Syrian government officials could face war crimes charges in the light of a huge cache of evidence smuggled out of the country showing the “systematic killing” of about 11,000 detainees, according to three eminent international lawyers.
The three, former prosecutors at the criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Sierra Leone, examined thousands of Syrian government photographs and files recording deaths in the custody of regime security forces from March 2011 to last August.
Most of the victims were young men and many corpses were emaciated, bloodstained and bore signs of torture. Some had no eyes; others showed signs of strangulation or electrocution.
In March 2013, reports of a hunger strike at Guantánamo Bay, the US detention camp in Cuba, began to surface. Details were sketchy and were contradicted by statements from the US military. Now, using testimony from five detainees, this animated film reveals the daily brutality of life inside Guantánamo. Today there are 17 prisoners still on hunger strike, 16 of whom are being force-fed. Two are in hospital
Omar Khadr, who was 15 years old when captured in Afghanistan in 2002 and the first person since World War Two to be prosecuted in a war crimes tribunal for acts committed as a juvenile, has finally been returned from Guantanamo Bay to Canada to serve out the rest of his sentence.
Son of a senior Al-Qaeda member, Omar was taken to Afghanistan and apprenticed to a group of bomb makers who opened fire when US troops came to their compound. Khadr was captured in the firefight, during which he was blinded in one eye and shot twice in the back.
He pleaded guilty to killing a US soldier and to have links with Al-Qaeda, but despite this, and that he meets the definition of a child soldier, he was sentenced to 40 years in prison. However, back in Canada he will be eligible for parole in 9 months. Plans for his rehabilitation and reintegration are not yet known.
Yunus Rahmatullah is a Pakistani man captured by UK special forces and held by the US in Afghanistan's notorious Bagram jail without trial for more than eight years. Last year the Court of Appeal of England and Wales ordered the issue a writ of habeas corpus (the ancient British legal right to be charged or released from arbitrary detention). Now the case is in the Supreme Court, with the UK government arguing that it has no power to direct the US to release him and that the writ should not have been issued.
Rahmatullah has been described by the US as “not a continuing security threat.”