New Syria torture photos another chapter in abuse
- "Nobody is taking any serious actions.”
 

New photos released by Anadolu Agency that depict systematic torture of Syrian opposition members mark another sad chapter in Syria’s extensive history of brutality, said experts, who saw little chance for change.

Anadolu Agency released the photos on Thursday as Russia and China both vetoed a resolution that would have referred the Syrian crisis to the International Criminal Court for investigation of potential war crimes.

"As the world looks at these photos and the range that have been out there, these atrocities are exactly why we have supported efforts like the one that occurred in the UN Security Council today, which was a vote on a resolution to refer the Syrian regime to the ICC,” said Jen Psaki, the State Department spokesperson in response to a question from an AA correspondent at Thursday’s daily briefing.

Russia and China’s vetoes and general lack of support to hold rights abusers accountable ‘extremely disturbed’ the Obama administration, added Psaki.

The fighting between forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al Assad and opposition fighters, now going into its fourth year, has thrown Syria’s use of torture into overdrive, said Joshua Landis, the head of the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Middle East Studies.

"Now that the civil war has started it’s obviously gone in to industrial production,” said Landis. "Clearly there are a lot of people being executed in these prisons.”

The Syrian government’s widespread history of torture has allowed it to "perfect” its methods, according to Amr Al Azam, an associate professor of Middle East History at Shawnee State University.

But ongoing tensions between the Kremlin and the West are likely to stymy any efforts to address the Syrian government’s rights abuses, said Al Azam

"The Russians basically have no incentive to allow the Europeans to do anything, especially with all the problems regarding Ukraine,” he said. "Right now the Russian are going to exercise every opportunity to block anything that comes from the West.”

Inaction is likely to be the order of the day for the foreseeable future, said Mohammad Al Abdallah, the executive director of the Syria Justice and Accountability Center which is based in The Hague with an office in Washington.

"You get some condemnation statements here and there, but it’s not actions. Nobody is taking any serious actions,” said Abdallah.

Thursday’s Security Council veto was the fourth resolution on Syria vetoed by Russia.

Even if Syria were to have been referred to the International Criminal Court, its effects would likely have been limited in the short term, said Abdallah.

"Even if it passed, it’s not going to stop these terrifying incidents happening, these images of people being starved to death, tortured to death.”


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Last Modified: 2014-05-23 09:31:55
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