In a meeting called by the French ambassador to the United Nations, representatives of the Security Council were shown horrific photographs of victims of the savagery the Assad regime has unleashed in Syria.
The photos were among 55,000 reportedly smuggled out of Syria by a Syrian army photographer, code-named “Caesar.” Appalled by the atrocities he saw at three detention centers, he fled the country, carrying the photos out in flash drives hidden in his shoes. The photos show emaciated corpses, some with their eyes gouged out, others the victims of brutal beatings.
The photos show emaciated corpses, some with their eyes gouged out, others the victims of brutal beatings.
One of the authors of the report accompanying the photographs, former Sierra Leone Special Court prosecutor David M. Crane, compared the gruesome pictures to images from Nazi concentration camps. He also said they were “just the tip of the iceberg,” since they came from three government detention centers and about 50 are known to exist in Syria.
French Ambassador to the U.N. Gerad Araud is preparing a resolution authorizing the International Criminal Court to investigate crimes against humanity in Syria.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power said the perpetrators of the crimes shown in the photographs must be held accountable. “The gruesome images of corpses bearing marks of starvation, strangulation and beatings, and today’s chilling briefing indicate that the Assad regime has carried out systematic, widespread and industrial killing,” she said.
“We owe it to the Syrian people – including ‘Caesar’ who has risked everything to bring these images to light – to ensure that the perpetrators of crimes against humanity are brought to justice.”
The day before the ghastly photographs taken by “Caesar” were shown to members of the Security Council, U.N. Human Rights chief Navi Pillay released a report by her office also condemning the rampant use of torture by Syrian authorities. The UN report drew on 38 interviews conducted by UN investigators over the last 8 months with individuals released from detention centers. “Our findings confirm that torture is being routinely used in government facilities in Syria, and that torture is also used by some armed groups,” Ms. Pillay said.
More than 150,000 people have been killed since Bashar al-Assad first responded with brutal force against peaceful anti-government protesters three years ago. The evidence of the savagery taking place under his watch offers incontrovertible testimony to why Assad can hold no legitimate place in Syria’s future.