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Building the Case against Assad's Regime

June 15, 2018

"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.





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