The Daily Mail newspaper said that Syrian operatives smuggled 800,000 documents out of Syria for evidence of Assad’s war crimes. The documents, which are kept in a secret repository in the center of Europe, contain horrific accounts of torture and mystery disappearances.
In a report published on Sunday, the British newspaper said that the contents of the documents offer clues to the most hideous tales of death and depravity, of barbaric torture, and hospitals turned into charnel houses by the Assad regime.
The paper noted that the documents could be used as potential evidence to build a case that may lead to the most significant war crimes trial since Nuremberg, one that could match The Hague’s current International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
“The symbolism is important,” said Bill Wiley, the veteran war crimes investigator heading the bold project. “We want to prove there is not impunity for anyone. Assad is the worst criminal in the region and he should not be above the law.”
Wiley, a former Canadian army officer, set up the Commission for International Justice and Accountability (CIJA) a few months after the start of the Syrian revolution in 2011 to secure justice for such victims. His experiences include war crimes probes in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia as well as working in the Democratic Republic of Congo as the first investigator taken on by the International Criminal Court.
The secret repository contains shelves and stacks of cardboard boxes packed to overflowing with maps of the Middle East and sheaves of documents filled with Arabic script.
One of the rooms in the repository contains military maps covered in fluorescent markings that detail troop movements, weapons instalments and a battle plan. Beneath this are scores of documents filled with Arabic writing. Some have official-looking government stamps. Others are pockmarked with holes from bullets.
There is a safe containing seized computers and some phones in padded bags. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Al-Arabiya)