Located in 600,000 documents recently smuggled out of Syria, lies the strongest evidence ‘since Nuremberg’ for the prosecution of Bashar al-Assad and his allies for war crimes. Some of the records include a secret committee of security chiefs placed in charge of thwarting the opposition to the al-Assad regime.
The evidence is being held in an undisclosed European city by the Commission for International Justice and Accountability, an organization of lawyers and investigators partly funded by the British Government. The most striking evidence concerns Assad’s response to the mass protests against his rule that swept Syria from 2011 onwards.
He appointed a “Central Crisis Management Cell” and gave the security chiefs on this committee supreme responsibility for suppressing the unrest. The cell held daily meetings in Damascus, chaired by Mohammad Said Bekheitan, the second most senior member of the ruling Ba’ath party.
It was a 24 year-old official who kept the committee records, Abdelmajid Barakat, who was secretly working for the opposition and managed to flee Syria into neighboring Turkey, taking with him as many as the cell records that he could carry. The paper trail shows that 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.” Mr Barakat was “certain that no security decision, no matter how small, was made without Assad’s approval.”
It was during this period that Assad’s opponents were killed, detained or tortured and it was so bad, that hospitals were turned into torture centers with bodies being stacked in the bathrooms when the morgue overflowed with dead bodies.
Former chief prosecutor of the United Nations court handling Rwandan genocide, Stephen Rapp, said,
“When the day of justice arrives, we’ll have much better evidence than we’ve had anywhere since Nuremberg. [The evidence is] much richer than anything I’ve seen – and anything I’ve prosecuted – in this area.”
Presently, there is no court where Assad and his allies could stand trial and Russia vetoed an attempt to have this case heard in the International Criminal Court (ICC). As long as Russia continues to protect Assad, there’s no way the ICC can have jurisdiction to prosecute him. That is until he falls out of Russian good graces.
What else could these documents reveal about Bashar al-Assad and his eradication of his rivals? Sound off in the comments below!