Hearing on crimes against Syrian journalists draws to a close at Hague People's Tribunal
Hearings on crimes committed against Syrian journalists by forces loyal to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad have concluded at The People's Tribunal on the Murder of Journalists in The Hague.
Witnesses at the Syria Case Hearings, which were held on Monday and Tuesday, testified about their experiences with state-sponsored attacks on journalists to Prosecutor Almudena Bernabeu.
At least 1,609 violations – including 702 murders - have been committed against media workers in Syria since 2011, according to the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression.
“The overall aim of the Tribunal is to hold the indicted governments to account for their failure to protect these journalists and conduct a credible investigation into the circumstances of their death,” Maya Muller, Communications Officer at Freedom of Press Unlimited (FPU) told The New Arab.
"We hope that the hearings... were able to serve as a platform where those impacted by impunity were able to speak out," Muller added.
Ten years after the attack on the media centre that killed our friends, Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik, me and the amazing @danslesrues - Edith Bouvier gave evidence together at #ThePeoplesTribunal in The Hague today. pic.twitter.com/R9Fs8b5mAJ— Paul Conroy (@reflextv) May 16, 2022
Among the witnesses who testified was Paul Conroy, a friend and colleague of slain journalist Marie Colvin. Conroy worked alongside Colvin when she was killed by the Assad regime while covering the war in 2012.
Tuesday’s hearing was dedicated to the case of Nabil Sharbaji, a Syrian journalist killed in detention at the regime’s Sednaya prison in 2015, according to the newspaper co-founded by Sharbaji, Enab Baladi.
Physical evidence was also provided by former regime detainee, Mansour Omari, who was held alongside Sharbaji.
It was a shirt worn secretly by Omari upon his release, which the pair used to document the names of 82 inmates using their blood as ink, according to FPU and initiative A Safer World for Truth.
Physical evidence delivered in the Hague: the names of 82 inmates who were imprisoned in #Syria in the most harrowing conditions- who mixed their own blood to create ink & using chicken bones, carefully written on the fabric worn by @MansourOmari on the day he was released. pic.twitter.com/w7nXiLnwV7— A Safer World For The Truth (@SaferTruth) May 17, 2022
The People’s Tribunal is unable to enforce its findings as it has no formal legal authority, however its decisions do carry weight.
"The People's Tribunal is a crucial means to influence public opinion and raise awareness about ongoing assaults on journalists in Syria,” Sara Hashash, Communications Director at The Syria Campaign, told The New Arab.
The tribunal is organised by Freedom of Press Unlimited, the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders, as part of the initiative Safer World for Truth.
The Syria Case Hearing was prepared in partnership with the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression.