Head of the Syrian bar, Nizar Skeif, said that the ruling by a federal court in Washington DC that requires the Syrian government to pay 302 million dollars in compensation for the death of the American journalist Marie Colvin had “no legal value” and was “a distinctively political decision.”
Lawyer Mahmoud Merai,who is the General Secretary of the Syrian Democratic Front (SDF), Syria’s pro-government internal opposition, pointed to the possibility of families of victims from Syria raising lawsuits related to compensation and other penalties in European countries, to hold accountable those responsible for crimes against Syrian civilians.
In a statment to Al-Watan, Skeif described the American ruling as, “illegal, because it is not based on legal thought, and is a distinctively political decision and a form of political pressure. It is political and legal support and backing for terrorists.”
Skeif said that the American journalist, “had not entered Syria with the knowledge of the authorities who must grant her permission. She was in an area populated by American-backed terrorists, and therefore this decision is incorrect and illegal in terms of jurisdiction and mandate. If there is a dispute of this type, it is subject to the spatial jurisdiction clause—that is, the case must be heard in country where the crime was committed and under the authority of the Syrian national judiciary.”
Skeif noted that the United States was searching for a right that had no basis, for a journalist who had violated all Syrian national laws and customs and international laws and was in an area controlled by terrorists.
Skeif questioned their evidence that the Syrian state was responsible for her death, when she supported the terrorists and was in a hotspot controlled by terrorists, “so why couldn’t the terrorists themselves be those who killed her?”
Skeif added, “Who will demand rights for Syria’s martyrs and the rights of the Syrian state after the systematic destruction by the United States and others to Syrian infrastructure?
He stressed the need for the Ministry of Justice to be given the opportunity to represent itself and mount a defence of the accusations.
After Skeif described the ruling as, “a dangerous legal precedent which has never occurred in the history of the world’s judiciary,” he stressed that this ruling and others had been taken to steal Syrian national assets, “because they are a bunch of thieves, and America wants to steal the wealth of Syrians.” He called for an “amendment to the Terrorism Law” and for, “the Syrian courts to award compensation, because tens of thousands of Syrians had been affected.”
Skeif closed by stressing the, “danger of the American legal action, which if it is taken will lead to the accumulation of many issues, and therefore must be resisted. The Lawyer’s Syndicate (The Syrian Bar) is ready to offer its skills for discussion and to examine this issue thoroughly and to fight it systematically, because it is an unprecedented decision.”
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.