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The New Yorker Radio Hour is a weekly program presented by the magazine’s editor, David Remnick. 

Building a War-Crimes Case Against Bashar al-Assad

At an undisclosed location in Western Europe, a group called Commission for International Justice and Accountability (CIJA) is gathering evidence of war crimes perpetrated by the Syrian government. It’s unclear when or how Assad might ever stand trial, and securing the evidence is extremely dangerous. But CIJA is hoping to build the strongest war-crimes case since Nazi officials were tried at Nuremberg. Ben Taub, who wrote about CIJA for The New Yorker, interviewed members of the group and a witness who described being tortured by the regime. And David Remnick talks with Kevin Jon Heller, a professor of criminal law who served on the defense team for Radovan Karadžić and worked for Human Rights Watch during the trial of Saddam Hussein. Heller explains why it is unlikely that Bashar al-Assad will be brought to the International Criminal Court for war crimes committed against the Syrian people, and why an unfair trial in Syrian court could do more harm than good.


 


Originally aired April 15, 2016