France has launched a probe into Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime for crimes against humanity, a judicial source said Wednesday.
Paris prosecutors opened a preliminary inquiry on September 15 into crimes committed by the Assad regime between 2011 and 2013, the source added.
The French investigation is largely based on evidence from a former Syrian army photographer known by the code-name “Caesar,” who defected and fled the country in 2013, bringing with him some 55,000 graphic photographs.
Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said France had a “responsibility” to take action.
“Faced with these crimes that offend the human conscience, this bureaucracy of horror, faced with this denial of the values of humanity, it is our responsibility to act against the impunity of the assassins,” Fabius said in a statement.
These “thousands of unbearable photos, authenticated by many experts, which show corpses tortured and starved to death in the prisons of the regime, demonstrate the systematic cruelty of the Assad regime,” Fabius added.
The inquiry will be led by France’s war crimes body but Fabius also called on the UN and particularly its International Commission of Inquiry on Syria to press on with their investigations. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Agencies)