Does Europe's justice system ignore human rights criminals?

An Iranian man is on trial in Stockholm, accused of taking part in mass executions of political prisoners in his home country in 1988. He was arrested while on holiday in Sweden in 2019. The Swedish judiciary cites the fact that crimes against humanity can be prosecuted worldwide and do not have a statute of limitations. Commentators hope the indictment will set a precedent.

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Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Sweden leads the way

This kind of legal action is far too rare an occurrence in the EU, the Süddeutsche Zeitung laments:

“The Saudi crown prince, who systematically orders war crimes to be carried out in Yemen, owns a chateau in France where he spends the summer recovering from the exertions of flaying people. The Thai king, who has dissidents beaten up, tortured and imprisoned, maintains several residences in Bavaria, including the Grand Hotel Sonnenbichl in Garmisch. Iranian grandees come to Hanover for medical treatment. ... Europe rolls out the red carpet because money rules. There is nothing to prevent Europeans from bringing people who commit crimes against humanity to justice far more often in accordance with the universal jurisdiction principle. Sweden is proving that.”

Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

A warning to all the bloodstained dictators

The trial sends an important signal, praises Dagens Nyheter:

“Convictions do not make crimes go away. But every successful prosecution for human rights crimes is an important defence of human dignity. Moreover, the indictments send an important signal to today's bloodstained dictators and their henchmen that these crimes will not go unnoticed. This also applies to the current regime in Iran.”