UN investigators have seenthe use of torture in Syria become increasingly common over the last several months. According to Reuters, “a video aired by a British television station purporting to show Syrian patients being tortured in hospital appears to support increasingly grave allegations pointing to crimes against humanity, the U.N. torture investigator said on Tuesday. Juan Mendez, United Nations special rapporteur on torture worldwide, said that while he had not seen the Channel 4 video, it seemed in line with recent reports he has received on Syrian forces torturing opponents.”
“Unfortunately this new allegation is consistent with what my mandate (office) has been receiving over the last several months. The new allegation only adds to the gravity of the situation,” said Mendez. The short video projected Syrian patients being victims of torture conducted by hospital staff members at state-run hospitals. On Reuters the patients were referred to as “wounded, blindfolded men were chained to beds. A rubber whip and electrical cable lay on a table in one of the wards. Some patients showed signs of having been severely beaten.” Syrian President Assad is currently facing hostilities from the West due to the dictator prohibiting foreign aid from entering the nation as well as also being accused of violating human rights.
“With respect of torture, as grave as the allegations were six to eight months ago, this latest seems a step or two above that. I endorse the call by the High Commissioner to have the International Criminal Court investigate whether these amount to crimes against humanity. I think that the Security Council has a responsibility to protect the Syrian people from these very serious crimes. One way to do it would be for the ICC to exercise jurisdiction,” said Mendez. When referring to the possibility of the UN Security Council in resolve the Syrian issue, Mendez expressed that “judging by the vote in the Security Council last time around I don’t have very high hopes. But I do think we owe it to the Syrian people to ask all five permanent members to exercise their responsibility to protect the Syrian people’s right to be free of torture and crimes against humanity.” It should be noted that both China and Russia casted a double veto regarding a resolution that sought to overthrow Assad’s dictatorial regime.