July 31, 2014: The code-named defector ‘Caesar,’ testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee (FNC) in the United States
Our Families and beloved ones
We are a group of families that have lost loved ones under torture, our loved ones became the victims of forced disappearance in the Syrian regime’s prisons. We identified our relatives in the Ceasar photos which were leaked from the Syrian regime detention centres. We’ve been working together since February 2018 in Berlin to establish the Caesars Families Association (CFA). CFA aims to unify our voices, demanding truth, justice, and restitution for the victims of torture and forced disappearance in Syria.
What are “the photos of Caesar”?
Caesar is the code-name of the official forensic photographer who worked for the Military Police in Syria. He has been working for the Syrian government for 13 years. Before 2011 his work mainly was to photograph people who died because of accidents or suicide.
However, during his work after 2011, he noticed that a large number of the bodies were of victims of torture, as well as of members of security forces who died in attacks by armed opposition groups.
While he was taking photos, he was also leaking these photos outside of Syria as evidence on crimes of the Syrian regime.
The leaked Caesar Photos were all taken between May 2011 and August 2013. In
August 2013, Caesar the military photographer defected from Syrian regime and fled out of Syria with his family.
Authenticity of the photos
In 2017, photos of Kaiser were considered part of the complaint filed before the German federal investigator in Karlsrhure.
In June 2018, the German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof) issued an arrest warrant against Jamil Hassan, who was the Director General of Air Force Intelligence until July 2019, as he was responsible for the torture operations that occurred against thousands of detainees.
In December 2015, Human Rights Watch issued a report detailing the Caesar photos and the families of the victims who appeared in the photos.
WHAT DO WE ASPIRE TO?
We aspire to contribute to the creation of a sustainable peace in Syria, based on justice, citizenship and human rights. We do this by shedding light on the tragedy of the detainees and disappeared in the prisons and detention camps of the Syrian regime and all other parties to the conflict. We work to stop the torture and killing of detainees, we fight for their release and to have their fate revealed. We strive to guarantee their rights and to make sure that those who committed crimes against them will not go unpunished.
WE SEEK TO ACHIEVE THE FOLLOWING OBJECTIVES:
- Work to retrieve the remains of the victims’ bodies in order to ensure burials that respect human dignity and families’ rituals.
- Secure psychological and legal support to the families of victims and help them overcome the repercussions of these crimes.
- Guarantee the rights of victims and their families, memorialize the victims, and restore their dignity.
- Contribute to the release of detainees, the forcefully disappeared, the kidnapped, and pressure for the disclosure of the whereabouts of the missing.
- Work to end impunity and strive for the establishment of a special court for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
- Support a transitional justice process based on fairness and accountability.
Our message to you
Together we can make miracles happen. Our joint efforts can help us achieve our goals in truth, justice, reparations and none-recurrence on an international and local level. Our collective impact can change the face of earth and make it a better place for our children and loved ones. Our path and your path are similar as the trip is long, but we are the only hope left for the victims. Support us by:
— Share your story with us and teach us how you overcame challenges.
— Meet us and support our advocacy efforts.
— Helping us change the international mechanisms and bureaucracy which stands in our way to make it more effective, inclusive and accessible to all of us.
We, the founding members of CFA would like to express our gratitude and appreciation to the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM). The Center has been with us since the beginning as they facilitated our meeting in early 2018, and our Launching meeting in the same year until we were officially registered in Germany in 2019.