Destroyed tanks in Syria


Shape of Syria

Since 2011, Syria has been the stage for one of the bloodiest armed conflicts in contemporary history. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, and millions were either internally displaced or were forced to seek refuge in other countries. Part of a larger pattern of conflict-related violations amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity, has been the pillage of cultural artifacts.

Young men digging for antiquities

Looted Antiquities

In 2020, The Docket launched a multi-country investigation tracking the smuggling of antiquities from Syria and other countries in the region into European markets and the United States via international networks that have been on the radar of law enforcement agencies for decades.

Tens of thousands of items have been pillaged from archaeological sites in Syria and at least 40,635 items have been looted from museums.

Everyone in court stands as a verdict in first Syria torture trial is issued

In January 2022, the world’s first criminal trial of former Syrian intelligence officers ended with a guilty verdict in the Higher Regional Court of Koblenz in Germany.

Holding such a trial in Germany was possible thanks to the principle of universal jurisdiction, which allows countries to prosecute the most serious crimes regardless of where they have been committed and regardless of the perpetrator’s nationality. You can learn more about Universal Jurisdiction by using our Justice Beyond Borders mapping tool:

German court issues verdict in first Syria torture trial (Thomas Lohnes/Pool via REUTERS)