Syrian Center for Studies and Legal Research: "Caesar Act supports us only morally"
Turkey - SMART
On Thursday, the head of the Syrian Center for Studies and Legal Research, Anwar al-Bunni, said that the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, which was approved by the United States House of Representatives on Tuesday, supports human rights organizations only morally.
The Caesar Act is named after the photographer with the code-name Caesar, who was a member of the Syrian government military police. Caesar leaked 50,000 photos of prisoners who were tortured to death in Syrian government prisons, allowing the world to see and families to identify their loved ones. In mid-December 2015, the Human Rights Watch announced that the photos are blatant evidence of the Syrian government's crimes against humanity.
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.
Al-Bunni reported that the new Caesar Act and the European Union decision were issued by political and not legal bodies. They are also focused on economic funds and sanctions but did not reach the level of judicial decisions.
On Tuesday, the EU issued economic sanctions against 11 Syrian individuals and five institutions linked to the Syrian government.
Al-Bunni stated that the Caesar Act is only directed at the Syrian government and its supporters, and it is binding on the US administration and its allies who do not want to violate it, noting the importance of harmony between human rights and political action.
On Wednesday, the High Negotiations Committee stated that the Caesar Act will stifle the Syrian government economically.