FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 2, 2017
Madrid, Spain - The Syrian Emergency Task Force, a member of the Coalition for a Democratic Syria, announces the first filing of a criminal case based on evidence from the Caesar photos. The case, filed on behalf of a victim of dual Spanish-Syrian background, will be brought before the Spanish national court to seek justice for a victim tortured and killed by the Assad Regime.
The case was investigated by the nonprofit Guernica 37 with support from Ambassador Stephen J. Rapp, former head of the Office of Global Criminal Justice. It marks the first time the Caesar file has been used in a judicial setting.
"This unprecedented case based on the Caesar photos demonstrates to Syrian regime officials that they will be held accountable for war crimes and crimes against humanity," said Mouaz Moustafa, Executive Director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force and representative of the Caesar Team. "Bringing this case now before a national court challenges the ongoing atmosphere of impunity and offers hope to victims and their families, as well as civilians currently under attack by their government."
The former Syrian military police photographer, code-named "Caesar" was tasked with photographing corpses of victims who were killed inside facilities run by the Assad regime. Since he smuggled the 55,000 photos from Syria in 2014, his images have undergone careful analysis by NGOs and national governments to identify victims and aid investigations.
The pictures, most of them taken in Syrian military hospitals, show corpses photographed at close range. Virtually all of the bodies -- estimated to number over 11,000 -- betray signs of torture: gouged eyes, mangled genitals, bruises and dried blood from beatings, acid and electric burns, emaciation, and marks from strangulation.
Caesar's images have been on display at the UN General Secretariat, the United States Congress, and the Parliaments of Europe, the United Kingdom, and Canada. They have also been hosted at events in partnership with universities such as Harvard, Yale, and Princeton.