Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Justice Awaits In Syria

"So long as he is protected by Russia, then the Security Council is stymied and there is no other way that the ICC can have jurisdiction to try him."
"International justice is in its infancy and we’ve seen it change. Charles Taylor, who is now serving 50 years in a British prison, was thought to be safe when he was given refuge in Nigeria, but politics change and he was handed over. So there are plenty of precedents for people who seemed to be safe suddenly becoming inconvenient to their protectors."
Geoffrey Robertson QC, a senior human rights lawyer

"When the day of justice arrives, we’ll have much better evidence than we’ve had anywhere since Nuremberg."
"[he evidence gathered in Syria is] much richer than anything I’ve seen - and anything I’ve prosecuted - in this area."
Stephen Rapp, former chief prosecutor of the United Nations court

"[Assad himself] reviewed the proposals [of the cell], signed them, and returned them for implementation."
"Sometimes he made revisions, crossing out directives and adding new ones. [I remain] certain that no security decision, no matter how small, was made without Assad’s approval."
Abdelmajid Barakat former official with the 'Central Crisis Management Cell', Syria 
Destruction in Deir Ezzor, Syria 
The destruction caused by civil war in the Syrian city of Deir Ezzour. Credit: Khalil Ashawi /REUTERS 
Time may do what the frustrated efforts of the Syrian regime's opponents and the allied efforts of the U.S.-led groups hoping to undermine the strength of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to remove him from administering Syrian affairs, may yet manage: the International Criminal Court to have the opportunity to try the man responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Syrians, the homelessness of millions, the wholesale destruction of Syria's infrastructure.

There must be an accounting for the tens of thousands of Syrians imprisoned, tortured and killed on direct orders of Bashar al-Assad. And that accounting at some future date now appears more likely to occur given new intelligence, proof, evidence, of the man's investment in terrorizing his civilian Sunni population as their considered reward for attempting to topple the government that was responsible for withholding the full rights and entitlements of citizenship from them by the Shiite Baathist government he leads.

A veritable trove of evidence has amazingly been smuggled out of Syria. That evidence is represented by 600,000 pages of official documents. The very volume of that evidence whose weight has been put at several tonnes represents the records of a committee struck in secrecy and tasked with crushing the revolt that erupted when the Syrian president swept aside the protests of his majority Sunni population. The appointment by the dictator of a "Central Crisis Management Cell", given supreme responsibility for suppressing the unrest led to mass atrocities.

A 24-year-old Syrian with conscience who acted as the committee official meant to maintain the committee's records, and transmit its orders to be expeditiously carried out, was in reality representing the interests of the opposition. Abdelmajid Barakat escaped in 2013 from Syria, making his way into Turkey, loaded down with as much of the documentation as he could manage to spirit away. To prove that during the life of the committee thousands of Assad's opponents were killed, detained or tortured.

All of this was done on the deliberate instruction of and careful oversight of Bashar Assad, who "reviewed the proposals (of the cell), signed them, and returned them for implementation". The committee did its work demonically well, transforming hospitals into torture centres. When bodies became too numerous, they were piled into washrooms once morgues overflowed.

APRIL 13: This photo released on the official Facebook page of Syrian Presidency, shows Syrian President Bashar Assad casting his ballot in the parliamentary elections, as his wife Asma, left, is standing next to him, in Damascus.
APRIL 13: This photo released on the official Facebook page of Syrian Presidency, shows Syrian President Bashar Assad casting his ballot in the parliamentary elections, as his wife Asma, left, is standing next to him, in Damascus. (AP)


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