Smuggled documents could be used to indict Syria’s Assad

Three cases are being built to sue Assad for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria following the 2011 uprising

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The Commission for International Justice and Accountability (CIJA) is building three cases to indict Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as well as the Syrian opposition for war crimes in Syria, making use of documents smuggled out of the country.

The CIJA said that more than 50 investigators risked their lives to collect and smuggle evidence out of the country over three years which now amounts to more than half a million documents.

The evidence is enough to indict Assad and more than 24 of his top officials, including Minister of Interior Mohammad al-Shaar and Mohammed Said Bekheitan, an assistant secretary of Syria’s ruling Baath party according to a report published by Guardian on Wednesday.

The CIJA is also building cases against possible war crimes by opposition fighters, with the commission hiring a team to review videos posted by the opposition fighters to find evidence of crimes against humanity.

"The Assad regime committed thousands of atrocities against the Syrian people since the start of the conflict," Britain's Foreign Office, which provides funding for the CIJA, said.

"CIJA has worked tirelessly, often in dangerous circumstances, to collect documentary evidence to hold those responsible to account."

So far, three cases have been built against Assad. The cases are based mainly on the bloody suppression of protests since the uprising which later turned into a civil war started in 2011.

The cases concentrate on Assad and his war cabinet as well as intelligence and security chiefs, and relies on commands reported in the smuggled documents.

However, the CIJA’s staff has acknowledged that currently there is no route for the cases to be prosecuted because such a prosecution would likely be blocked in the UN.

Regime use of chemical weapon

The issue of Assad’s regime allegedly using chemical weapons against civilians was not tackled in the CIJA’s report.

Photos posted by activists on the net show deformed new-born babies. The reason for the deformities is alleged to be due to the usage of chemicals in attacks against civilians in Syria.

"The Assad regime has again demonstrated its brutality by turning to chlorine as another barbaric weapon in its arsenal against the Syrian people,” said US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power.

The United States, Britain, and France - three of the five permanent members of the Security Council - have accused the Assad regime of using chemical weapons.

Even so, the regime has continued using such weapons from time to time, according to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

TRTWorld and agencies