Crimes against humanity: the ongoing case against Qosmos at the Paris High Court

In the interest of clarity, I wish to provide a very brief overview of the case against the French company Qosmos as it stands today

The Swedish author Mattias Beijmo has published a book entitled "They Can’t Stop Us", about the repression operated by the regime of Bachar El-Assad against the people of Syria thanks to the use of mass surveillance and interception technology provided by western companies. 

A brief introduction to the book can be found here :

The Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter (Today's News) published an article dated 18.10.2018 by the journalist Josef Svenberg, and I have provided an English translation of this article in an introductory blog posting today, which you can read here : 


In the interest of clarity, I wish to provide a very brief overview of the case against Qosmos as it stands today:

Qosmos is currently being investigated by the Crimes against humanity courts of Paris, for its involvement in the ASFADOR programme, specially designed to provide mass surveillance and interception capability to the Assad regime of Syria. 

Following a complaint brought against Qosmos by the International Federation of Human Rights, a preliminary inquiry was opened in July 2012, and carried out by the Research Section of the Gendarmerie de Paris. After 20 months of preliminary enquiry, a full judicial investigation was brought against Qosmos in April 2014 by the Crimes against humanity division of the Paris High Court, for "complicity to torture". 

After a year of investigation, the judges decided, in April 2015, to place Qosmos under the intermediary status of "témoin assisté". This status is intermediate between being investigated for alleged crimes and being formally charged for crimes. This status may lead to full formal charges, but not necessarily. What it does mean is that there are elements solid enough against Qosmos to justify the ongoing procedure, and to justify its continuance under this specific procedural regime. 


Following Qosmos being placed under this intermediary status of "assisted witness", in April 2015, the International Federation of Human Rights issued a formal statement.

Here it is:  

After being questioned by the investigative judge of the specialised unit for war crimes and crimes against humanity at the Paris Court, the technology company QOSMOS was declared an "assisted witness" for its possible complicity -in acts of torture committed in Syria.

This decision justifies our organisation’s actions in filing a complaint in July 2012,” stated Patrick Baudouin, FIDH Honorary President.

The term "assisted witness," which can precede a formal indictment, may be applied to any person accused by a witness, or who evidence indicates may have been complicit, acted as perpetrator or as an accomplice in the crimes being examined by the investigative judge

We hope that, with this new development, the inquiry will shed light on the conditions that allowed for the installation of a large-scale communications surveillance system benefitting the criminal regime of Bachar el-Assad, which used the system to harm the Syrian people,”said Michel Tubiana, LDH Honorary President.

This decision is part of the judicial investigation that was opened following the complaint filed by FIDH and LDH denouncing the participation of the French company, QOSMOS, in the installation of a large-scale electronic communication surveillance system for the Bachar el-Assad regime which it used to track, torture, and execute its opponents.

Our organisations also filed a complaint against Amesys for participating in similar activities in Libya during Muammar Gaddafi’s rule. A judicial inquiry into this affair is currently being carried out by the specialised unit for war crimes and crimes against humanity of the of the Paris Court. We hope that the proceedings will progress more rapidly, especially as five Libyan victims, all civil parties in the case, were heard by the investigative judge in 2013.


The case against Qosmos for "complicity to torture" is still ongoing today at the Crimes against humanity division of the Paris High courts. 


The case has not been closed. 



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