Episode 7

Syrian Witnesses Speak

Last week in court was special: Syrian survivors spoke as witnesses for the first time. One of them, Feras Fayyad tells us about his experience testifying in court and opening up about being sexually violated at Branch 251. We talk to two experts who tell us more about sexual violence in international cases and how the Syrian regime has used it as a weapon of war against its own people. Also on the episode: Anwar al Bunni's moment in court that he has been waiting for for so long. He testified as an expert witness and had a lot to say to the judges.

Follow us on Twitter and @KaramShoumali and @Fritz_Streiff.

Some additional sources on this episode and the trial here:

More on our guest Feras Fayyad:

Our guest Alexandra Lily Kather shared these resources with us for further reading:

The announcement we mentioned on the podcast: https://www.ecchr.eu/nc/en/press-release/press-conference-germanys-role-in-the-investigation-and-prosecution-of-sexual-and-gender-based-violence-in-syria/

Our guest Anne Bernard of the New York Times shared these articles with us for further reading:

More on the 'Cesar' Photos:

Logo design by laurenshebly.nl -- Photo by James Lawler Duggan/AFP/Getty Images.

About the Podcast

Show artwork for Branch 251
Branch 251
Syrian Atrocity Crimes on Trial

About your hosts

Profile picture for Fritz Streiff

Fritz Streiff

Fritz is a human rights lawyer with a focus on investigations and case-building in the fields of atrocity crimes and anti-corruption. International justice is his big passion. Though podcasts follow pretty closely. He is currently based in Paris, France.

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Noor Hamadeh


Noor Hamadeh is a Syrian-American international lawyer and a nonresident fellow with the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy with a focus on business and human rights in Syria and the MENA region generally. Noor is now based in Chicago, IL
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Asser Khattab

Asser is a freelance journalist and researcher from Syria who has reported on the Middle East from Lebanon for the Washington Post and the Financial Times; from Syria for the Spanish News Agency and others. He now lives in Paris, France.
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Saleem Salameh

Saleem Salameh is an independent writer, filmmaker and podcast producer. Saleem joined multiple Arabic podcast platforms and released five different podcasts. He also trains newcomers and human rights activists on scriptwriting and podcast making. He is currently based in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
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Pauline Peek

Pauline Peek is a research assistant, production assistant and history student who also happens to possess a bachelor’s degree in singing. Originally from the Netherlands, she is currently based in Berlin, Germany.
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Hannah El-Hitami

Hannah is a German-Egyptian freelance journalist focused on sociopolitical topics from Arab countries, as well as migration and human rights issues. She has worked for the Amnesty Journal and published in Der Spiegel, Al Jazeera, Justice Info, among others. She is currently based in Berlin, Germany.