Today, the President signed into law the “Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019” (the Caesar Act), an important step in promoting accountability for the large-scale atrocities Bashar al Assad and his regime have carried out in Syria. The Caesar Act is named after a former photographer for the Syrian military who risked his life to smuggle thousands of photographs out of Syria that document the torture and murder of prisoners inside Assad regime jails. Caesar has dedicated his life to seeking justice for those suffering under the Assad regime’s brutality. This new law brings us closer to doing just that.
The Caesar Act provides the United States tools to help end the horrific and ongoing conflict in Syria by promoting accountability for the Assad regime. It also holds accountable those responsible for the widespread death of civilians and for numerous atrocities including the use of chemical weapons and other barbaric weapons. The law provides for sanctions and travel restrictions on those who provide support to members of the Assad regime, in addition to Syrian and international enablers who have been responsible for, or complicit in serious human rights abuses in Syria. The law also seeks to deny the Assad regime the financial resources used to fuel his campaign of violence and destruction that has killed hundreds of thousands of civilians. The Caesar Act sends a clear signal that no external actor should enter into business with or otherwise enrich such a regime.
The United States will continue to promote accountability efforts like the Caesar Act. Our work is directed towards answering the calls of Syrian people for a lasting political solution to the Syrian conflict in line with UNSCR 2254.