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March 29, 2023 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm UTC+3

PSIA is honored to host the first-ever exhibition of the Caesar photos in France: Inside Syrian Regime’s Prisons (27 to 31 March) and organize a panel discussion on Documenting Terror in Syria: What is the Impact of Photos? (29 March)

Documenting Terror in Syria: What is the Impact of Photos?

Wednesday 29 March, 5:00 to 7:00 pm

Amphi Chapsal, 27 rue Saint-Guillaume

Prisons have played a key role in maintaining the al-Assad regime in Syria. Since 2011, it is estimated that over 200 000 people have suffered arbitrary detention and experienced torture in these prisons, resulting in tens of thousands of extrajudiciary executions.

In 2014, a former official photographer and anonymous defector “Caesar” leaked some 55 000 pictures, which have been of crucial importance to fight a culture of impunity. These photos were shown to the United Nations Security Council with the objective of prosecuting the Syrian regime for crimes against humanity.

This roundtable will reflect on the power of images and their role in fighting for justice in Syria and beyond. Based on their experience as human rights defenders and legal experts, the speakers will discuss the impact of images in shaping public, judicial and political discourses in times of conflict. The event will also explore the conditions under which to rebuild societies torn by violence and whether there can ever be peace without justice.

Welcome Remarks by Arancha Gonzalez, Dean of PSIA

Introduction and moderation by Céline Cantat, lecturer, PSIA

Guest speakers:

  • Clémence Bectarte, Lawyer, Coordinator of FIDH’s Litigation Action Group
  • Mazen Darwich, Syrian human rights lawyer (via zoom)
  • Mouaz Moustafa, Executive Director, Syrian Emergency Task Force

Inside Syrian Regime’s Prisons

Caesar is a former military photographer and anonymous defector who was conscripted by the Assad regime to take pictures of people who died while being detained in military and intelligence branches. When he noticed that Syrian civilians were being tortured and killed, he began to amass photographic evidence of such atrocities. Between 2011 and 2013, Caesar collected more than 55,000 photos, which were exfiltrated from Syria. Today, “The Caesar Files” constitute first-hand documentation of the scale and brutality of the atrocities perpetrated by the Assad regime.

TRIGGER WARNING: Viewers should be made aware that the photos presented in the exhibit are graphic and disturbing. They depict in an unfiltered way the torture and mass killings the prisoners experienced in the Syrian prisons. Viewers discretion is advised.

Opening Hours:

The photo exhibit will be open to the Sciences Po community (upon presentation of a Sciences Po ID and without registration) from Monday 27 March to Friday 31 March, from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm ; and until 9:00 pm on Wednesday 29 March.

In addition it will be open to the general public (upon registration and within space capacity) on the following dates: Wednesday 29 March from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm, and from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm ; Thursday 30 March from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Guided visits will be led by Omar Alshogre, Syrian human rights defender and former political prisoner on Wednesday 29 March at 4:15pm and at 7:30 pm, and on Thursday 30 March at 2:45 pm and 5:00 pm. Open to both the Sciences Po community and the general public upon registration and within space capacity.

Room B104, 1 place Saint-Thomas

The photo exhibit is co-organized with the Syrian Emergency Task Force.


March 29, 2023
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm UTC+3
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