-year proceedings, urging the necessity for a swift trial.
- Challenges: Victims faced significant obstacles in their quest for justice. Some withdrew complaints due to governmental pressure, while others passed away or went missing, casting doubt on their safety.
- Universal Jurisdiction: The trial is possible due to the principle of universal jurisdiction, enabling states to investigate and prosecute those suspected of committing international crimes, regardless of where these crimes took place or the nationality of those involved. Nezzar will be the highest-ranking military official ever tried under this principle.
- Significance: This trial is particularly monumental because no other prosecution related to the « Black Decade » will occur worldwide. This is the sole opportunity for victims of the Algerian civil war to seek justice.
The case represents a critical juncture in the realm of international justice and is a testament to the persistence and resilience of victims and human rights organizations working towards accountability.
Source: TRIAL International.
https://trialinternational.org/latest-post/11-years-after-his-arrest-in-geneva-the-procedure-against-khaled-nezzar-is-still-ongoing-in-switzerland/ ( 30.08.2023)
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