Former Jaysh al-Islam leader to be prosecuted in France for war crimes

PARIS — France’s judiciary has made a significant decision to prosecute Majdi Nema, also known as Islam Alloush, the former leader of the Syrian armed group Jaysh al-Islam. He is accused of perpetrating numerous war crimes during his time in Syria.

The charges against Nema include war crimes, torture, and complicity in the enforced disappearances of political activists and human rights figures. Among the victims are Razan Zaitouna, a prominent human rights lawyer, Wael Hamadah, a defender of human rights, as well as their colleagues, Samira al-Khalil, a political activist, and Nazem al-Hammadi, a human rights lawyer — all of whom disappeared in 2013 under his leadership.

During his tenure with Jaysh al-Islam, Nema was also involved in inciting crimes of torture and the recruitment of minors, which are grave violations of international law constituting war crimes. These acts occurred during the group’s control over the Eastern Ghouta region from 2012 to 2018.

The decision to prosecute Nema has been met with appreciation by various human rights organizations, including the League of Human Rights, the International Federation for Human Rights, and the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression. They believe that this trial will shed light on the fate of symbolic figures in the Syrian popular movement and expose the atrocities committed against civilians in Eastern Ghouta.

Clemens Bektarte, the international federal lawyer for human rights and the civil parties involved in the case, expressed that this crucial decision is the result of years of effort in seeking justice for the crimes committed by Jaysh al-Islam in Syria during that period.