Warning: Graphic tragic images which viewers might find painful to watch
We thought it was bad, terribly bad, nightmarishly bad, absolutely unequivocally bad, but not this bad, O God, no, not this bad….I think we should all be treated for shock. I close my eyes and I see nothing but pitiful emaciated skeletons crying: Eli, Eli, why have you forsaken me? Alisar
Syria war crimes’ evidence
Editor’s note: Read this story and more on CNN.Arabic
A team of internationally renowned war crimes prosecutors and forensic experts has found “direct evidence” of “systematic torture and killing” by the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, the lawyers on the team say in a new report.
Their report, based on thousands of photographs of dead bodies of alleged detainees killed in Syrian government custody, would stand up in an international criminal tribunal, the group says.
CNN’s “Amanpour” was given the report in a joint exclusive with The Guardian newspaper.
“This is a smoking gun,” said David Crane, one of the report’s authors. “Any prosecutor would like this kind of evidence — the photos and the process. This is direct evidence of the regime’s killing machine.”
Crane, the first chief prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, indicted former Liberian President Charles Taylor for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Taylor went on to become the first former head of state convicted of war crimes since World War II. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison.
CNN cannot independently confirm the authenticity of the photographs, documents and testimony referenced in the report, and is relying on the conclusions of the team behind it, which includes international criminal prosecutors, a forensic pathologist, an anthropologist and an expert in digital imaging.
How will Syria react to torture allegations?
The bodies in the photos showed signs of starvation, brutal beatings, strangulation, and other forms of torture and killing, according to the report.
In a group of photos of 150 individuals examined in detail by the experts, 62% of the bodies showed emaciation — severely low body weight with a hollow appearance indicating starvation. The majority of all of the victims were men most likely aged 20-40.
A complex numbering system was also used to catalog the corpses, with only the relevant intelligence service knowing the identities of the corpses. It was an effort, the report says, to keep track of which security service was responsible for the death, and then later to provide false documentation that the person had died in a hospital.
One of the three lawyers who authored the report — Sir Desmond de Silva, the former chief prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone — likened the images to those of Holocaust survivors.
The emaciated bodies were the product of starvation as a method of torture, “reminiscent of the pictures of those [who] were found still alive in the Nazi death camps after World War II,” he said in a CNN interview.
“This evidence could underpin a charge of crimes against humanity — without any shadow of a doubt,” de Silva told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. “Of course, it’s not for us to make a decision. All we can do is evaluate the evidence and say this evidence is capable of being accepted by a tribunal as genuine.”
Throughout the civil war in Syria, al-Assad’s regime has denied accusations of human rights abuses and blamed “terrorists” for the deadly violence.
The report draws its evidence from the testimony of a Syrian government defector codenamed “Caesar” and almost 27,000 photographs he provided; in all 55,000 such images were brought out of the country.
According to the report, Caesar worked as photographer in the military police. Once the war broke out, his work consisted entirely of documenting “killed detainees.”
He claimed to have photographed as many as 50 bodies a day.
At one point he took the unusual step of photographing a group of bodies to show that it “looked like a slaughterhouse,” according to the report.
The fact that all the bodies were photographed, the report’s authors say, strongly suggests that “the killings were systematic, ordered, and directed from above.”
“It’s a callous, industrial machine grinding its citizens,” Crane said to CNN. “It is industrial age mass killing.”
The killings may have been so thoroughly documented as a way of proving each person’s death without allowing the deceased’s family to see the body, the report suggests. Also, it may have been aimed at proving that “orders to execute individuals had been carried out.”
It is also possible that, far from being a systematic plan to document human rights abuses, the photographing was simply the way it had always been done — a little-thought-out continuation of a long-time practice.
The report was authored by de Silva, Crane, and Professor Sir Geoffrey Nice, former lead prosecutor against former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.
Its release comes just days ahead of the Geneva II conference, the latest push for a diplomatic solution to Syria’s bloody civil war.
The lawyers were hired to write the report by the British law firm Carter-Ruck, which in turn was funded by the Government of Qatar, de Silva told Amanpour.
“Ultimately, the validity of our conclusions turn on the integrity of the people involved,” he said. “We, the team, were very conscious of the fact there are competing interests in the Syrian crisis — both national and international. We were very conscious of that.”
“We approached our task with a certain amount of skepticism, bearing that in mind.”
CNN was referred to Carter-Ruck, and this report, by a Qatari government official, and a CNN producer met in the Qatari capital Doha with the report’s authors.
Mountains of data
The report says “Caesar” brought from Syria photographs of thousands of people who had been killed, he says, by the regime.
The lawyers and the three forensics experts with whom they worked were given 26,948 images on a laptop computer. They, in turn, did a “formal analysis” of images of 835 and then a much more detailed examination of 150 individuals.
The images given to CNN paint a horrific scene.
Stomachs, faces and even legs are concave — sunken, rather than convex. On some torsos, bruising and bleeding is so severe that the victims’ skin is a mosaic of black, red, purple and pink.
Oblong and parallel wounds, a mix of bruises and torn skin, line one man’s chest and torso, covering every inch of the victim’s body from neck to pelvis.
“This is not just somebody who is thin, or who maybe hasn’t had enough food because there’s a war going on,” Dr. Stuart Hamilton, a forensic pathologist who examined the evidence, told Amanpour. “This is somebody who has been really starved.”
The forensics team identified the neck bruising as consistent with strangulation with a rope, piece of rubber, or other such object, as opposed to the marks that would be left by a hanging.
“Strangulation of this kind is also consistent with strangulation being used as a method of torture,” the report reads.
Digital imaging expert Stephen Cole also offered his assessment that the images were not digitally altered or manipulated.
Evidence allegedly shows process ‘line by line’
So why do the lawyers think that they were given “smoking gun” proof of murders by the al-Assad regime?
“In Sierra Leone I had 1.2 million human beings that were destroyed but I could not match them to names and incidents,” David Crane said. “Here we have the photographs, the photographer and the reports with documents, stamps, signatures and dates.”
Each body in the photographs seen by CNN had a number written on it; a person’s hand can often also be seen holding a piece of paper in the frame of the photograph with the same number written on it.
Those numbers are obscured in the report released to CNN to protect “Caesar’s” identity and to hide the location of the military hospital where the photos were taken. However a CNN producer in Doha viewed the unobscured, original images.
When a detainee dies in custody, the body is sent to a military hospital where it is numbered and photographed as part of a bureaucratic record-keeping process.
This detailed numbering system, the lawyers say, is compelling evidence of the government’s deadly intent.
When a detainee was killed, the report says, the corpse was assigned a number that corresponded to the “branch of the security service responsible for his detention and death.”
The body was then taken by the security service to a military hospital.
There, the body would enter the Syrian government’s bureaucracy.
Caesar told the lawyers that he, a doctor, and a member of the judiciary would examine the corpse.
The doctor would then fill out internal paperwork, to document that he had seen the body, as well as an official death certificate, which would often list a false cause of death — like “heart attack” or “breathing problems” — to be given to the deceased’s family.
At this point, a second number would be assigned to the body, documenting its false cause of death, according to Caesar, the report says.
“As a prosecutor I have to prove a process,” Crane said. “And evidence like this, though not unusual, is rare in modern international law.” He added that he could walk a tribunal or jury through the process “line by line.”
Nice, in an interview with Amanpour, agreed. The number of bodies, the systematic way in which they were cataloged, and the effort given to obscuring their causes of death point in one direction, he said.
“You can reasonably infer that this is a pattern of behavior, which has to have higher authority,” he said.
Ever since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq — bolstered by false evidence provided by a source codenamed “Curveball” — there has been deep skepticism in both the intelligence community and the press about believing single-source defectors like “Caesar.”
The lawyers who interviewed Caesar, including Crane whose background also includes experience in military intelligence, said they found him to be “a truthful and credible witness.”
Part of the report reads: “He revealed no signs of being ‘sensational,’ nor did he seem partisan. Although he was a supporter of those who opposed the present regime, the inquiry team is satisfied that he gave an honest account of his experiences.”
Caesar’s evidence, they say, “could safely be acted upon in any subsequent judicial proceedings.”
The report says that Caesar claims taking the photos inflicted “psychological suffering” on him and his colleagues
In September 2011, about seven months after the Syrian civil war broke out, Caesar was contacted by a man, a relative by marriage, who had fled the country just days after the uprising began.
This man is referred to in the report as “Caesar’s contact,” whom the lawyers also interviewed for the report.
The contact was working with what the report calls “international human rights groups,” and saw “Caesar” as a reliable source of information from within the country.
Soon Caesar was sending his contact thousands of images. When Caesar became concerned for his safety, his contacts in the Syrian opposition to whom he had leaked the photos arranged for him and his family to be smuggled out of Syria.
The lawyers have remained mum on how that was done, but the report says the process took four months, and that Caesar left the country before his family.
“If he wished to exaggerate his evidence it would have been very easy for him to say that he had actually witnessed executions,” the report says. “In fact, he made it quite plain that he never witnessed a single execution.”
It is unclear where Caesar and his family are currently living; the lawyers say only that they carried out their investigation in the Middle East.
The next step
Syria is not a member of the International Criminal Court. The only way the court could prosecute someone from Syria would be through a referral from the United Nations Security Council.
Because of Russia’s support for the Assad regime, and because it has veto power on the council, such a referral seems unlikely, at least for the time being.
But if, one day, the court were to take up Syria’s case, this report would almost certainly be entered into evidence.
“All we can do is put the ammunition in the pistol,” said de Silva. “It is for others to aim it and pull the trigger.”
The Inquiry Report as reviewed by
By Kemal Ozturk
A former member of the military service for the Syrian government for thirteen years was set to photograph and document the dead bodies of military soldiers brought from their places of detention to a military hospital during the civil war in the country.
The bodies brought to the hospital, fully consisted of detained-Syrian opposition members, which showed signs of starvation, brutal beatings, strangulation and other forms of torture and killing. It became routine for the military service to take photographs of the bodies and faces of people in detention after designating those with a ‘numbering system’, who had been brought to the hospital after being tortured and killed.
These images of bodies and faces of the dead with handwritten codes on each, have been accepted as ‘documents’ of a systematic torture and killing of people under the ‘execution-orders’ within the Syrian army. The military police, having photographed 55,000 photos within two years, who was fed up with the killing policies by torture, has built confidential contact with Syrian oppositions.
The military police regularly recorded and sent the copies of these photographs secretly to a trusted contact using a ‘flash drive’ (memory stick).
With attempts of the Syrian opposition, an inquiry team of international lawyers has been set up of experts of forensic medicine and forensic imaging in vast experience in the prosecution of war crimes, crimes against humanity and other crimes contrary to international law.
The team included the former lead prosecutor of ex-President Milosevic of Yugoslavia before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and prosecutors and lawyers of the special Court for Sierra Leone.
To confirm whether these images were real or not, the images were uploaded directly to a secure server at a laboratory in the United Kingdom for assessment. It was confirmed to the inquiry team that all of these images were not digitally altered.
The team has examined 26,000 of 55,000 photographs.
Upon the material, it was revealed there was clear evidence of systematic torture and killing of the people in photographs, who were tortured while their limbs were tied and strangled with ligatures and cable ties.
Another attracting point of the inquiry is that emaciation was used as a torture method.
The team estimated that there were some fifty-five thousand (55,000) photographic images of some eleven thousand (11,000) detained persons who had been tortured and killed by agents of the current Syrian regime since the beginning of the uprising against the Assad regime in March 2011.
The members of the team also heard evidence from the contact of the military soldier. The team concluded that all material were acceptable ‘clear evidence’, capable of being believed by a tribunal of fact in a court of law.
Such ‘clear evidence’ would support findings of ‘crimes against humanity’ and also support findings of ‘war crimes’ against the current Syrian regime, the team has decided and put those into report form. The report was signed by all commission members.
While listening to a Syrian military policeman who carried out one of the most intriguing works in the world, renown war crimes prosecutors and forensics experts have decided to codename him “Caesar” for his safety.
Together with his colleagues, “Caesar” documented with 55,000 photographs the crimes against humanity committed by the regime during the civil war in the country. Being a witness who will be mentioned most often in the future, “Caesar” explained to Inquiry Team all the details he saw. In the report, the inquiry team did not mention any information excluding the codename and profession of the military policeman.
“Caesar” had worked at military police unit in the Syrian army for 13 years. Originally his job had involved the taking of photographs related to ordinary criminal matters and sending them to “the judiciary”. In short, he was a scenes of crime investigator.
“Caesar” told the team that since the civil war against the current regime began, his job changed from taking photographs of crime scenes and accidents to “taking pictures of killed detainees”. “Caesar” together with his others in his section photographed and documented bodies of detainees who had been killed for two years.
-How does the systematic killing work?
According to the report, the procedure was that when detainees were killed at their places of detention their bodies would be taken to a military hospital to which he would be sent with a doctor and a member of the judiciary, “Caesar’s” function being to photograph the corpses.
Each murdered detainee was given two numbers with only the intelligence service knowing the identities of the corpses.
The report says the procedure for documentation was that when a detainee was killed each body was given a reference number which related to that branch of the security service responsible for his detention and death.
When the corpse was taken to the military hospital it was given a further number so as to document, falsely, that death had occurred in the hospital.
The purpose of documenting the corpses was to ensure that none had been released by the security services and to inform the families of murdered detainees in due course that the cause of death in each case was either a “heart attack” or “breathing problems” and to satisfy the authorities that executions had been performed.
“Caeser” informed the inquiry team that there could be as many as 50 bodies a day to photograph which required fifteen to thirty minutes of work per corpse.
Once the bodies were photographed by “Caesar” they were taken for burial in a rural area.
-“Caesar”: “The place looked like a slaughterhouse”
Stating that the place “looked like a slaughterhouse”, Caesar said he had someone in his section take photographs of a group of bodies to show that the place “looked like a slaughterhouse”. The excuse he gave for group photographs to his colleagues was that in case they had missed a body they could go back to the group photograph.
“Caesar” told the inquiry team that he did all this “for the sake of Syria and the Syrian people so that the killers could be prosecuted to achieve justice”.
This witness informed the inquiry team that “Caesar” was working with his group from an early stage, the witness having contacted “Caesar” for this purpose in or around September 2011.
The witness also confirmed that he was Caesar’s relative and that he had left Syria five days after the civil war against the current Syrian regime had begun and established contact with international human rights groups.
– Confidential Inquiry Team
A confidential inquiry team has been established by the firm of Carter-Ruck and Co. in the City of London in a result of efforts of Syrian opponent human rights activists.
– Members of the Inquiry Team
The Right Honourable Sir Desmond de Silva QC (Chairman) : A former Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Appointed personally by the Secretary General of the United Nations. In that capacity he brought about the arrest of President Charles Taylor of Liberia.
Professor Sir Geoffrey Nice QC : The former lead prosecutor of ex-President Milosevic of Yugoslavia before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
Professor David M. Crane: The first Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Appointed personally by the Secretary General of the United Nations. In that capacity he indicted President Charles Taylor of Liberia.
Dr. Stuart J. Hamilton. Forensic pathologist on the United Kingdom Home Office Register.
Professor Susan Black. Professor of Anatomy and Forensic Anthropology and certified forensic anthropologist.
Stephen Cole. Technical Director for Acume Forensics and Forensic Imaging expert.
The members of the inquiry team travelled to a country in the Middle East and started to examine the photographs. Samples from the photos were tested in the London-based Acume Forensics Center.
The center has guaranteed that there was no alteration in the digital forms of the photos and that they were real.
The witness codenamed “Caesar” and his family, whose life safety was under danger, was removed from Syria through confidential ways. The defector, who was codenamed “Caesar” for his own protection, was interviewed by the team on the 12th, 13th, and 18th January 2014 and answered each kind of question. The team has marked down to the report that ‘Ceasar’ revealed no signs of being ‘sensational’ nor did he seem partisan and was reliable.
In fact, it was an attracting point that ‘Ceasar’ made it quite plain that he never witnessed a single execution but only photographed the images of dead people.
The inquiry Team examined the photographs carefully and confirmed the methods of murdering.
The legal team was further informed that there were some fifty-five thousand (55,000) photographic images of some eleven thousand (11,000) detained persons who had been tortured and killed by agents of the current Syrian regime.
The vast majority of the images were of young men most likely between the ages of twenty and forty.
It was confirmed that all of the detainees were killed.
Many several were killed with rope, plastic cable tie, timing belt cover that is used for vehicles. These objects were photographed as they were around detainees’neck. Instead of execution they were choked by hand.
Overall there was evidence that a significant number of the deceased were emaciated and a significant minority had been bound and/or beaten with rod-like objects.
As the report showed, there was a high level of emaciation and images of many of the individuals showed evidence of discoloration and ulceration primarily on the bodies. Indeed the emaciated bodies of those killed may well tell a story of starvation used as a means of torture.
“There appear to have been many forms of torture used by those responsible for those in detention,” the report said.
“For example there was evidence of injury by electrocution on some of the bodies.” The bodies were photographed as unclothed or minimally clothed.
– Inquiry Team Conclusions
“The inquiry team is satisfied that upon the material it has reviewed there is clear evidence, capable of being believed by a tribunal of fact in a court of law, of systematic torture and killing of detained persons by the agents of the Syrian government,” the report said at the conclusion.
“Such evidence would support findings of crimes against humanity against the current Syrian regime. Such evidence could also support findings of war crimes against the current Syrian regime,” the detailed report said.
New evidence of war crimes allegedly carried out by the Syrian government was released on Monday, in a report carried out leading by a London-based inquiry team of leading legal and forensics experts for international law firm Carter-Ruck.
The report relied on the evidence of photographs of dead detainees which had been provided by a Syrian defector. They were verified by Stephen Coles, an imaging forensics expert who has worked with the UK’s Ministry of Defence and West Yorkshire Police.
The conclusion that the photos could potentially support charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes was made by a legal team of experts who have all led major international human rights cases.
Professor David M. Crane and Sir Desmond de Silva were both former Chief Prosecutors of the Special Court for Sierra Leone and were respectively responsible for the indictment and arrest of former Liberian President Charles Taylor.
Professor Sir Geoffery Nice QC led the prosecution of Slobodan Milošević’s trial at The Hague and was responsible for linking Milošević to atrocities committed in former Yugoslavia.
The injuries themselves were inspected by forensics experts Dr Stuart Hamilton and Professor Susan Black – who in 1999 led the examination of bodies found in mass graves in Kosovo to verify reported massacres of Kosovan Albanians by Serbs.
As reported by the Guardian
Syria crisis: evidence of ‘industrial-scale killing’ by regime spurs call for war crimes charges
- The Guardian, Tuesday 21 January 2014
Syrian government officials could face war crimes charges in the light of a huge cache of evidence smuggled out of the country showing the “systematic killing” of about 11,000 detainees, according to three eminent international lawyers.
The three, former prosecutors at the criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Sierra Leone, examined thousands of Syrian government photographs and files recording deaths in the custody of regime security forces from March 2011 to last August.
Most of the victims were young men and many corpses were emaciated, bloodstained and bore signs of torture. Some had no eyes; others showed signs of strangulation or electrocution.
The UN and independent human rights groups have documented abuses by both Bashar al-Assad‘s government and rebels, but experts say this evidence is more detailed and on a far larger scale than anything else that has yet emerged from the 34-month crisis.
One of the images contained in the report, purpotedly showing ligature marks across the neck of a prisoner. Photograph: The report
The three lawyers interviewed the source, a military policeman who worked secretly with a Syrian opposition group and later defected and fled the country. In three sessions in the last 10 days they found him credible and truthful and his account “most compelling”.
They put all evidence under rigorous scrutiny, says their report, which has been obtained by the Guardian and CNN.
The authors are Sir Desmond de Silva QC, former chief prosecutor of the special court for Sierra Leone, Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, the former lead prosecutor of former Yugoslavian president Slobodan Milosevic, and Professor David Crane, who indicted President Charles Taylor of Liberia at the Sierra Leone court.
The defector, who for security reasons is identified only as Caesar, was a photographer with the Syrian military police. He smuggled the images out of the country on memory sticks to a contact in the Syrian National Movement, which is supported by the Gulf state of Qatar. Qatar, which has financed and armed rebel groups, has called for the overthrow of Assad and demanded his prosecution.
The 31-page report, which was commissioned by a leading firm of London solicitors acting for Qatar, is being made available to the UN, governments and human rights groups. Its publication appears deliberately timed to coincide with this week’s UN-organised Geneva II peace conference, which is designed to negotiate a way out of the Syrian crisis by creating a transitional government.
Caesar told the investigators his job was “taking pictures of killed detainees”. He did not claim to have witnessed executions or torture. But he did describe a highly bureaucratic system.
“The procedure was that when detainees were killed at their places of detention their bodies would be taken to a military hospital to which he would be sent with a doctor and a member of the judiciary, Caesar’s function being to photograph the corpses … There could be as many as 50 bodies a day to photograph which require 15 to 30 minutes of work per corpse,” the report says.
“The reason for photographing executed persons was twofold. First to permit a death certificate to be produced without families requiring to see the body, thereby avoiding the authorities having to give a truthful account of their deaths; second to confirm that orders to execute individuals had been carried out.”
Families were told that the cause of death was either a “heart attack” or “breathing problems”, it added. “The procedure for documentation was that when a detainee was killed each body was given a reference number which related to that branch of the security service responsible for his detention and death.
“When the corpse was taken to the military hospital it was given a further number so as to document, falsely, that death had occurred in the hospital. Once the bodies were photographed, they were taken for burial in a rural area.”
Three experienced forensic science experts examined and authenticated samples of 55,000 digital images, comprising about 11,000 victims. “Overall there was evidence that a significant number of the deceased were emaciated and a significant minority had been bound and/or beaten with rod-like objects,” the report says.
“In only a minority of the cases … could a convincing injury that would account for death be seen, but any fatal injury to the back of the body would not be represented in the images …
“The forensics team make clear that there are many ways in which an individual may be killed with minimal or even absent external evidence of the mechanism.”
The inquiry team said it was satisfied there was “clear evidence, capable of being believed by a tribunal of fact in a court of law, of systematic torture and killing of detained persons by the agents of the Syrian government. It would support findings of crimes against humanity and could also support findings of war crimes against the current Syrian regime.”
De Silva told the Guardian that the evidence “documented industrial-scale killing”. He added: “This is a smoking gun of a kind we didn’t have before. It makes a very strong case indeed.”
Calls for Assad or others to face justice at the international criminal courtin The Hague have foundered on the problems that Syria is not a member of the court, and that the required referral by the UN security council might not be supported by the US and UK or would be blocked by Russia, Syria’s close ally.
Nice said: “It would not necessarily be possible to track back with any degree of certainty to the head of state. Ultimately, in any war crimes trial you can imagine a prosecutor arguing that the overall quantity of evidence meant that the pattern of behaviour would have been approved at a high level.
“But whether you can go beyond that and say it must be head of state-approved is rather more difficult. But ‘widespread and systematic’ does betoken government control.”
Crane said: “Now we have direct evidence of what was happening to people who had disappeared. This is the first provable, direct evidence of what has happened to at least 11,000 human beings who have been tortured and executed and apparently disposed of.
“This is amazing. This is the type of evidence a prosecutor looks for and hopes for. We have pictures, with numbers that marry up with papers with identical numbers – official governmentdocuments. We have the person who took those pictures. That’s beyond-reasonable-doubt-type evidence.”
A US administration official told the Guardian on Monday: “We stand with the rest of the world in horror at these images which have come to light. We condemn in the strongest possible terms the actions of the regime and call on it to adhere to international obligations with respect to the treatment of prisoners.
“We have long spoken out about mistreatment and deteriorating prison conditions in Syria. These latest reports, and the photographs that support them, demonstrate just how far the regime is willing to go to not only deny freedom and dignity to the Syrian people, but to inflict significant emotional and physical pain in the process. To be sure, these reports suggest widespread and apparently systematic violations of international humanitarian law.
“The regime has the ability to improve the atmosphere for negotiations in Geneva by making progress in several areas. However, this latest report of horrific and inhumane prison conditions/actions further underscores that if anything, it is tarnishing the environment for the talks.
“As we have for over two years, and again today, we call on the Syrian government to grant immediate and unfettered access to all their detention facilities by international documentation bodies, including the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria.
“We have long said that those responsible for atrocities in Syria must be held accountable for their gross violations of human rights. The United States continues to support efforts to promote accountability and transitional justice, and we call on the international community to do the same.”
William Hague, the UK foreign secretary, said: “This report offers further evidence of the systematic violence and brutality being visited upon the people of Syria by the Assad regime. We will continue to press for action on all human rights violations in Syria, and for accountability for those who perpetrate them.”
Nadim Houry of Human Rights Watch said his organisation had not had the opportunity to authenticate the images. But he added: “We have documented repeatedly how Syria’s security services regularly torture – sometimes to death – detainees in their custody.
“These photos – if authentic – suggest that we may have only scratched the surface of the horrific extent of torture in Syria’s notorious dungeons. There is only one way to get to the bottom of this and that is for the negotiating parties at Geneva II to grant unhindered access to Syria’s detention facilities to independent monitors.”
Channel 4 Report
The article below contains videos documenting starvation in Yarmouk Camp and other places