A grim catalogue of torture has emerged from former detainees describing their treatment in Syria's detention centres since the predominantly peaceful protests against President Bashar al-Assad’s government began in March 2011.
Amnesty International's report reveals that all the various security forces are routinely torturing and ill-treating detainees held in the context of the protests and unrest, using methods of cruelty mostly used for decades.
The torture carried out appears to be part of a widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population as part of Syrian government policy to crush dissent.
The testimonies we have heard give disturbing insights into a system of detention and interrogation which, a year after protests began, appears intended primarily to degrade, humiliate and terrify its victims into silence.
We continue to believe that the ICC represents the best option of securing real accountability for those responsible for the grave crimes that have been committed against people in Syria.
But while politics makes that prospect difficult in the short term, Syrians responsible for torture - including those in command - should be left in no doubt that they will face justice for crimes committed under their watch. It is therefore essential that the Commission of Inquiry is strengthened and allowed to continue its work.
– Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa Interim Deputy Director Ann Harrison
The testimony presented in this report, taken in the context of other human rights violations committed against civilians in Syria, is yet further evidence that torture and other ill-treatment in Syria form part of a widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population - carried out in an organised manner and as part of state policy and therefore amount to crimes against humanity.