Syrian opposition figure calls for justice against Assad

Syrian opposition figure calls for justice against Assad
Haitham al-Maleh says Syrian president and those who have enabled his crimes must be brought to justice, as Russia attempt to bring both sides together for talks.
2 min read
21 January, 2015
Maleh said Russia and Iran would be brought to the justice [AFP/Getty]

A member of the opposition Syrian National Council has said the entire regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad must be removed before the country finally sees peace.

Haitham al-Maleh, a former Syrian judge and well-known human rights activist, told al-Araby al-Jadeed that Assad's resignation would not be enough to end the conflict and there could be "no peace without justice".

"Assad is criminal number one and within the regime there are many high-ranking officials and their aides we will not hesitate to prosecute," he said while speaking via telephone from Brussels.

Maleh, who was imprisoned by the Syrian regime under both Hafez and Bashar al-Assad, said that Russia and Iran would also answer for its involvement in the Assad regime.

"The day will come when we take Russia and Iran to the International Court of Justice in the Hague for their crimes against the Syrian people and their support for Bashar al-Assad's criminal regime."

     Assad is criminal number one and within the regime there are many high-ranking officials we will not hesitate to prosecute.

His comments come as Russia attempts to bring the regime and exiled opposition leaders together for peace talks in Moscow. As with previous attempts, however, the opposition wants Assad's removal as a precondition, a demand the regime will not countenance.

Assad last Thursday said the regime would not discuss the subject of a transfer of power and that the fundamental basis for the talks would be "a unified Syria, fighting terrorist groups and supporting the army".

"Syrians will not forget about Russia’s shameful role," Maleh continued. Moscow vetoed resolutions that would have referred the mass killings in Syria committed by the regime and some opposition factions to the International Criminal Court.

"If Russia hadn't supported Asad he would have been wiped out in the first year of the revolution."

Russia has used its veto four times in the UN to block action against the Syrian regime for the crimes and massacres it is been accused of committing.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.