French prosecutors will be hoping pictures do not lie as they open their case for crimes against humanity allegedly committed by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The pictures come from the Syrian army officer once responsible for the archive who turned all 55,000 photos over to the investigators. The allegations also include torture and kidnapping, and 11,000 alleged victims of state security services have been identified.
Even if some victims are found to be French a trial in France is unlikely. The opening of the case is to clarify jurisdiction.
“When dead demonstrators arrived at the military hospital, and there were more and more of their bodies, he discovered the horror, signs of unbearable torture, victims only weighing 30 or 40 kilos, so he really saw that people were dying of hunger or torture in prison,” said the author of a book about ‘Caesar’, as the defector is known, Garance Le Caisne.
France is striking a tough international posture over Assad in the latest twist to the Syrian tragedy, with foreign minister Fabius opening this prosecution and revealing the archive, and insisting Assad is not part of any post-war solution.
Russia, which is now adding its firepower to Assad’s forces, insist he should stay.
Revealing who passed through the prison system will be a long struggle.