The family of slain American journalist Marie Colvin has filed suit against the beleaguered Syrian government, accusing its leaders of deliberately targeting reporters in the country’s civil war.
A celebrated war correspondent, Colvin (pictured) was killed in a 2012 rocket attack in Homs, Syria.
This week her family sued the Syrian government in Washington, claiming that top aides to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad organized a campaign to kill journalists covering the war.
The government’s goal was “to surveil, target, and ultimately kill civilian journalists in order to silence local and international media as part of its effort to crush political opposition,” the lawsuit says.
The suit says the Assad regime organized the Central Crisis Management Cell, “a special war cabinet” tasked with stamping out dissent.
Acting on a tip from an informant, the Syrian military leadership ordered a rocket attack on a media center in Homs that housed Colvin and other journalists. Once the bombardment began, Colvin, who wrote for the Sunday Times of Britain, tried to escape with a French photographer but both were killed by a rocket that slammed into the building’s foyer.
According to the suit, U.S. courts have jurisdiction over the case under a law that grants special powers for an “extrajudicial killing” committed by a state sponsor of terrorism.
The U.S. has designated Syria a terrorism sponsor since 1979.
The Syrian civil war, which began in 2011, has taken hundreds of thousands of lives and created 4 million refugees, according to United Nations.