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Assad's Death Lists: Failed Attempt to Shirk Accountability

DETAINEES | 2018-08-30 12:01:00
Assad's Death Lists: Failed Attempt to Shirk Accountability
By Sulaiman al-Nuhaili

(Zaman Al Wasl)- Lists of the Syrian detainees, who were killed under torture at the regime's detention centres, are being sent by the regime, to the civil registry authorities, in order to record their deaths as natural. Therefore, it is necessary to work on revealing the truth and identify the mechanism used to cover the atrocious crimes committed by the murders of detainees.

It is worth recalling, that during the Pacific phase of the revolution, the body of the detainee killed under torture, was not handed over to anyone of his relatives, only after signing down written statement, that has been already prepared by the regime, stating that the deceased had been killed by the armed gangs. Fearing the same fate, the family member receiving the corpse wouldn’t refuse to sign down the regime’s documents.

The question arises here: Does this acknowledgment (the written statement) signed by the receiver of the body, serve as a relevant legal proof, which the regime can invoke in case of future trials?

The answer is simply: No. The fact that the death of the detainee did not occur before the family member who signed the statement, and that confession was neither received by a specialized judicial authority, nor applied to the correct adequate judicial procedures, such the right to provide the presumption willingly, free from pressure or influence at the time of signing the statement.

Following the transition of the Syrian revolution to the Militarized phase, the security authorities worked on the legal compliance framework, preparing an attachment to a report of a forensic doctor, stating the medical death causes, such a heart attack or severe asthma. Then the papers would be sent to the Attorney General (Legally speaking, this process is supposed to be carried out in the presence of the Attorney General, or in the presence of a representative of the Public Prosecution). In this case, the Attorney-General, has no choice left but to decide to refer the file to a representative of the Public Prosecution, who will preserve the file of the victim, considering the absence of an offense, the clarity of the death cause, and the absence of any filed complaint, from the part of the dead's family, against anyone

Disclaimer of the criminal liability and the criminalization evidence:

There is no doubt that the regime’s attempts to conceal the criminal features off the death of the detainees, such as the violence marks and scars on the corpse, by falsifying the death cause attached to the medical report, in order to evade from the criminal prosecution for the murder, or/and to minimize the number of murder attached with the regime.

In spite of all the regime's procedures and vain attempts, the murders will not be absolved of the criminal accountability and punishment in the future when bringing charges against those responsible for the killing of detainees under torture.

Given that the regime has adopted some of the seemingly legal procedures (by recognized written statement of the death by armed gangs and the medical report), proving any criminal liability against the responsible ones might be harder than the expected. Nevertheless, it is still possible to prove strong legal evidence against the murderers. In a nutshell, the following proves are all what is needed to convict the murderers:

A – The testimony of an eyewitness from an ex detainees who has been lucky enough to survive or to be released, who has accompanied the detainees who were tortured to death.

B - Judicial evidence: which consists of facts and circumstances related to the crime that would provide the future trials with the evidence of conviction of the crime of murder by torture.

Examples of which are:

The arrest of alive persons by the regime apparatus, then releasing the person’s dead corpse, which is a presumption of torture to death in the prison, considering Syria's general conditions, a state of mass protests and popular revolting, that was faced with widespread arrests, by the regime. 

The catastrophic health conditions of the detention centres and prisons, (that were covered by all media), which are the responsibility of the regime, lead to the death of the detainees who were injured from the torture sessions. Images leaked by Syrian and Arab human rights organizations, show the effects of torture on the bodies of the detainees, whose names were on the lists since the beginning of the revolution between the year 2011 and the year 2013, while the peaceful phase of the revolution, as the head of the regime admitted in one of his speeches. The regime denied the presence of any detainees who died under torture when questioned by their relatives, who hindered the access of human rights organizations and international observers to the detention centre.

Zaman Al Wasl
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