Leaked evidence out of Syria reportedly shows that the Assad government was responsible for the “systematic killing” of around 11,000 detainees from March 2011 to this past August. Many of these victims are thought to have been tortured as well.
A report written by three former prosecutors at the criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Sierra Leone was released today to The Guardian and CNN.
The prosecutors examined thousands of Syrian government photographs and files recording the deaths, which was given to them by a defector known as “Caesar,” reportedly a photographer with the Syrian military police whose job it was to “take pictures of killed detainees.”
The photos depict the victims, mostly young men between 20 and 40 years-old, emaciated and displaying signs of torture, strangulation, and electrocution.
Caesar and the evidence he handed over was carefully examined by the team of prosecutors, who determined the defector to be a credible witness with no indications that he was either “sensational” or “partisan.”
It should be noted, however, that the report was ultimately funded by the anti-Assad Government of Qatar.
The report appears timed to coincide with this week’s UN-organised Geneva II peace conference on the Syrian conflict.
If the allegations that Assad’s regime engaged in “industrial-scale killing” prove to be true, it could lead to charges of war crimes by the international criminal court in The Hague. Such a case, however, would require a referral by the UN security council, which could be blocked by Russia, Syria’s ally.
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