A stash of evidence alleging Bashar al Assad’s Syrian regime assassinated journalist Marie Colvin has been unsealed in a Washington DC court.
The files include a graphic Skype video that captures the final moments of Ms Colvin and fellow journalist Remi Ochlik, as well as testimonies from high-ranking defectors that claim officials celebrated their deaths.
The two journalists were killed in February 2012 when a rocket hit the media centre in Homs where they were covering the escalating Syrian civil war.
The lawsuit is the first instance of a case for war crimes against the Assad government reaching a court, seven years into a brutal conflict that has seen more than half a million people killed.
In the video, one of nearly 200 files released in court on Monday, explosions can be heard growing closer as frantic voices shout in Arabic, before one can be heard shouting “she’s dead”.
Other documents include testimony by a Syrian defector who said an official responsible for the strike was rewarded with a luxury car, and recalled an intelligence officer responding to news of Colvin’s death with morbid glee.
“Marie Colvin was a dog and now she’s dead. Let the Americans help her now,” Major General Rafiq Shehadeh is accused of saying.
Witnesses also claim a network of informants carefully tracked the location of journalists and fixers in Syria, while testimony from the scene of Ms Colvin’s death alleged artillery falling on the media centre was “not indiscriminate”.
Other high-ranking defectors say they heard officials plotting to falsify evidence about rebel violence and saw journalists and media activists as a major threat.
The accounts cannot be independently verified by WIC News but have been shown to be consistent with evidence from other sources.
Colvin, a US citizen and veteran war correspondent writing for the Sunday Times, had been covering the violent government response following democracy protests in Syria.
In one of her final reports, published by the Sunday Times, she wrote “the scale of human tragedy” in Homs has been “immense” with inhabitants “living in terror”.
“On the lips of everyone was the question: ‘Why have we been abandoned by the world?'” she wrote.