Prosecutors believe they have enough smuggled documents for war crimes trial against senior Syrian officials if ever the conflict reaches an international court
A three-year covert investigation inside Syria has collected enough evidence to support criminal charges against Bashar al-Assad and many of his top officials, according to a report in The Guardian.
The cases cover the Syrian regime's brutal response to the protests that led to civil war in 2011.
The evidence against 24 senior officials has been collected for the Commission for International Justice and Accountability (CIJA) which is building prosecutions for any war crimes tribunal established in the future.
At present, Mr Assad and his government are protected from prosecution at the International Criminal Court by Russian and Chinese veto power at the United Nations.
The commission is working with a team of 50 Syrian investigators – including members of the armed opposition - who have smuggled regime documents out of the country. One has been killed and others detained by regime forces.
The chief investigator, Adel (a pseudonym), told The Guardian: “The work has caused a lot of stress in my family.
“There are long absences and constant fear. But I still believe in the cause of justice. I hope one day to see a court that would try the senior leadership and hold it accountable for the crimes committed.”
More than 210,000 people have died since protests erupted four years ago, and more than 11million people have fled their homes.
The Syrian regime is accused of using poison gas and indiscriminate bombing as it clings to power.
The commission is working on three cases.
The first against the Central Crisis Management Cell – set up to quell the protests - names Assad, Assad, Mohammad al-Shaar, the minister of the interior, and Mohammed Said Bekheitan, an assistant secretary of the Ba’ath party.
The two others focus on the National Security Bureau and the Security Committee of Deir al-Zor province. (The Telegraph)