UN: Assad Regime Must Account for Thousands of Detainees who Died in Custody
UN war crimes investigators called on the Assad regime on Wednesday to tell families what happened to their relatives who disappeared and provide the medical records and remains of those who died or were executed in custody.
“Pro-government forces and primarily the Syrian state should reveal publicly the fates of those detained, disappeared and/or missing without delay,” the International Commission of Inquiry on Syria said in a report released before delivery to the UN Security Council, noting this meant the Assad regime, Russian forces and affiliated militia.
After years of silence, the Assad regime this year released “thousands or tens of thousands” of names of detainees alleged to have died, mostly between 2011 and 2014, the report added.
“The release this year of what may amount to thousands or tens of thousands of names of allegedly deceased detainees and/or missing persons is unprecedented,” said Commission Chair Paulo Pinheiro. “Each custodial death must be independently investigated, and the results must be publicly reported,” he continued.
The Commission called on the Assad regime to take a number of essential steps to address the most pressing concerns of both the victims and their families on this matter. This includes acknowledging the truth about how victims perished, revealing the whereabouts of their remains, and promptly, thoroughly, transparently, and independently investigating all custodial deaths, as well as deaths resulting from summary or extrajudicial executions, it noted.
Human Rights Watch earlier called on the Assad regime to give answers to questions as to how detainees died in its prisons and questioned the regime's allegations that the victims had died of a "heart attack."
The Syrian Coalition called on the international community to launch serious investigation into the war crimes taking place in the prisons of the Assad regime and to refer those responsible for these crimes to the International Criminal Court. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Departmen)