"20, 21, 24, 28, 34, 36, 40, 41, 83, 90, 92, 124 and 126. Yazan Awad repeats the days he was tortured like a mantra; the days the military prison guards smashed his legs with a club for six hours solid; the days they suspended him from the ceiling and beat him; the days they pushed a Kalashnikov up his rear. And the worst day of all; day 36."
On June 15th 2018, the Spanish newspaper EL PAÍS published a multimedia report about the ongoing making of a case against the systematic torture of detainees in Syrian prisons. The article’s use of images and video is at the heart of the issue presented: the importance of evidence. As the atrocities were structurally organized, the Assad administration – which is to be held responsible – documented them well. The article highlights the critical importance of gathering and using these government-made documents and the collection of survivor’s testimonies to make a successful case.
It moreover gives an insight into the transnational network that evolved with the investigation. The Syrian lawyer Anwar Al Bunni is a key figure in it. Working from Germany together with the non-governmental organization ECCHR (European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights), he makes use of the country’s openly formulated "Völkerstrafgesetzbuch" (Code of Crimes against International Law) to enable a formal investigation. Now, it will be a matter of political will for the case to be made.