The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) on Friday said that more than 27,000 images of torture and killings perpetrated by the Assad regime been handed to German prosecutors who are investigating possible abuses.
ECCHR’s General Secretary Wolfgang Kaleck said that the photos “show the extent and the systematic nature of torture” under the Assad regime. So far, no international investigators or prosecutors in any other country or court have seen this material, Kaleck added.
The German Federal Public Prosecutor General is the first authority to deal with the images, which can be used to issue international arrest warrants against the perpetrators of these crimes from the Assad regime, Kaleck said.
The information contained in the photos can provide investigators with valuable evidence as to when and where these photos were taken, Kaleck went on. He pointed out that the high quality of the images is an important factor when looking for evidence.
The rights group said it had joined Caesar on Thursday in filing a criminal complaint with Germany’s federal prosecutor against senior officials from the Syrian intelligence service and military police over possible crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Although the alleged abuses were carried out in Syria and not Germany, the case can be filed on German soil under the legal principle of universal jurisdiction, meaning that any country can pursue perpetrators regardless of where the crime was committed. Germany is one of the few countries in the world to apply the principle.
The shots were taken by a photographer working for the Syrian military police, dubbed “Caesar”, who fled Syria in 2013 carrying 55,000 photographs showing bodies of people who had been tortured between 2011 and 2013. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Al-Quds Al-Arabi)