Thursday, an Internet video from Syria, apparently shows antigovernment fighters executing and mutilating a group of captured militiamen. If the tape is authenticated, it could be evidence of a war crime used in prosecution.
The tape is an example of the 20-month long conflict between government and rebel forces in Syria. U.N. spokesperson Rupert Colville told reporters: “It looks very likely that this is a war crime, another one.” The deputy director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa program stated the video is an: “Utter disregard for international humanitarian law by the armed group in question.”
In July the International Committee of the Red Cross declared that Syria, involved in a civil war, is subject to the Geneva Conventions. This means a soldier with no protection and not in combat is considered a war crime. The highly graphic video includes 10 prisoners, who are kicked and shot at from all different directions. The video even gave rise to protests within Syria, and some say the video is not a true representation of the values of the revolution. Nevertheless, the videos provide insight into the conflict in a region where the media is severely restricted.
This is just one of thousands of videos that have been posted since the revolution began. The issue is that some of the videos cannot be corroborated, and there is a chance some of them have been digitally altered or fabricated entirely. The videos have been collected and analyzed by the U.N. investigators, to use as possible evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Commenting on the video from his Facebook page, Iyas Kadouni wrote: “We are asking for a change for the better and to liberate the country from murderers. I’m not being insensitive about what we’ve all been feeling because of the innocent blood that has been spilled, but this not how we obtain our rights.” As an activist in Saraqib, Mr. Kadouni received death threats following his post online.
In viewing the video, do you think those responsible should be subject to prosecution for committing war crimes? Does it satisfy the guidelines of the Geneva Convention? How should the U.N. investigators go about handling the situation in Syria?