“We have had absolutely no success” holding perpetrators of war crimes in Syria to account, the prosecutor said.
“For five years we’ve been running up against walls.” Faced with a powerless UN and no prospect of an International Criminal Court tribunal, transitional justice and human rights lawyers have begun trying new tactics.
In Military Intelligence Branch 235, she slept in a three by four metre cell with up to 48 other women that was so cramped the prisoners had to sleep in shifts.
They were allowed to use the toilet once every 12 hours, and to wash once in every 40 days.
Another former detainee described being locked in a pitch black cell for six days with a dead body.
A razor blade had also been purposefully left there, and she used it to try and kill herself.
As soon as she arrived at Al Mezzeh Military Airport, she was strip searched, tied to a bed and gang raped by five soldiers.
For the next 14 days, she was raped, or threatened with rape, again and again and again.
In March, a Spanish court agreed to hear the case of the torture and death of a 43-year-old truck driver at the hands of the Syrian government, because the man’s sister, a Spanish citizen, was the plaintiff.
Under international law relatives of victims of crimes against humanity committed elsewhere are also counted as victims – so the Spanish judge’s decision to hear it was viewed as an important landmark for potentially prosecuting high-level Syrian officials.
She had to stay in hospital for four months for corrective surgeries for faecal-urinary incontinence caused by her repeated rapes. Experiencing what she went through is beyond the imagination of most of us.