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Security Council sees grim images of Syrian dead

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UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council fell silent Tuesday after ambassadors viewed a series of ghastly photographs of dead Syrian civil war victims, France’s ambassador said. The pictures showed people who were emaciated, with their bones protruding, and some bearing the marks of strangulation and repeated beatings, and eyes having been gouged out.

French Ambassador Gerard Araud said the pall of silence lingered, and then questions slowly began about the credibility of the slides of the dead, who offer mute testimony to the savagery of a Syrian civil war in which more than 150,000 have died.

The council members saw more than the 10 photos publicly released in January on the eve of the “Geneva 2″ peace talks as part of a forensic investigation funded by the government of Qatar – a major backer of the opposition and one of the nations most deeply involved in the Syrian conflict. France, which hosted the presentation at the Security Council and showed the images afterward at a news conference, said they are evidence of war crimes by the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The veracity of the photos could not be independently confirmed. Syria’s Justice Ministry has dismissed the photos and accompanying report as “lacking objectiveness and professionalism” and said some of the people were militants killed in battle and others were killed by militant groups.

Among the new photos was an image of at least a dozen bodies laid out on the floor of a warehouse, in the process of being wrapped in plastic sheets, with men in military garb standing among them. One of the authors of the report, former Sierra Leone Special Court prosecutor David M. Crane, said it was firm evidence of “industrialized systematic killing.”

“Bodies in, bodies out. It was a very systematic processing of human beings. They were laid out in a parking lot because there were too many to put into the morgue,” Crane said,

“Doesn’t this bring back some interesting images from Dachau, and Auschwitz, and Bergen-Belsen?” Crane observed, sitting in front of the grisly procession of photos projected behind him in a U.N. news conference.

“The gruesome images of corpses bearing marks of starvation, strangulation and beatings and today’s chilling briefing indicate that the Assad regime has carried out systematic, widespread and industrial killing. Nobody who sees these images will ever be the same,” U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said.

The photos were selected from among 55,000 images of tortured and slain Syrian war victims said to have been smuggled out of Syria.

The savagery of the victims’ last moments was obvious. One photograph of a person’s face showed an eye gouged out, and a spray of blood that gushed a few inches (centimeters) from the eye socket onto the ground beside the head.

Other bodies bore parallel marks that Dr. Stuart J. Hamilton said are known to forensic pathologists as a “tram-line bruise” caused by being struck with a rod. It leaves two parallel welts with a smooth space between them. One body had a series of such bruises up and down his torso. “In a fight or combat, the individual would be moving,” Hamilton said, so there would not be a regular pattern of stripes.

Crane said that these photos were “just the tip of the iceberg. We have a snapshot here of just three detention centers” that were funneling their victims to the photographers. He said that some 50 detention centers are known to exist in Syria.

The presentation at the Security Council was part of a process of documenting evidence of Syrian war crimes in the hope of eventually referring the perpetrators to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. But because Syria never accepted the jurisdiction of the ICC, the only way a case can be opened while Assad is in power is for the Security Council to order a referral. Russia and China have used their veto power three times to block resolutions threatening sanctions on Syria.

Araud said France would gladly support a referral of all war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria — by the Assad regime or by the rebels — to the International Criminal Court if Russia or China allowed it.

He and Crane explained that the trove of torture photos had come from a man code-named “Caesar” who had been a crime scene photographer for the Syrian military.

When the civil war began, he and his colleagues were reassigned to photograph the tortured bodies of rebels and dissidents, providing proof to the regime that its enemies had been liquidated in detention. Their relatives were told that the victims had died of “a heart attack or breathing problems.” Bodies were buried before relatives could view them.

A relative of “Caesar” who defected early in the civil war kept in contact with him, and persuaded “Caesar” to copy and collect the images over the next three years, the report says.

“Essentially, `Caesar’ became a spy,” Crane said.

Crane said he and his colleagues found “Caesar” to be credible when they interviewed him in January.

In the collection of 55,000 images, each body was photographed four or five times, so the “Caesar Report” authors estimate that about 11,000 victims are pictured.

The forensic team examined about 5,500 of the images and found that almost all were of men aged 20 to 40; only one woman was pictured, and she was clothed; and there were no children in the images. The pathologists found that in a representative sample of images they studied, 62 percent showed emaciation. Nineteen percent showed neck injuries, and “16 percent showed evidence of ligature marks on the neck.”

Security Council sees grim images of Syrian dead

KDWN

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council fell silent Tuesday after ambassadors viewed a series of ghastly photographs of dead Syrian civil war victims, France’s ambassador said. The pictures showed people who were emaciated, with their bones protruding, and some bearing the marks of strangulation and repeated beatings, and eyes having been gouged out.

French Ambassador Gerard Araud said the pall of silence lingered, and then questions slowly began about the credibility of the slides of the dead, who offer mute testimony to the savagery of a Syrian civil war in which more than 150,000 have died.

The council members saw more than the 10 photos publicly released in January on the eve of the “Geneva 2″ peace talks as part of a forensic investigation funded by the government of Qatar – a major backer of the opposition and one of the nations most deeply involved in the Syrian conflict. France, which hosted the presentation at the Security Council and showed the images afterward at a news conference, said they are evidence of war crimes by the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The veracity of the photos could not be independently confirmed. Syria’s Justice Ministry has dismissed the photos and accompanying report as “lacking objectiveness and professionalism” and said some of the people were militants killed in battle and others were killed by militant groups.

Among the new photos was an image of at least a dozen bodies laid out on the floor of a warehouse, in the process of being wrapped in plastic sheets, with men in military garb standing among them. One of the authors of the report, former Sierra Leone Special Court prosecutor David M. Crane, said it was firm evidence of “industrialized systematic killing.”

“Bodies in, bodies out. It was a very systematic processing of human beings. They were laid out in a parking lot because there were too many to put into the morgue,” Crane said,

“Doesn’t this bring back some interesting images from Dachau, and Auschwitz, and Bergen-Belsen?” Crane observed, sitting in front of the grisly procession of photos projected behind him in a U.N. news conference.

“The gruesome images of corpses bearing marks of starvation, strangulation and beatings and today’s chilling briefing indicate that the Assad regime has carried out systematic, widespread and industrial killing. Nobody who sees these images will ever be the same,” U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said.

The photos were selected from among 55,000 images of tortured and slain Syrian war victims said to have been smuggled out of Syria.

The savagery of the victims’ last moments was obvious. One photograph of a person’s face showed an eye gouged out, and a spray of blood that gushed a few inches (centimeters) from the eye socket onto the ground beside the head.

Other bodies bore parallel marks that Dr. Stuart J. Hamilton said are known to forensic pathologists as a “tram-line bruise” caused by being struck with a rod. It leaves two parallel welts with a smooth space between them. One body had a series of such bruises up and down his torso. “In a fight or combat, the individual would be moving,” Hamilton said, so there would not be a regular pattern of stripes.

Crane said that these photos were “just the tip of the iceberg. We have a snapshot here of just three detention centers” that were funneling their victims to the photographers. He said that some 50 detention centers are known to exist in Syria.

The presentation at the Security Council was part of a process of documenting evidence of Syrian war crimes in the hope of eventually referring the perpetrators to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. But because Syria never accepted the jurisdiction of the ICC, the only way a case can be opened while Assad is in power is for the Security Council to order a referral. Russia and China have used their veto power three times to block resolutions threatening sanctions on Syria.

Araud said France would gladly support a referral of all war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria — by the Assad regime or by the rebels — to the International Criminal Court if Russia or China allowed it.

He and Crane explained that the trove of torture photos had come from a man code-named “Caesar” who had been a crime scene photographer for the Syrian military.

When the civil war began, he and his colleagues were reassigned to photograph the tortured bodies of rebels and dissidents, providing proof to the regime that its enemies had been liquidated in detention. Their relatives were told that the victims had died of “a heart attack or breathing problems.” Bodies were buried before relatives could view them.

A relative of “Caesar” who defected early in the civil war kept in contact with him, and persuaded “Caesar” to copy and collect the images over the next three years, the report says.

“Essentially, `Caesar’ became a spy,” Crane said.

Crane said he and his colleagues found “Caesar” to be credible when they interviewed him in January.

In the collection of 55,000 images, each body was photographed four or five times, so the “Caesar Report” authors estimate that about 11,000 victims are pictured.

The forensic team examined about 5,500 of the images and found that almost all were of men aged 20 to 40; only one woman was pictured, and she was clothed; and there were no children in the images. The pathologists found that in a representative sample of images they studied, 62 percent showed emaciation. Nineteen percent showed neck injuries, and “16 percent showed evidence of ligature marks on the neck.”

Security Council sees grim images of Syrian dead

KDWN

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council fell silent Tuesday after ambassadors viewed a series of ghastly photographs of dead Syrian civil war victims, France’s ambassador said. The pictures showed people who were emaciated, with their bones protruding, and some bearing the marks of strangulation and repeated beatings, and eyes having been gouged out.

French Ambassador Gerard Araud said the pall of silence lingered, and then questions slowly began about the credibility of the slides of the dead, who offer mute testimony to the savagery of a Syrian civil war in which more than 150,000 have died.

The council members saw more than the 10 photos publicly released in January on the eve of the “Geneva 2″ peace talks as part of a forensic investigation funded by the government of Qatar – a major backer of the opposition and one of the nations most deeply involved in the Syrian conflict. France, which hosted the presentation at the Security Council and showed the images afterward at a news conference, said they are evidence of war crimes by the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The veracity of the photos could not be independently confirmed. Syria’s Justice Ministry has dismissed the photos and accompanying report as “lacking objectiveness and professionalism” and said some of the people were militants killed in battle and others were killed by militant groups.

Among the new photos was an image of at least a dozen bodies laid out on the floor of a warehouse, in the process of being wrapped in plastic sheets, with men in military garb standing among them. One of the authors of the report, former Sierra Leone Special Court prosecutor David M. Crane, said it was firm evidence of “industrialized systematic killing.”

“Bodies in, bodies out. It was a very systematic processing of human beings. They were laid out in a parking lot because there were too many to put into the morgue,” Crane said,

“Doesn’t this bring back some interesting images from Dachau, and Auschwitz, and Bergen-Belsen?” Crane observed, sitting in front of the grisly procession of photos projected behind him in a U.N. news conference.

“The gruesome images of corpses bearing marks of starvation, strangulation and beatings and today’s chilling briefing indicate that the Assad regime has carried out systematic, widespread and industrial killing. Nobody who sees these images will ever be the same,” U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said.

The photos were selected from among 55,000 images of tortured and slain Syrian war victims said to have been smuggled out of Syria.

The savagery of the victims’ last moments was obvious. One photograph of a person’s face showed an eye gouged out, and a spray of blood that gushed a few inches (centimeters) from the eye socket onto the ground beside the head.

Other bodies bore parallel marks that Dr. Stuart J. Hamilton said are known to forensic pathologists as a “tram-line bruise” caused by being struck with a rod. It leaves two parallel welts with a smooth space between them. One body had a series of such bruises up and down his torso. “In a fight or combat, the individual would be moving,” Hamilton said, so there would not be a regular pattern of stripes.

Crane said that these photos were “just the tip of the iceberg. We have a snapshot here of just three detention centers” that were funneling their victims to the photographers. He said that some 50 detention centers are known to exist in Syria.

The presentation at the Security Council was part of a process of documenting evidence of Syrian war crimes in the hope of eventually referring the perpetrators to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. But because Syria never accepted the jurisdiction of the ICC, the only way a case can be opened while Assad is in power is for the Security Council to order a referral. Russia and China have used their veto power three times to block resolutions threatening sanctions on Syria.

Araud said France would gladly support a referral of all war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria — by the Assad regime or by the rebels — to the International Criminal Court if Russia or China allowed it.

He and Crane explained that the trove of torture photos had come from a man code-named “Caesar” who had been a crime scene photographer for the Syrian military.

When the civil war began, he and his colleagues were reassigned to photograph the tortured bodies of rebels and dissidents, providing proof to the regime that its enemies had been liquidated in detention. Their relatives were told that the victims had died of “a heart attack or breathing problems.” Bodies were buried before relatives could view them.

A relative of “Caesar” who defected early in the civil war kept in contact with him, and persuaded “Caesar” to copy and collect the images over the next three years, the report says.

“Essentially, `Caesar’ became a spy,” Crane said.

Crane said he and his colleagues found “Caesar” to be credible when they interviewed him in January.

In the collection of 55,000 images, each body was photographed four or five times, so the “Caesar Report” authors estimate that about 11,000 victims are pictured.

The forensic team examined about 5,500 of the images and found that almost all were of men aged 20 to 40; only one woman was pictured, and she was clothed; and there were no children in the images. The pathologists found that in a representative sample of images they studied, 62 percent showed emaciation. Nineteen percent showed neck injuries, and “16 percent showed evidence of ligature marks on the neck.”

Security Council sees grim images of Syrian dead

KDWN

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council fell silent Tuesday after ambassadors viewed a series of ghastly photographs of dead Syrian civil war victims, France’s ambassador said. The pictures showed people who were emaciated, with their bones protruding, and some bearing the marks of strangulation and repeated beatings, and eyes having been gouged out.

French Ambassador Gerard Araud said the pall of silence lingered, and then questions slowly began about the credibility of the slides of the dead, who offer mute testimony to the savagery of a Syrian civil war in which more than 150,000 have died.

The council members saw more than the 10 photos publicly released in January on the eve of the “Geneva 2″ peace talks as part of a forensic investigation funded by the government of Qatar – a major backer of the opposition and one of the nations most deeply involved in the Syrian conflict. France, which hosted the presentation at the Security Council and showed the images afterward at a news conference, said they are evidence of war crimes by the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The veracity of the photos could not be independently confirmed. Syria’s Justice Ministry has dismissed the photos and accompanying report as “lacking objectiveness and professionalism” and said some of the people were militants killed in battle and others were killed by militant groups.

Among the new photos was an image of at least a dozen bodies laid out on the floor of a warehouse, in the process of being wrapped in plastic sheets, with men in military garb standing among them. One of the authors of the report, former Sierra Leone Special Court prosecutor David M. Crane, said it was firm evidence of “industrialized systematic killing.”

“Bodies in, bodies out. It was a very systematic processing of human beings. They were laid out in a parking lot because there were too many to put into the morgue,” Crane said,

“Doesn’t this bring back some interesting images from Dachau, and Auschwitz, and Bergen-Belsen?” Crane observed, sitting in front of the grisly procession of photos projected behind him in a U.N. news conference.

“The gruesome images of corpses bearing marks of starvation, strangulation and beatings and today’s chilling briefing indicate that the Assad regime has carried out systematic, widespread and industrial killing. Nobody who sees these images will ever be the same,” U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said.

The photos were selected from among 55,000 images of tortured and slain Syrian war victims said to have been smuggled out of Syria.

The savagery of the victims’ last moments was obvious. One photograph of a person’s face showed an eye gouged out, and a spray of blood that gushed a few inches (centimeters) from the eye socket onto the ground beside the head.

Other bodies bore parallel marks that Dr. Stuart J. Hamilton said are known to forensic pathologists as a “tram-line bruise” caused by being struck with a rod. It leaves two parallel welts with a smooth space between them. One body had a series of such bruises up and down his torso. “In a fight or combat, the individual would be moving,” Hamilton said, so there would not be a regular pattern of stripes.

Crane said that these photos were “just the tip of the iceberg. We have a snapshot here of just three detention centers” that were funneling their victims to the photographers. He said that some 50 detention centers are known to exist in Syria.

The presentation at the Security Council was part of a process of documenting evidence of Syrian war crimes in the hope of eventually referring the perpetrators to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. But because Syria never accepted the jurisdiction of the ICC, the only way a case can be opened while Assad is in power is for the Security Council to order a referral. Russia and China have used their veto power three times to block resolutions threatening sanctions on Syria.

Araud said France would gladly support a referral of all war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria — by the Assad regime or by the rebels — to the International Criminal Court if Russia or China allowed it.

He and Crane explained that the trove of torture photos had come from a man code-named “Caesar” who had been a crime scene photographer for the Syrian military.

When the civil war began, he and his colleagues were reassigned to photograph the tortured bodies of rebels and dissidents, providing proof to the regime that its enemies had been liquidated in detention. Their relatives were told that the victims had died of “a heart attack or breathing problems.” Bodies were buried before relatives could view them.

A relative of “Caesar” who defected early in the civil war kept in contact with him, and persuaded “Caesar” to copy and collect the images over the next three years, the report says.

“Essentially, `Caesar’ became a spy,” Crane said.

Crane said he and his colleagues found “Caesar” to be credible when they interviewed him in January.

In the collection of 55,000 images, each body was photographed four or five times, so the “Caesar Report” authors estimate that about 11,000 victims are pictured.

The forensic team examined about 5,500 of the images and found that almost all were of men aged 20 to 40; only one woman was pictured, and she was clothed; and there were no children in the images. The pathologists found that in a representative sample of images they studied, 62 percent showed emaciation. Nineteen percent showed neck injuries, and “16 percent showed evidence of ligature marks on the neck.”

Security Council sees grim images of Syrian dead

KDWN

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council fell silent Tuesday after ambassadors viewed a series of ghastly photographs of dead Syrian civil war victims, France’s ambassador said. The pictures showed people who were emaciated, with their bones protruding, and some bearing the marks of strangulation and repeated beatings, and eyes having been gouged out.

French Ambassador Gerard Araud said the pall of silence lingered, and then questions slowly began about the credibility of the slides of the dead, who offer mute testimony to the savagery of a Syrian civil war in which more than 150,000 have died.

The council members saw more than the 10 photos publicly released in January on the eve of the “Geneva 2″ peace talks as part of a forensic investigation funded by the government of Qatar – a major backer of the opposition and one of the nations most deeply involved in the Syrian conflict. France, which hosted the presentation at the Security Council and showed the images afterward at a news conference, said they are evidence of war crimes by the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The veracity of the photos could not be independently confirmed. Syria’s Justice Ministry has dismissed the photos and accompanying report as “lacking objectiveness and professionalism” and said some of the people were militants killed in battle and others were killed by militant groups.

Among the new photos was an image of at least a dozen bodies laid out on the floor of a warehouse, in the process of being wrapped in plastic sheets, with men in military garb standing among them. One of the authors of the report, former Sierra Leone Special Court prosecutor David M. Crane, said it was firm evidence of “industrialized systematic killing.”

“Bodies in, bodies out. It was a very systematic processing of human beings. They were laid out in a parking lot because there were too many to put into the morgue,” Crane said,

“Doesn’t this bring back some interesting images from Dachau, and Auschwitz, and Bergen-Belsen?” Crane observed, sitting in front of the grisly procession of photos projected behind him in a U.N. news conference.

“The gruesome images of corpses bearing marks of starvation, strangulation and beatings and today’s chilling briefing indicate that the Assad regime has carried out systematic, widespread and industrial killing. Nobody who sees these images will ever be the same,” U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said.

The photos were selected from among 55,000 images of tortured and slain Syrian war victims said to have been smuggled out of Syria.

The savagery of the victims’ last moments was obvious. One photograph of a person’s face showed an eye gouged out, and a spray of blood that gushed a few inches (centimeters) from the eye socket onto the ground beside the head.

Other bodies bore parallel marks that Dr. Stuart J. Hamilton said are known to forensic pathologists as a “tram-line bruise” caused by being struck with a rod. It leaves two parallel welts with a smooth space between them. One body had a series of such bruises up and down his torso. “In a fight or combat, the individual would be moving,” Hamilton said, so there would not be a regular pattern of stripes.

Crane said that these photos were “just the tip of the iceberg. We have a snapshot here of just three detention centers” that were funneling their victims to the photographers. He said that some 50 detention centers are known to exist in Syria.

The presentation at the Security Council was part of a process of documenting evidence of Syrian war crimes in the hope of eventually referring the perpetrators to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. But because Syria never accepted the jurisdiction of the ICC, the only way a case can be opened while Assad is in power is for the Security Council to order a referral. Russia and China have used their veto power three times to block resolutions threatening sanctions on Syria.

Araud said France would gladly support a referral of all war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria — by the Assad regime or by the rebels — to the International Criminal Court if Russia or China allowed it.

He and Crane explained that the trove of torture photos had come from a man code-named “Caesar” who had been a crime scene photographer for the Syrian military.

When the civil war began, he and his colleagues were reassigned to photograph the tortured bodies of rebels and dissidents, providing proof to the regime that its enemies had been liquidated in detention. Their relatives were told that the victims had died of “a heart attack or breathing problems.” Bodies were buried before relatives could view them.

A relative of “Caesar” who defected early in the civil war kept in contact with him, and persuaded “Caesar” to copy and collect the images over the next three years, the report says.

“Essentially, `Caesar’ became a spy,” Crane said.

Crane said he and his colleagues found “Caesar” to be credible when they interviewed him in January.

In the collection of 55,000 images, each body was photographed four or five times, so the “Caesar Report” authors estimate that about 11,000 victims are pictured.

The forensic team examined about 5,500 of the images and found that almost all were of men aged 20 to 40; only one woman was pictured, and she was clothed; and there were no children in the images. The pathologists found that in a representative sample of images they studied, 62 percent showed emaciation. Nineteen percent showed neck injuries, and “16 percent showed evidence of ligature marks on the neck.”

Security Council sees grim images of Syrian dead

KDWN

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council fell silent Tuesday after ambassadors viewed a series of ghastly photographs of dead Syrian civil war victims, France’s ambassador said. The pictures showed people who were emaciated, with their bones protruding, and some bearing the marks of strangulation and repeated beatings, and eyes having been gouged out.

French Ambassador Gerard Araud said the pall of silence lingered, and then questions slowly began about the credibility of the slides of the dead, who offer mute testimony to the savagery of a Syrian civil war in which more than 150,000 have died.

The council members saw more than the 10 photos publicly released in January on the eve of the “Geneva 2″ peace talks as part of a forensic investigation funded by the government of Qatar – a major backer of the opposition and one of the nations most deeply involved in the Syrian conflict. France, which hosted the presentation at the Security Council and showed the images afterward at a news conference, said they are evidence of war crimes by the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The veracity of the photos could not be independently confirmed. Syria’s Justice Ministry has dismissed the photos and accompanying report as “lacking objectiveness and professionalism” and said some of the people were militants killed in battle and others were killed by militant groups.

Among the new photos was an image of at least a dozen bodies laid out on the floor of a warehouse, in the process of being wrapped in plastic sheets, with men in military garb standing among them. One of the authors of the report, former Sierra Leone Special Court prosecutor David M. Crane, said it was firm evidence of “industrialized systematic killing.”

“Bodies in, bodies out. It was a very systematic processing of human beings. They were laid out in a parking lot because there were too many to put into the morgue,” Crane said,

“Doesn’t this bring back some interesting images from Dachau, and Auschwitz, and Bergen-Belsen?” Crane observed, sitting in front of the grisly procession of photos projected behind him in a U.N. news conference.

“The gruesome images of corpses bearing marks of starvation, strangulation and beatings and today’s chilling briefing indicate that the Assad regime has carried out systematic, widespread and industrial killing. Nobody who sees these images will ever be the same,” U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said.

The photos were selected from among 55,000 images of tortured and slain Syrian war victims said to have been smuggled out of Syria.

The savagery of the victims’ last moments was obvious. One photograph of a person’s face showed an eye gouged out, and a spray of blood that gushed a few inches (centimeters) from the eye socket onto the ground beside the head.

Other bodies bore parallel marks that Dr. Stuart J. Hamilton said are known to forensic pathologists as a “tram-line bruise” caused by being struck with a rod. It leaves two parallel welts with a smooth space between them. One body had a series of such bruises up and down his torso. “In a fight or combat, the individual would be moving,” Hamilton said, so there would not be a regular pattern of stripes.

Crane said that these photos were “just the tip of the iceberg. We have a snapshot here of just three detention centers” that were funneling their victims to the photographers. He said that some 50 detention centers are known to exist in Syria.

The presentation at the Security Council was part of a process of documenting evidence of Syrian war crimes in the hope of eventually referring the perpetrators to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. But because Syria never accepted the jurisdiction of the ICC, the only way a case can be opened while Assad is in power is for the Security Council to order a referral. Russia and China have used their veto power three times to block resolutions threatening sanctions on Syria.

Araud said France would gladly support a referral of all war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria — by the Assad regime or by the rebels — to the International Criminal Court if Russia or China allowed it.

He and Crane explained that the trove of torture photos had come from a man code-named “Caesar” who had been a crime scene photographer for the Syrian military.

When the civil war began, he and his colleagues were reassigned to photograph the tortured bodies of rebels and dissidents, providing proof to the regime that its enemies had been liquidated in detention. Their relatives were told that the victims had died of “a heart attack or breathing problems.” Bodies were buried before relatives could view them.

A relative of “Caesar” who defected early in the civil war kept in contact with him, and persuaded “Caesar” to copy and collect the images over the next three years, the report says.

“Essentially, `Caesar’ became a spy,” Crane said.

Crane said he and his colleagues found “Caesar” to be credible when they interviewed him in January.

In the collection of 55,000 images, each body was photographed four or five times, so the “Caesar Report” authors estimate that about 11,000 victims are pictured.

The forensic team examined about 5,500 of the images and found that almost all were of men aged 20 to 40; only one woman was pictured, and she was clothed; and there were no children in the images. The pathologists found that in a representative sample of images they studied, 62 percent showed emaciation. Nineteen percent showed neck injuries, and “16 percent showed evidence of ligature marks on the neck.”

Security Council sees grim images of Syrian dead

KDWN

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council fell silent Tuesday after ambassadors viewed a series of ghastly photographs of dead Syrian civil war victims, France’s ambassador said. The pictures showed people who were emaciated, with their bones protruding, and some bearing the marks of strangulation and repeated beatings, and eyes having been gouged out.

French Ambassador Gerard Araud said the pall of silence lingered, and then questions slowly began about the credibility of the slides of the dead, who offer mute testimony to the savagery of a Syrian civil war in which more than 150,000 have died.

The council members saw more than the 10 photos publicly released in January on the eve of the “Geneva 2″ peace talks as part of a forensic investigation funded by the government of Qatar – a major backer of the opposition and one of the nations most deeply involved in the Syrian conflict. France, which hosted the presentation at the Security Council and showed the images afterward at a news conference, said they are evidence of war crimes by the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The veracity of the photos could not be independently confirmed. Syria’s Justice Ministry has dismissed the photos and accompanying report as “lacking objectiveness and professionalism” and said some of the people were militants killed in battle and others were killed by militant groups.

Among the new photos was an image of at least a dozen bodies laid out on the floor of a warehouse, in the process of being wrapped in plastic sheets, with men in military garb standing among them. One of the authors of the report, former Sierra Leone Special Court prosecutor David M. Crane, said it was firm evidence of “industrialized systematic killing.”

“Bodies in, bodies out. It was a very systematic processing of human beings. They were laid out in a parking lot because there were too many to put into the morgue,” Crane said,

“Doesn’t this bring back some interesting images from Dachau, and Auschwitz, and Bergen-Belsen?” Crane observed, sitting in front of the grisly procession of photos projected behind him in a U.N. news conference.

“The gruesome images of corpses bearing marks of starvation, strangulation and beatings and today’s chilling briefing indicate that the Assad regime has carried out systematic, widespread and industrial killing. Nobody who sees these images will ever be the same,” U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said.

The photos were selected from among 55,000 images of tortured and slain Syrian war victims said to have been smuggled out of Syria.

The savagery of the victims’ last moments was obvious. One photograph of a person’s face showed an eye gouged out, and a spray of blood that gushed a few inches (centimeters) from the eye socket onto the ground beside the head.

Other bodies bore parallel marks that Hamilton said are known to pathologists as a “tram-line bruise” caused by being struck with a rod. It leaves two parallel welts with a smooth space between them. Once body had a series of such bruises up and down his torso. “In a fight or combat, the individual would be moving,” forensic pathologist Dr. Stuart J. Hamilton said, so there would not be a regular pattern of stripes.

Crane said that these photos were “just the tip of the iceberg. We have a snapshot here of just three detention centers” that were funneling their victims to the photographers. He said that some 50 detention centers are known to exist in Syria.

The presentation at the Security Council was part of a process of documenting evidence of Syrian war crimes in the hope of eventually referring the perpetrators to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. But because Syria never accepted the jurisdiction of the ICC, the only way a case can be opened while Assad is in power is for the Security Council to order a referral. Russia and China have used their veto power three times to block resolutions threatening sanctions on Syria.

Araud said France would gladly support a referral of all war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria — by the Assad regime or by the rebels — to the International Criminal Court if Russia or China allowed it.

He and Crane explained that the trove of torture photos had come from a man code-named “Caesar” who had been a crime scene photographer for the Syrian military.

When the civil war began, he and his colleagues were reassigned to photograph the tortured bodies of rebels and dissidents, providing proof to the regime that its enemies had been liquidated in detention. Their relatives were told that the victims had died of “a heart attack or breathing problems.” Bodies were buried before relatives could view them.

A relative of “Caesar” who defected early in the civil war kept in contact with him, and persuaded “Caesar” to copy and collect the images over the next three years, the report says.

“Essentially, `Caesar’ became a spy,” Crane said.

Crane said he and his colleagues found “Caesar” to be credible when they interviewed him in January.

In the collection of 55,000 images, each body was photographed four or five times, so the “Caesar Report” authors estimate that about 11,000 victims are pictured.

The forensic team examined about 5,500 of the images and found that almost all were of men aged 20 to 40; only one woman was pictured, and she was clothed; and there were no children in the images. The pathologists found that in a representative sample of images they studied, 62 percent showed emaciation. Nineteen percent showed neck injuries, and “16 percent showed evidence of ligature marks on the neck.”

Security Council sees grim images of Syrian dead

KDWN

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council fell silent Tuesday after ambassadors viewed a series of ghastly photographs of dead Syrian civil war victims, France’s ambassador said. The pictures showed people who were emaciated, with their bones protruding, and some bearing the marks of strangulation and repeated beatings, and eyes having been gouged out.

French Ambassador Gerard Araud said the pall of silence lingered, and then questions slowly began about the credibility of the slides of the dead, who offer mute testimony to the savagery of a Syrian civil war in which more than 150,000 have died.

The council members saw more than the 10 photos publicly released in January on the eve of the “Geneva 2″ peace talks as part of a forensic investigation funded by the government of Qatar – a major backer of the opposition and one of the nations most deeply involved in the Syrian conflict. France, which hosted the presentation at the Security Council and showed the images afterward at a news conference, said they are evidence of war crimes by the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The veracity of the photos could not be independently confirmed. Syria’s Justice Ministry has dismissed the photos and accompanying report as “lacking objectiveness and professionalism” and said some of the people were militants killed in battle and others were killed by militant groups.

Among the new photos was an image of at least a dozen bodies laid out on the floor of a warehouse, in the process of being wrapped in plastic sheets, with men in military garb standing among them. One of the authors of the report, former Sierra Leone Special Court prosecutor David M. Crane, said it was firm evidence of “industrialized systematic killing.”

“Bodies in, bodies out. It was a very systematic processing of human beings. They were laid out in a parking lot because there were too many to put into the morgue,” Crane said,

“Doesn’t this bring back some interesting images from Dachau, and Auschwitz, and Bergen-Belsen?” Crane observed, sitting in front of the grisly procession of photos projected behind him in a U.N. news conference.

“The gruesome images of corpses bearing marks of starvation, strangulation and beatings and today’s chilling briefing indicate that the Assad regime has carried out systematic, widespread and industrial killing. Nobody who sees these images will ever be the same,” U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said.

The photos were selected from among 55,000 images of tortured and slain Syrian war victims said to have been smuggled out of Syria.

The savagery of the victims’ last moments was obvious. One photograph of a person’s face showed an eye gouged out, and a spray of blood that gushed a few inches (centimeters) from the eye socket onto the ground beside the head.

Other bodies bore parallel marks that Hamilton said are known to pathologists as a “tram-line bruise” caused by being struck with a rod. It leaves two parallel welts with a smooth space between them. Once body had a series of such bruises up and down his torso. “In a fight or combat, the individual would be moving,” forensic pathologist Dr. Stuart J. Hamilton said, so there would not be a regular pattern of stripes.

Crane said that these photos were “just the tip of the iceberg. We have a snapshot here of just three detention centers” that were funneling their victims to the photographers. He said that some 50 detention centers are known to exist in Syria.

The presentation at the Security Council was part of a process of documenting evidence of Syrian war crimes in the hope of eventually referring the perpetrators to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. But because Syria never accepted the jurisdiction of the ICC, the only way a case can be opened while Assad is in power is for the Security Council to order a referral. Russia and China have used their veto power three times to block resolutions threatening sanctions on Syria.

Araud said France would gladly support a referral of all war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria — by the Assad regime or by the rebels — to the International Criminal Court if Russia or China allowed it.

He and Crane explained that the trove of torture photos had come from a man code-named “Caesar” who had been a crime scene photographer for the Syrian military.

When the civil war began, he and his colleagues were reassigned to photograph the tortured bodies of rebels and dissidents, providing proof to the regime that its enemies had been liquidated in detention. Their relatives were told that the victims had died of “a heart attack or breathing problems.” Bodies were buried before relatives could view them.

A relative of “Caesar” who defected early in the civil war kept in contact with him, and persuaded “Caesar” to copy and collect the images over the next three years, the report says.

“Essentially, `Caesar’ became a spy,” Crane said.

Crane said he and his colleagues found “Caesar” to be credible when they interviewed him in January.

In the collection of 55,000 images, each body was photographed four or five times, so the “Caesar Report” authors estimate that about 11,000 victims are pictured.

The forensic team examined about 5,500 of the images and found that almost all were of men aged 20 to 40; only one woman was pictured, and she was clothed; and there were no children in the images. The pathologists found that in a representative sample of images they studied, 62 percent showed emaciation. Nineteen percent showed neck injuries, and “16 percent showed evidence of ligature marks on the neck.”

Security Council sees grim images of Syrian dead

KDWN

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council fell silent Tuesday after ambassadors viewed a series of ghastly photographs of dead Syrian civil war victims, France’s ambassador said. The pictures showed people who were emaciated, with their bones protruding, and some bearing the marks of strangulation and repeated beatings, and eyes having been gouged out.

French Ambassador Gerard Araud said the pall of silence lingered, and then questions slowly began about the credibility of the slides of the dead, who offer mute testimony to the savagery of a Syrian civil war in which more than 150,000 have died.

The council members saw more than the 10 photos publicly released in January on the eve of the “Geneva 2″ peace talks as part of a forensic investigation funded by the government of Qatar – a major backer of the opposition and one of the nations most deeply involved in the Syrian conflict. France, which hosted the presentation at the Security Council and showed the images afterward at a news conference, said they are evidence of war crimes by the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The veracity of the photos could not be independently confirmed. Syria’s Justice Ministry has dismissed the photos and accompanying report as “lacking objectiveness and professionalism” and said some of the people were militants killed in battle and others were killed by militant groups.

Among the new photos was an image of at least a dozen bodies laid out on the floor of a warehouse, in the process of being wrapped in plastic sheets, with men in military garb standing among them. One of the authors of the report, former Sierra Leone Special Court prosecutor David M. Crane, said it was firm evidence of “industrialized systematic killing.”

“Bodies in, bodies out. It was a very systematic processing of human beings. They were laid out in a parking lot because there were too many to put into the morgue,” Crane said,

“Doesn’t this bring back some interesting images from Dachau, and Auschwitz, and Bergen-Belsen?” Crane observed, sitting in front of the grisly procession of photos projected behind him in a U.N. news conference.

“The gruesome images of corpses bearing marks of starvation, strangulation and beatings and today’s chilling briefing indicate that the Assad regime has carried out systematic, widespread and industrial killing. Nobody who sees these images will ever be the same,” U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said.

The photos were selected from among 55,000 images of tortured and slain Syrian war victims said to have been smuggled out of Syria.

The savagery of the victims’ last moments was obvious. One photograph of a person’s face showed an eye gouged out, and a spray of blood that gushed a few inches (centimeters) from the eye socket onto the ground beside the head.

Other bodies bore parallel marks that Hamilton said are known to pathologists as a “tram-line bruise” caused by being struck with a rod. It leaves two parallel welts with a smooth space between them. Once body had a series of such bruises up and down his torso. “In a fight or combat, the individual would be moving,” forensic pathologist Dr. Stuart J. Hamilton said, so there would not be a regular pattern of stripes.

Crane said that these photos were “just the tip of the iceberg. We have a snapshot here of just three detention centers” that were funneling their victims to the photographers. He said that some 50 detention centers are known to exist in Syria.

The presentation at the Security Council was part of a process of documenting evidence of Syrian war crimes in the hope of eventually referring the perpetrators to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. But because Syria never accepted the jurisdiction of the ICC, the only way a case can be opened while Assad is in power is for the Security Council to order a referral. Russia and China have used their veto power three times to block resolutions threatening sanctions on Syria.

Araud said France would gladly support a referral of all war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria — by the Assad regime or by the rebels — to the International Criminal Court if Russia or China allowed it.

He and Crane explained that the trove of torture photos had come from a man code-named “Caesar” who had been a crime scene photographer for the Syrian military.

When the civil war began, he and his colleagues were reassigned to photograph the tortured bodies of rebels and dissidents, providing proof to the regime that its enemies had been liquidated in detention. Their relatives were told that the victims had died of “a heart attack or breathing problems.” Bodies were buried before relatives could view them.

A relative of “Caesar” who defected early in the civil war kept in contact with him, and persuaded “Caesar” to copy and collect the images over the next three years, the report says.

“Essentially, `Caesar’ became a spy,” Crane said.

Crane said he and his colleagues found “Caesar” to be credible when they interviewed him in January.

In the collection of 55,000 images, each body was photographed four or five times, so the “Caesar Report” authors estimate that about 11,000 victims are pictured.

The forensic team examined about 5,500 of the images and found that almost all were of men aged 20 to 40; only one woman was pictured, and she was clothed; and there were no children in the images. The pathologists found that in a representative sample of images they studied, 62 percent showed emaciation. Nineteen percent showed neck injuries, and “16 percent showed evidence of ligature marks on the neck.”

Security Council sees grim images of Syrian dead

KDWN

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council fell silent Tuesday after ambassadors viewed a series of ghastly photographs of dead Syrian civil war victims, France’s ambassador said. The pictures showed people who were emaciated, with their bones protruding, and some bearing the marks of strangulation and repeated beatings, and eyes having been gouged out.

French Ambassador Gerard Araud said the pall of silence lingered, and then questions slowly began about the credibility of the slides of the dead, who offer mute testimony to the savagery of a Syrian civil war in which more than 150,000 have died.

The council members were shown more than the 10 photos publicly released in January as part of a forensic investigation funded by the government of Qatar – a major backer of the opposition and one of the nations most deeply involved in the Syrian conflict. France, which hosted the presentation at the Security Council and a showing of the images afterward at a news conference, said they are evidence of war crimes by the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The veracity of the photos could not be independently confirmed.

Syria’s Justice Ministry has dismissed the photos and accompanying report as “politicized and lacking objectiveness and professionalism,” a “gathering of images of unidentified people, some of whom have turned out to be foreigners.”

The ministry said some of the people were militants killed in battle and others were killed by militant groups.

Among the new photos was an image of at least a dozen bodies laid out on the floor of a warehouse, being wrapping in plastic sheets with men in military garb standing among them.

One of the authors of the report, former Sierra Leone Special Court prosecutor David M. Crane, said it was firm evidence of “industrialized systematic killing.”

“Bodies in, bodies out. It was a very systematic processing of human beings. They were laid out in a parking lot because there were too many to put into the morgue,” Crane said,

“They died in agony over months of starvation and torture, and then almost mercifully were executed,” Crane said. “Doesn’t this bring back some interesting images from Dachau, and Auschwitz, and Bergen-Belsen?” Crane observed, sitting in front of the grisly procession of photos projected behind him in a U.N. news conference.

“The gruesome images of corpses bearing marks of starvation, strangulation and beatings and today’s chilling briefing indicate that the Assad regime has carried out systematic, widespread and industrial killing. Nobody who sees these images will ever be the same,” U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said.

The photos were selected from among 55,000 images of tortured and slain Syrian war victims said to have been smuggled out of Syria.

The faces and genitals of victims were blurred in the photos “as a legal and ethical matter to protect the decency of the victims” and so that relatives of the dead would not recognize the bodies and learn of their murder through a news conference, forensic pathologist Dr. Stuart J. Hamilton. Identification numbers for the bodies were also blurred or blacked out, as were identifying marks on the bodies such birthmarks, scars or tattoos.

The savagery of the victims’ last moments was obvious. One photograph of a person’s face showed an eye gouged out, and a spray of blood that gushed a few inches from the eye socket onto the ground beside the head.

Other bodies bore parallel marks that Hamilton said is known to pathologists as a “tram-line bruise” caused by being struck with a rod. It leaves two parallel welts with a smooth space between them. One body had a series of such bruises up and down his torso. “In a fight or combat, the individual would be moving,” Hamilton said, so there would not be a regular pattern of stripes.

Security Council sees grim images of Syrian dead

KDWN

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — France’s ambassador says the members of the U.N. Security Council fell silent after viewing a series of ghastly photographs of dead Syrian civil war victims. The pictures show people who were emaciated, with their bones protruding, and some bearing the marks of strangulation.

Ambassador Gerard Araud says the pall of silence lingered, and then questions slowly began about the credibility of the slides of the dead, who offer mute testimony to the savagery of a Syrian civil war in which more than 150,000 have died.

The council members saw more photos than the 10 publicly released in January in a study funded by the government of Qatar, a major backer of the opposition and one of the nations most deeply involved in the Syrian conflict.

Security Council sees grim images of Syrian dead

KDWN

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The bodies of the young men in the photographs are emaciated, their bones protruding. Starvation was only one form of torture they endured. Some bear the marks of strangulation. Others have vivid bruises and welts from being beaten.

On Tuesday, the Security Council met privately to view projected slides of the dead, who offer mute testimony to the savagery of a Syrian civil war in which more than 150,000 have died.

Ten of the photos were publicly released in January in a study known as the “Caesar Report,” which was funded by the government of Qatar, a major backer of the opposition and one of the countries most deeply involved in the Syrian conflict. More will be seen Tuesday by the council.

The photos could not be independently confirmed.

France, which is hosting the closed-door meeting, says the photos to be displayed are part of a collection of 55,000 digital images of Syrians who were tortured and slain by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime. France says a majority of them were collected by a Syrian military police photographer code-named “Caesar,” who smuggled them out on flash drives when he defected.

Syria’s Justice Ministry has dismissed the photos and accompanying report as “politicized and lacking objectiveness and professionalism,” a “gathering of images of unidentified people, some of whom have turned out to be foreigners.” The ministry said some of the people were militants killed in battle and others were killed by militant groups.

The presentation at the Security Council is part of a process of documenting evidence of Syrian war crimes in the hope of eventually referring the perpetrators to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

That is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Because Syria never accepted the jurisdiction of the ICC, the only way a case can be opened while Assad is in power is for the Security Council to order a referral.

Russia and China have used their veto power three times to block resolutions threatening sanctions on Syria. The hope is that Russia and China will eventually agree to an ICC referral if a resolution names both Syrian government officials and rebels as war crimes perpetrators, according to a Western diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity because no resolution is in the works.

U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay has been pushing the council to refer Syria to the ICC for three years, but Security Council President U. Joy Ogwu said last week there is no consensus for such a step.

Still, France’s U.N. mission said in a statement that the meeting Tuesday “will also allow a discussion on the means to ensure accountability for these crimes.”

Pillay said last week that abuses by both the Syrian government and rebels should be documented and brought to the international court. But she added, “you cannot compare the two. Clearly, the actions of the forces of the government … killings, cruelty, persons in detention, disappearances, far outweigh those by the opposition.”

Two of the authors of the “Caesar Report” will brief the council: David M. Crane, who was first chief prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and Dr. Stuart J. Hamilton, a forensic pathologist from Britain. The third author was Sir Geoffrey Nice, the lead prosecutor of former President Slobodan Milosevic before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

“Caesar” had been a crime scene photographer for the Syrian military, the report says. When the civil war began, he and his colleagues were reassigned to photograph the tortured bodies of rebels and dissidents, providing proof to the regime that its enemies had been liquidated in detention. Victims were assigned a code number. Their relatives were told that the victims had died of “a heart attack or breathing problems” and their number was reassigned to a hospital. Bodies were then buried before relatives could view them.

A relative of “Caesar” who defected early in the civil war kept in contact with him, and persuaded “Caesar” to collect the images over the next three years, the report says. The report’s authors found “Caesar” to be credible when they debriefed him in January, they wrote. They said “he made it plain that he had never witnessed a single execution,” though he and his team had to photograph as many as 50 bodies a day.

In the collection of 55,000 images, each body was photographed four or five times, so the authors estimate that about 11,000 victims are pictured.

“Caesar” smuggled out almost 27,000 of the images, the report said. It said the others came from similar, unnamed sources.

The forensic team examined about 5,500 of the images and found that almost all were of men aged 20 to 40; only one woman was pictured, and she was clothed; and there were no children in the images.

The forensic team found that in a representative sample of images they studied, 62 percent showed emaciation. Nineteen percent showed neck injuries, and “16 percent showed evidence of ligature marks on the neck.”

Based on the systematic pattern of injuries, the report said “there is clear evidence, capable of being believed by a tribunal of fact in a court of law, of systematic torture and killing of detained persons by the agents of the Syrian government” that would support “crimes against humanity” charges against the Assad regime.

Security Council sees grim images of Syrian dead

KDWN

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The bodies of the young men in the photographs are emaciated, their bones protruding. Starvation was only one form of torture they endured. Some bear the marks of strangulation. Others have vivid bruises and welts from being beaten.

On Tuesday, the Security Council will meet privately to view projected slides of the dead, who offer mute testimony to the savagery of a Syrian civil war in which more than 150,000 have died.

Ten of the photos were publicly released in January in a study known as the “Caesar Report,” which was funded by the government of Qatar, a major backer of the opposition and one of the countries most deeply involved in the Syrian conflict. More will be seen Tuesday by the council.

The photos could not be independently confirmed.

France, which is hosting the closed-door meeting, says the photos to be displayed are part of a collection of 55,000 digital images of Syrians who were tortured and slain by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime. France says a majority of them were collected by a Syrian military police photographer code-named “Caesar,” who smuggled them out on flash drives when he defected.

Syria’s Justice Ministry has dismissed the photos and accompanying report as “politicized and lacking objectiveness and professionalism,” a “gathering of images of unidentified people, some of whom have turned out to be foreigners.” The ministry said some of the people were militants killed in battle and others were killed by militant groups.

The presentation at the Security Council is part of a process of documenting evidence of Syrian war crimes in the hope of eventually referring the perpetrators to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

That is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Because Syria never accepted the jurisdiction of the ICC, the only way a case can be opened while Assad is in power is for the Security Council to order a referral.

Russia and China have used their veto power three times to block resolutions threatening sanctions on Syria. The hope is that Russia and China will eventually agree to an ICC referral if a resolution names both Syrian government officials and rebels as war crimes perpetrators, according to a Western diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity because no resolution is in the works.

U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay has been pushing the council to refer Syria to the ICC for three years, but Security Council President U. Joy Ogwu said last week there is no consensus for such a step.

Still, France’s U.N. mission said in a statement that the meeting Tuesday “will also allow a discussion on the means to ensure accountability for these crimes.”

Pillay said last week that abuses by both the Syrian government and rebels should be documented and brought to the international court. But she added, “you cannot compare the two. Clearly, the actions of the forces of the government … killings, cruelty, persons in detention, disappearances, far outweigh those by the opposition.”

Two of the authors of the “Caesar Report” will brief the council: David M. Crane, who was first chief prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and Dr. Stuart J. Hamilton, a forensic pathologist from Britain. The third author was Sir Geoffrey Nice, the lead prosecutor of former President Slobodan Milosevic before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

“Caesar” had been a crime scene photographer for the Syrian military, the report says. When the civil war began, he and his colleagues were reassigned to photograph the tortured bodies of rebels and dissidents, providing proof to the regime that its enemies had been liquidated in detention. Victims were assigned a code number. Their relatives were told that the victims had died of “a heart attack or breathing problems” and their number was reassigned to a hospital. Bodies were then buried before relatives could view them.

A relative of “Caesar” who defected early in the civil war kept in contact with him, and persuaded “Caesar” to collect the images over the next three years, the report says. The report’s authors found “Caesar” to be credible when they debriefed him in January, they wrote. They said “he made it plain that he had never witnessed a single execution,” though he and his team had to photograph as many as 50 bodies a day.

In the collection of 55,000 images, each body was photographed four or five times, so the authors estimate that about 11,000 victims are pictured.

“Caesar” smuggled out almost 27,000 of the images, the report said. It said the others came from similar, unnamed sources.

The forensic team examined about 5,500 of the images and found that almost all were of men aged 20 to 40; only one woman was pictured, and she was clothed; and there were no children in the images.

The forensic team found that in a representative sample of images they studied, 62 percent showed emaciation. Nineteen percent showed neck injuries, and “16 percent showed evidence of ligature marks on the neck.”

Based on the systematic pattern of injuries, the report said “there is clear evidence, capable of being believed by a tribunal of fact in a court of law, of systematic torture and killing of detained persons by the agents of the Syrian government” that would support “crimes against humanity” charges against the Assad regime.

Security Council sees grim images of Syrian dead

KDWN

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The bodies of the young men in the photographs are emaciated, their bones protruding. Starvation was only one form of torture they endured. Some bear the marks of strangulation. Others have vivid bruises and welts from being beaten.

On Tuesday, the Security Council will meet privately to view projected slides of the dead, who offer mute testimony to the savagery of a Syrian civil war in which more than 150,000 have died.

Ten of the photos were publicly released in January in a study known as the “Caesar Report,” which was funded by the government of Qatar, a major backer of the opposition and one of the countries most deeply involved in the Syrian conflict. More will be seen Tuesday by the council.

The photos could not be independently confirmed.

France, which is hosting the closed-door meeting, says the photos to be displayed are part of a collection of 55,000 digital images of Syrians who were tortured and slain by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime. France says a majority of them were collected by a Syrian military police photographer code-named “Caesar,” who smuggled them out on flash drives when he defected.

Syria’s Justice Ministry has dismissed the photos and accompanying report as “politicized and lacking objectiveness and professionalism,” a “gathering of images of unidentified people, some of whom have turned out to be foreigners.” The ministry said some of the people were militants killed in battle and others were killed by militant groups.

The presentation at the Security Council is part of a process of documenting evidence of Syrian war crimes in the hope of eventually referring the perpetrators to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

That is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Because Syria never accepted the jurisdiction of the ICC, the only way a case can be opened while Assad is in power is for the Security Council to order a referral.

Russia and China have used their veto power three times to block resolutions threatening sanctions on Syria. The hope is that Russia and China will eventually agree to an ICC referral if a resolution names both Syrian government officials and rebels as war crimes perpetrators, according to a Western diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity because no resolution is in the works.

U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay has been pushing the council to refer Syria to the ICC for three years, but Security Council President U. Joy Ogwu said last week there is no consensus for such a step.

Still, France’s U.N. mission said in a statement that the meeting Tuesday “will also allow a discussion on the means to ensure accountability for these crimes.”

Pillay said last week that abuses by both the Syrian government and rebels should be documented and brought to the international court. But she added, “you cannot compare the two. Clearly, the actions of the forces of the government … killings, cruelty, persons in detention, disappearances, far outweigh those by the opposition.”

Two of the authors of the “Caesar Report” will brief the council: David M. Crane, who was first chief prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and Dr. Stuart J. Hamilton, a forensic pathologist from Britain. The third author was Sir Geoffrey Nice, the lead prosecutor of former President Slobodan Milosevic before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

“Caesar” had been a crime scene photographer for the Syrian military, the report says. When the civil war began, he and his colleagues were reassigned to photograph the tortured bodies of rebels and dissidents, providing proof to the regime that its enemies had been liquidated in detention. Victims were assigned a code number. Their relatives were told that the victims had died of “a heart attack or breathing problems” and their number was reassigned to a hospital. Bodies were then buried before relatives could view them.

A relative of “Caesar” who defected early in the civil war kept in contact with him, and persuaded “Caesar” to collect the images over the next three years, the report says. The report’s authors found “Caesar” to be credible when they debriefed him in January, they wrote. They said “he made it plain that he had never witnessed a single execution,” though he and his team had to photograph as many as 50 bodies a day.

In the collection of 55,000 images, each body was photographed four or five times, so the authors estimate that about 11,000 victims are pictured.

“Caesar” smuggled out almost 27,000 of the images, the report said. It said the others came from similar, unnamed sources.

The forensic team examined about 5,500 of the images and found that almost all were of men aged 20 to 40; only one woman was pictured, and she was clothed; and there were no children in the images.

The forensic team found that in a representative sample of images they studied, 62 percent showed emaciation. Nineteen percent showed neck injuries, and “16 percent showed evidence of ligature marks on the neck.”

Based on the systematic pattern of injuries, the report said “there is clear evidence, capable of being believed by a tribunal of fact in a court of law, of systematic torture and killing of detained persons by the agents of the Syrian government” that would support “crimes against humanity” charges against the Assad regime.

Security Council sees grim images of Syrian dead

KDWN

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The bodies of the young men in the photographs are emaciated, their bones protruding. Starvation was only one form of torture they endured. Some bear the marks of strangulation. Others have vivid bruises and welts from being beaten.

On Tuesday, the Security Council will meet privately to view projected slides of the dead, who offer mute testimony to the savagery of a Syrian civil war in which more than 150,000 have died.

France, which is hosting the closed-door meeting, says the photos to be displayed are part of a collection of 55,000 digital images of Syrians who were tortured and slain by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime. France says a majority of them were collected by a Syrian military police photographer code-named “Caesar,” who smuggled them out on flash drives when he defected.

Syria’s Justice Ministry has dismissed the photos and accompanying report as “politicized and lacking objectiveness and professionalism,” a “gathering of images of unidentified people, some of whom have turned out to be foreigners.” The ministry said some of the people were militants killed in battle and others were killed by militant groups.

The presentation at the Security Council is part of a process of documenting evidence of Syrian war crimes in the hope of eventually referring the perpetrators to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

That is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Because Syria never accepted the jurisdiction of the ICC, the only way a case can be opened while Assad is in power is for the Security Council to order a referral.

Russia and China have used their veto power three times to block resolutions threatening sanctions on Syria. The hope is that Russia and China will eventually agree to an ICC referral if a resolution names both Syrian government officials and rebels as war crimes perpetrators, according to a Western diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity because no resolution is in the works.

U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay has been pushing the council to refer Syria to the ICC for three years, but Security Council President U. Joy Ogwu said last week there is no consensus for such a step.

Still, France’s U.N. mission said in a statement that the meeting Tuesday “will also allow a discussion on the means to ensure accountability for these crimes.”

Pillay said last week that abuses by both the Syrian government and rebels should be documented and brought to the international court. But she added, “you cannot compare the two. Clearly, the actions of the forces of the government … killings, cruelty, persons in detention, disappearances, far outweigh those by the opposition.”

Ten of the photos were publicly released in January in a study known as the “Caesar Report,” which was funded by the government of Qatar, one of the countries most deeply involved in the Syrian conflict and a major backer of the opposition. More will be seen Tuesday by the council.

Two of the authors of the “Caesar Report” will brief the council: David M. Crane, who was first chief prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and Dr. Stuart J. Hamilton, a forensic pathologist from Britain. The third author was Sir Geoffrey Nice, the lead prosecutor of former President Slobodan Milosevic before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

“Caesar” had been a crime scene photographer for the Syrian military, the report says. When the civil war began, he and his colleagues were reassigned to photograph the tortured bodies of rebels and dissidents, providing proof to the regime that its enemies had been liquidated in detention. Victims were assigned a code number. Their relatives were told that the victims had died of “a heart attack or breathing problems” and their number was reassigned to a hospital. Bodies were then buried before relatives could view them.

A relative of “Caesar” who defected early in the civil war kept in contact with him, and persuaded “Caesar” to collect the images over the next three years, the report says. The report’s authors found “Caesar” to be credible when they debriefed him in January, they wrote. They said “he made it plain that he had never witnessed a single execution,” though he and his team had to photograph as many as 50 bodies a day.

In the collection of 55,000 images, each body was photographed four or five times, so the authors estimate that about 11,000 victims are pictured.

“Caesar” smuggled out almost 27,000 of the images, the report said. It said the others came from similar, unnamed sources.

The forensic team examined about 5,500 of the images and found that almost all were of men aged 20 to 40; only one woman was pictured, and she was clothed; and there were no children in the images.

The forensic team found that in a representative sample of images they studied, 62 percent showed emaciation. Nineteen percent showed neck injuries, and “16 percent showed evidence of ligature marks on the neck.”

Based on the systematic pattern of injuries, the report said “there is clear evidence, capable of being believed by a tribunal of fact in a court of law, of systematic torture and killing of detained persons by the agents of the Syrian government” that would support “crimes against humanity” charges against the Assad regime.

Security Council sees grim images of Syrian dead

KDWN

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The bodies of the young men in the photographs are emaciated, their bones protruding. Starvation was only one form of torture they endured. Some bear the marks of strangulation. Others have vivid bruises and welts from being beaten.

On Tuesday, the Security Council will meet privately to view projected slides of the dead, who offer mute testimony to the savagery of a Syrian civil war in which more than 150,000 have died.

France, which is hosting the closed-door meeting, says the photos to be displayed are part of a collection of 55,000 digital images of Syrians who were tortured and slain by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime. France says a majority of them were collected by a Syrian military police photographer code-named “Caesar,” who smuggled them out on flash drives when he defected.

Syria’s Justice Ministry has dismissed the photos and accompanying report as “politicized and lacking objectiveness and professionalism,” a “gathering of images of unidentified people, some of whom have turned out to be foreigners.” The ministry said some of the people were militants killed in battle and others were killed by militant groups.

The presentation at the Security Council is part of a process of documenting evidence of Syrian war crimes in the hope of eventually referring the perpetrators to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

That is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Because Syria never accepted the jurisdiction of the ICC, the only way a case can be opened while Assad is in power is for the Security Council to order a referral.

Russia and China have used their veto power three times to block resolutions threatening sanctions on Syria. The hope is that Russia and China will eventually agree to an ICC referral if a resolution names both Syrian government officials and rebels as war crimes perpetrators, according to a Western diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity because no resolution is in the works.

U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay has been pushing the council to refer Syria to the ICC for three years, but Security Council President U. Joy Ogwu said last week there is no consensus for such a step.

Still, France’s U.N. mission said in a statement that the meeting Tuesday “will also allow a discussion on the means to ensure accountability for these crimes.”

Pillay said last week that abuses by both the Syrian government and rebels should be documented and brought to the international court. But she added, “you cannot compare the two. Clearly, the actions of the forces of the government … killings, cruelty, persons in detention, disappearances, far outweigh those by the opposition.”

Ten of the photos were publicly released in January in a study known as the “Caesar Report,” which was funded by the government of Qatar, one of the countries most deeply involved in the Syrian conflict and a major backer of the opposition. More will be seen Tuesday by the council.

Two of the authors of the “Caesar Report” will brief the council: David M. Crane, who was first chief prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and Dr. Stuart J. Hamilton, a forensic pathologist from Britain. The third author was Sir Geoffrey Nice, the lead prosecutor of former President Slobodan Milosevic before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

“Caesar” had been a crime scene photographer for the Syrian military, the report says. When the civil war began, he and his colleagues were reassigned to photograph the tortured bodies of rebels and dissidents, providing proof to the regime that its enemies had been liquidated in detention. Victims were assigned a code number. Their relatives were told that the victims had died of “a heart attack or breathing problems” and their number was reassigned to a hospital. Bodies were then buried before relatives could view them.

A relative of “Caesar” who defected early in the civil war kept in contact with him, and persuaded “Caesar” to collect the images over the next three years, the report says. The report’s authors found “Caesar” to be credible when they debriefed him in January, they wrote. They said “he made it plain that he had never witnessed a single execution,” though he and his team had to photograph as many as 50 bodies a day.

In the collection of 55,000 images, each body was photographed four or five times, so the authors estimate that about 11,000 victims are pictured.

“Caesar” smuggled out almost 27,000 of the images, the report said. It said the others came from similar, unnamed sources.

The forensic team examined about 5,500 of the images and found that almost all were of men aged 20 to 40; only one woman was pictured, and she was clothed; and there were no children in the images.

The forensic team found that in a representative sample of images they studied, 62 percent showed emaciation. Nineteen percent showed neck injuries, and “16 percent showed evidence of ligature marks on the neck.”

Based on the systematic pattern of injuries, the report said “there is clear evidence, capable of being believed by a tribunal of fact in a court of law, of systematic torture and killing of detained persons by the agents of the Syrian government” that would support “crimes against humanity” charges against the Assad regime.

Security Council sees grim images of Syrian dead

KDWN

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The bodies of the young men in the photographs are emaciated, their bones protruding. Starvation was only one form of torture they endured. Some bear the marks of strangulation. Others have vivid bruises and welts from being beaten.

On Tuesday, the Security Council will meet privately to view projected slides of the dead, who offer mute testimony to the savagery of a Syrian civil war in which more than 150,000 have died.

France, which is hosting the closed-door meeting, says the photos to be displayed are part of a collection of 55,000 digital images of Syrians who were tortured and slain by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime. France says a majority of them were collected by a Syrian military police photographer code-named “Caesar,” who smuggled them out on flash drives when he defected.

Syria’s Justice Ministry has dismissed the photos and accompanying report as “politicized and lacking objectiveness and professionalism,” a “gathering of images of unidentified people, some of whom have turned out to be foreigners.” The ministry said some of the people were militants killed in battle and others were killed by militant groups.

The presentation at the Security Council is part of a process of documenting evidence of Syrian war crimes in the hope of eventually referring the perpetrators to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

That is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Because Syria never accepted the jurisdiction of the ICC, the only way a case can be opened while Assad is in power is for the Security Council to order a referral.

Russia and China have used their veto power three times to block resolutions threatening sanctions on Syria. The hope is that Russia and China will eventually agree to an ICC referral if a resolution names both Syrian government officials and rebels as war crimes perpetrators, according to a Western diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity because no resolution is in the works.

U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay has been pushing the council to refer Syria to the ICC for three years, but Security Council President U. Joy Ogwu said last week there is no consensus for such a step.

Still, France’s U.N. mission said in a statement that the meeting Tuesday “will also allow a discussion on the means to ensure accountability for these crimes.”

Pillay said last week that abuses by both the Syrian government and rebels should be documented and brought to the international court. But she added, “you cannot compare the two. Clearly, the actions of the forces of the government … killings, cruelty, persons in detention, disappearances, far outweigh those by the opposition.”

Ten of the photos were publicly released in January in a study known as the “Caesar Report,” which was funded by the government of Qatar, one of the countries most deeply involved in the Syrian conflict and a major backer of the opposition. More will be seen Tuesday by the council.

Two of the authors of the “Caesar Report” will brief the council: David M. Crane, who was first chief prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and Dr. Stuart J. Hamilton, a forensic pathologist from Britain. The third author was Sir Geoffrey Nice, the lead prosecutor of former President Slobodan Milosevic before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

“Caesar” had been a crime scene photographer for the Syrian military, the report says. When the civil war began, he and his colleagues were reassigned to photograph the tortured bodies of rebels and dissidents, providing proof to the regime that its enemies had been liquidated in detention. Victims were assigned a code number. Their relatives were told that the victims had died of “a heart attack or breathing problems” and their number was reassigned to a hospital. Bodies were then buried before relatives could view them.

A relative of “Caesar” who defected early in the civil war kept in contact with him, and persuaded “Caesar” to collect the images over the next three years, the report says. The report’s authors found “Caesar” to be credible when they debriefed him in January, they wrote. They said “he made it plain that he had never witnessed a single execution,” though he and his team had to photograph as many as 50 bodies a day.

In the collection of 55,000 images, each body was photographed four or five times, so the authors estimate that about 11,000 victims are pictured.

“Caesar” smuggled out almost 27,000 of the images, the report said. It said the others came from similar, unnamed sources.

The forensic team examined about 5,500 of the images and found that almost all were of men aged 20 to 40; only one woman was pictured, and she was clothed; and there were no children in the images.

The forensic team found that in a representative sample of images they studied, 62 percent showed emaciation. Nineteen percent showed neck injuries, and “16 percent showed evidence of ligature marks on the neck.”

Based on the systematic pattern of injuries, the report said “there is clear evidence, capable of being believed by a tribunal of fact in a court of law, of systematic torture and killing of detained persons by the agents of the Syrian government” that would support “crimes against humanity” charges against the Assad regime.