War crimes prosecutor Stephen Rapp said that the Commission for International Justice and Accountability (CIJA) has been able to access more than 750,000 pages of Assad regime documents.
Rapp, who chairs the Commission, on Monday told ABC news that “the evidence of war crimes in Syria is the strongest since Nazi war crimes in World War II.”
Rapp noted that he thinks prosecution of the highest echelons of the Syrian regime, including President Bashar al-Assad, is inevitable. “The pressure will build, and if Assad lives a few more decades, there will come a day when he’ll be under an international arrest warrant,” he said.
“Whether he’ll be caught, who knows, but certainly these kinds of crimes are crimes that the world doesn’t forget.”
“We were able to identify at least 800 of the victims, and they were almost all civilian demonstrators,” Rapp said. “[They] were generally civilians that had been tortured to death in Syrian military custody.”
Rapp explained that evidence of torture is particularly compelling.
Russia and China blocked the UN Security Council from referring Syrian crimes to the International Criminal Court.
“It takes an international court at the end of the day to put out a warrant against the leader,” Rapp added. But there are other options for the pursuit of justice, he said, and cases are quietly being built against some mid-level individuals involved in torture and killings, with at least one arrest warrant imminent.
Rapp said that the group he chairs is working with Syrians inside the country and has 600,000 videos that have come out of Syria, shot with individuals’ smart phones, and another group, the Syrian Archive, has 2 million video records.
Some of the evidence has been provided by a former forensic photographer within the Syrian military police whose job was to take photographs of hundreds of bodies arriving at a military hospital every day. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)