US House of Representatives approves Caesar Act to sanction Syrian government
Turkey - SMART
On Tuesday night, the United States House of Representatives approved the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act to sanction the Syrian government and its supporters. The act was named after the photographer who leaked tens of thousands of photos of prisoners who were tortured to death in Syrian government prisons.
The Caesar Act allows the US Secretary of State to support non-governmental human rights organizations that collect evidence and documents of war crimes and crimes against humanity to prosecute perpetrators. The act also prevents the arrest of any employees of these organizations unless they are wanted for terrorism.
The Caesar Act allows the US president to sanction any individual or entity that cooperates with the Syrian government and its agencies, including intelligence agencies and the Central Bank of Syria. The act can also sanctions those who sell planes and spare parts to Syrian government airlines or participate in government projects of construction, engineering, and energy.
The Caesar Act allows the US president to waive the sanctions if necessary, after handling each case individually. The president can suspend the sanctions if negotiations to stop violence against civilians are started and will continue the suspension of sanctions if negotiations continue and civilians are protected.
The photographer with the code-name Caesar was a member of the Syrian government military police who leaked 50,000 photos of prisoners who were tortured to death in Syrian government prisons. Many families identified their sons from the photos. In mid-December 2015, the Human Rights Watch emphasized that the photos are blatant evidence of the Syrian government's crimes against humanity.