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CONNECT THE WORLD
Merkel Give First In-Depth U.S. Network Interview; Merkel Assesses Green Surge in European Elections; 11th Person Dies on Crowed Mount Everest; Theresa May, Best Option for UK is Leaving Eu with a Deal; U.S. President Wraps Up State Visit to Japan; 55 Inmates Killed in String of Prison Riots in Brazil; The Mission to Collect Evidence of Syrian's Alleged War Crimes; Interview, Stephen Rapp, Former Chief Prosecutions, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Evidence of Syrian War Crimes; Netanyahu Threatens Fresh Elections As Government Deadline Looms; Facebook Execs to Defy Canadian Subpoena. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired May 28, 2019 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): We have to face up indeed to the specters of the past. We have to tell our young people what
history has brought over us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN HOST: German chancellor Angela Merkel warns against dark forces on the rise in Europe in an interview you'll only hear
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Even at this altitude, even without being anywhere near to the summit, you really feel the impact
of the decreased oxygen levels.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACFARLANE: CNN takes you 17,000 feet in the air to Mount Everest base camp. We ask why this climbing season has turned so deadly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In a nondescript building in Europe is a room called the vault. Nearly 800,000 documents smuggled out of Syria
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACFARLANE: CNN gets access to a group risking their lives to collect evidence of possible war crimes in Syria.
Hello and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Christina Macfarlane filling in for Becky Anderson today.
We begin with a global exclusive. CNN has spoken to arguably the most powerful woman in the world, German Chancellor Angela Merkel in her first
ever in-depth interview with an American network. Mrs. Merkel warned against dark forces on the rise in Europe. And she told our chief
international anchor, Christiane Amanpour, there is work to be done as Europe assesses the results of its elections. Here's how Mrs. Merkel
reacted to the election outcome.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: I just want to get your reaction, though, first to the European elections, the results. Your
party came first here in Germany but the Greens did very well and you did do a little worse than usual. In general, how do you think it's gone?
MERKEL (through translator): First of all, I was pleased that more people went to the elections than in the last European elections. That's been the
case in many countries. Secondly, we have become the strongest party and this will of course play a role when we nominate the positions within the
European Union. And third, it's correct that the Greens actually have been very strong and it has to do with issues that people are interested in the
most these days. For example, climate change and that is also for my part of course a challenge now. We have to give better answers to all these
issues and we have to say very clearly the targets that we have committed to are targets that we remain committed to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACFARLANE: And Christiane Amanpour joins me live here in London. Christiane, great to see you. After a fascinating interview at a very
interesting time in the wake of those European elections. We heard Angela Merkel there speaking about, well among many things, the Green Party and
her environmental policies. How much of a wakeup call do you think it's been to her to see the Greens have so much success?
AMANPOUR: Well look, I think it's a big wakeup call and she was correct in putting it onto the fact that there was a huge turnout especially amongst
the young all over Europe for these elections. And that people in Germany clearly want something to be done about the environment. The environment
was the top issue. Immigration which everybody scared the bejesus out of us. Thinking it was going to be the issue, was not. It was way down the
list of concerns for Germans during these elections. So this is really important as the existential future of the young people and they came out
to have their say.
But on a bigger level what's really very interesting is that the far right, the extreme right candidates, the AFDs, the neo-Nazis who actually have
some Parliamentary positions and across the globe here in Europe did not do the same kind of insurgent damage that they may have done and people
While the mainstream sort of center-left, center-right parties, traditional parties didn't do so well, it was a lot of Green and other likeminded
parties that did very, very well, and pro Europe parties.
MACFARLANE: Yes, we mentioned at the top of the show that European leaders were obviously arriving in Brussels this evening. And I want to get your
take having spoken to Angela Merkel now on the rather complex hunt that begins now in the wake of these Europe elections for new leaders. How much
more complicated has it become?
AMANPOUR: Well I think it's become very complicated because, again, the two voting blocs that generally via for the positions, whether it's EU
Commission president, the EU Council and the like, the ECB as well, the European Central Bank, et cetera. Just because these names were put into
the kitty before the European elections doesn't necessarily mean even though there's a front runner and all the rest of it, that they're going to
get the job because of the way the vote went down.
[11:05:00] And she mentioned it herself on one of the first questions. Clearly, it's on her mind because she's there right now and they're going
to be haggling out who's going to actually get these top positions.
MACFARLANE: One other issue I know you spoke to her about is her relationship, or shall I say tense relationship with President Trump. And
you actually showed her an image that had gone viral of she and Mr. Trump. Let's just take a look at that now and hear what she had to say in response
to you pointing this out to her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: You've been a bit of a punching bag for President Trump. He's said some quite strong things including your relationship with Russia and
all the rest of it. I just wanted to show you this picture because that went viral around the world. I wonder what you can tell me about your
personal relationship and your political relationship because his own White House says he's only strong with the people he considers friends. Do you
consider him a friend?
MERKEL (through translator): I think we have close cooperation which simply results from problems we have had to resolve together. And this
picture also shows that we are grappling with an issue. In every communique which we had to declare, I was also the host for the G20
negotiations and Hamburg. We had contentious debates, but in the end, we also found common ground. It's certainly always a challenge to a debate,
but I very happily take on this challenge. The President has his opinions, I have mine. And very often we also find common ground. If not, we have
to keep on talking and negotiating.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACFARLANE: Christiane, she is nothing if not diplomatic. And I suppose after nearly 13 years as chancellor, you know, that is something that she -
- the relationship with Trump is one she has managed during that time.
AMANPOUR: Exactly, and I thought she had quite a sparkle in her eye. She said, I relish the challenges. If there are things we don't agree on,
contentious issues, for instance she doesn't agree on President Trump pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord. Nor does on President Trump --
most especially she doesn't agree pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal. So there are a lot of issues and she was the only leader, the only leader, who
welcomed President Trump's election back in 2016 conditionally. She said, absolutely, we'll work with the President of the United States, we must.
But based on a mutual commitment to common values. And so she's held that line ever since.
MACFARLANE: Christiane, it's a great interview. Thank you for joining us.
AMANPOUR: Thank you.
MACFARLANE: Just a few days ago a top German official warned Jewish people not to wear traditional kippahs in public settings. Well CNN recently saw
the rising levels of German anti-Semitism firsthand. This is what Clarissa Ward discovered.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The far right is enjoying a major comeback here, bringing with it a troubling rise
in anti-Semitism. According to government figures, the number of hate crimes against Jews in Berlin nearly doubled last year. This man tells us
a shadowy cabal of globalists controls the world.
(on camera): And when you talk about the elites and you talk about finance, is that another way of saying Jewish people?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACFARLANE: Well Christiane asked Mrs. Merkel about how Germany can tackle anti-Semitism. This was her response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MERKEL (through translator): Unfortunately there is to this day not a single synagogue, not a single daycare center for Jewish children, not a
single school for Jewish children that does not need to be guarded by German policemen. Unfortunately over the years we have not been able to
deal with this satisfactorily that we can do without this.
But we have to face up indeed to the specters of the past. We have to tell our young people what history has brought over us and others and these
horrors. Why we are a democracy. Why we try to bring about solutions. Why we also have to put ourselves in other people's shoes. Why we stand up
against intolerance. Why we show no tolerance toward violation of human rights. Why article 1 of our basic law, human dignity is inviolable, is so
fundamental to us. It has to be taught to every new generation. And you're quite right, the task has become harder but it needs to be done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACFARLANE: It's a fascinating interview and one you can see in full, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel coming up on "AMANPOUR". That's tonight at
6 p.m. in London, 7 p.m. in Berlin. Only on CNN.
Now to Mount Everest, the world east tallest mountain. Climbing has always been risky, but now we are seeing a new danger. More people are climbing
at the same time and they have to wait in an area where it's very hard to breathe. On Monday this man, American Christopher Kulish, became the 11th
person to die on Everest in less than two weeks. CNN's Arwa Damon reports from the Nepalese side of the mountain.
[11:10:00] DAMON: We have just arrived to Everest base camp. And I have to say even at this altitude, even without being anywhere near to the
summit, you really feel the impact of the decreased oxygen levels. The scenery here is absolutely spectacular. You really understand what the
draw and appeal is. That's the icefall that is so famous. It's what the climbers first have to go through to get to camp one. And then of course
as they move on up through the different camps and the different stops trying to reach what is the one main goal that unites everybody here.
Normally this entire area at the peak of the season is coughed in tents. What you have right now behind me is just a few tents that have been left.
There are cleanup crews. There are still a handful of climbers that are down there, some of the last ones to come down from the summit on what has
been an especially devastating hiking season for the summit of Everest. Because of the level of fatalities and because of the issues that arose
from all of this backlog that took place. The photographs, the long lines of people waiting inside the "death zone".
Called that because the levels of oxygen there are so low. Every breath you take in the "death zone" only gives you a third of the oxygen you would
get at sea level. So you have to be climbing with oxygen tanks. And so, these long waiting hours may have contributed to the deaths that we did
see, at least to most of them. And a lot of these climbers aren't dying on the way up. You can make it to that goal. You can make it to the summit.
It's when you come back down, that's when people's bodies tend to succumb to altitude sickness.
A lot of debate right now as to whether or not Nepal needs to be doing more to regulate the number of permits, to regulate who goes up, what level of
experience they have. There's been a lot of criticism about inexperience climbers going up. But there's also a burden of responsibility on the
Yes, this is such a challenge. It is such a goal that is really going to push you mentally and physically to the limit, but all of the climbers
we're talking to are saying you really need to know how to listen to your body. And just being here right now, one really feels the effect of the
lower levels of oxygen.
Arwa Damon, CNN on the Nepalese side at Everest base camp.
MACFARLANE: We have just had an update from Arwa actually in the past few minutes. She has spoken to the tourism minister in Nepal. And he says
they are looking at changing requirements for granting climbing permits in light of these deaths. And he told Arwa they would likely focus on
experience and he says there aren't that many climbers this year. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANDURAJ GHIMIRE, DIRECTOR GENERAL, NEPALESE TOURISM DEPARTMENT: Actually, the permitted people this year it's not so more, you know. We have lacked
experts in some in 2017. Actually, we issued a permit of 372. And this year only nine member more. That means 381. We permitted them to climb
Mount Everest this year. It is just nine member more, Yes. Actually, this is not so much higher. Only because of the way of the window, actually
this year. Actually in 2017 all over the season there was clear weather. And because of that the number all the day are not so much high.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACFARLANE: Well you can read more from Arwa and her team on our website. We have far more videos from Mount Everest plus a look at what oxygen does
to the human body. That's at CNN.com.
Still to come, a nation that rarely sees violent crime is shocked as more than a dozen schoolgirls are attacked in Japan.
Plus, CNN gets rare access to a group risking their lives to collect evidence of possible war crimes in Syria. Just ahead how they hope their
trove of documents will lead to justice.
[11:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
MACFARLANE: You're watching CNN and this is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Christina Macfarlane in London. Welcome back.
Some news just in here. Outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May has just spoken briefly on her arrival in Brussels for an EU summit. Here's
what she had to say.
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: While I've been Prime Minister, I've been to something like 15 council meetings or more. And every one of those
I've been working hard to negotiate the best possible deal for the U.K. in leaving the European Union. It is a matter of great regret to me that I
haven't been able to deliver Brexit.
But of course that matter is now for my successor and they will have to find a way of addressing the very strongly held views on both sides of this
issue. And to do that and to get a majority in Parliament, as I said on Friday, I think will require compromise.
But while we're still a member of the European Union, while I am Prime Minister, I'll be continuing to meet the obligations of the office and the
duties of the offense. And of course, that includes being here today where we're due to discuss the top jobs in EU institutions. The U.K. will
continue to play a constructive role during the time of this extension of Article 50.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are some in your cabinet who have suggested they would renegotiate the withdrawal agreement. Other former cabinet ministers
say they would let the U.K. leave without a deal in October. Are either of those positions credible?
MAY: The position I've always taken has been to work to get the best possible deal for the U.K. in leaving the EU. I've always taken the view
that the best option for the U.K. is to leave the European Union with a deal. I'm not going to comment on the views of individual candidates.
There will be a process of selecting my successor as leader of the Conservative Party. But I continue to have the view that it's best for the
U.K. to leave with a deal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you worried about the direction the country is going after those European elections?
MAY: Of course the European election results were deeply disappointing for my party. They were obviously a set of results for the party. But we saw
some very good MEPs losing their seats. We saw some great candidates not gaining their seats. But the Labour Party also saw significant losses.
And I think what it shows is the importance of actually delivering on Brexit. I think the best way to do that is with a deal, but it will be
more my successor and for Parliament to find a way forward to get a consensus. And I hope those election results will focus Parliament on the
need to deliver Brexit. Thank you.
[11:20:00] MACFARLANE: Outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May there speaking in Brussels where she will continue her duties tonight. And we will of
course continue to wait and see who will succeed her as the head of the Tory Party and what it will mean of course for Brexit.
But for now, let's move on. U.S. President Trump is due back in Washington in a few hours after a four-day visit to Japan. The trip was meant to
highlight trade and military ties between the nations. Mr. Trump boarded a Japanese helicopter carrier and later spoke to U.S. forces showcasing the
two countries' military might in the neighborhood of North Korea. But with a trip not without controversy, CNN's Boris Sanchez tells us more.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spent the day on Tuesday touring a joint
U.S. and Japanese Naval facility with President Trump speaking before several hundred members of the Navy's Seventh Fleet. The President
thanking them for their service and commemorating Memorial Day before hopping on Air Force One on his way back to Washington.
This week in Japan full of pomp, circumstance and pageantry. Not very deep on substance, though. We didn't see a breakthrough on trade discussions.
That will remain a focal point moving forward with President Trump announcing that he expects the soonest the trade deal will get done is
after July after elections are held here in Japan.
Also this visit exposing a rift between President Trump and Shinzo Abe on the subject of North Korean short-range ballistic missile tests. President
Trump saying that he is not bothered by these tests. Saying that he does not believe that North Korea violated U.N. resolutions by carrying them out
last month. Shinzo Abe made it clear he felt that North Korea violated resolutions.
The president is also ignoring the outlook of some of his closest advisors including national security advisor, Ambassador John Bolton. Now President
Trump clearly with 2020 on his mind as well, siding with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, on North Korean officials' assessment that Joe Biden --
his potential 2020 rival -- is a low IQ individual. The President actually took some time out of his trip here in Japan to attack the former Senator
and former Vice President for his support of a 1994 crime bill. We should point out. President Trump will return to Japan in just a few weeks to
take part in the G20. Boris Sanchez, CNN, traveling with the President in Tokyo, Japan.
MACFARLANE: Before leaving Japan, President Trump expressed condolences for a rare act of violent crime in Japan. A man went on a deadly stabbing
rampage on Tuesday targeting young girls who were waiting for a school bus. An 11-year-old girl and the father of a first-grade student were killed.
More than a dozen girls were wounded. Police say the suspect stabbed himself to death. CNN's Ivan Watson has more on a nation in shock.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Every morning school children line up at this bus station in Kawasaki, Japan and wait for a ride
to a nearby Catholic Caritas school. But on Tuesday morning acts of unspeakable violence were committed here. Police say an attacker armed
with knives started stabbing the school children. They say he killed at least two people, a father and an 11-year-old girl. They say he also
wounded at least 17 people. The attacker, police say, later died of self- inflicted stab wounds.
Now this has come as an immense shock to the city and to the entire country because Japan has relatively low levels of violent crime. In fact, it's
not uncommon to see kids as young as 5, 6 years old walking unaccompanied to school in cities like this. But there are some tragic exceptions.
Three years ago a man attacked a center for disabled elderly, killed at least 19 people, stabbing them. It was the deadliest massacre this country
had seen since World War II.
Throughout the evening here, we've seen well-wishers coming to this makeshift memorial, laying flowers and saying a silent prayer for some of
the children who were victims of this violence. Ivan Watson, CNN, Kawasaki, Japan.
MACFARLANE: All right. Let's get you up to speed on some of the other stories we are following on our radar this hour.
Protesters in Sudan began a two-day general strike on Tuesday. They are upset that talks with the ruling military have broken down. The protesters
want the military to hand power over to a civilian government.
Two more French citizens have been convicted of working for ISIS and have been given a death sentence by an Iraqi court. Iraq has now sentenced six
French nationals to death for working with ISIS in the past few days. They have 30 days to appeal their sentences.
A fight between rival gangs is being blamed for several deadly prison riots in Brazil. This was the scene outside one prison as family members of the
inmates and guards tried to get information about the fate of their loved ones.
[11:25:05] 55 prisoners died in the riots at four different prisons. For more information on this let's bring in journalist Shasta Darlington who
joins us live in Sao Paolo. And Shasta, do we know exactly what went on in these prisons. What sparked this violence in the first place?
SHASTA DARLINGTON, JOURNALIST: Well, Christine, obviously this is an ongoing investigation. And in fact as you said, family members are still
waiting to find out who was even killed. But what authorities have said is that these were apparently violent clashes between rival factions within
the same gang. And that's because Brazil's really flourishing drug trade is often controlled from within prison walls.
Now like you said, we know that at least 55 prisoners have been killed, 15 were actually killed in one prison on Sunday during family visitation
hours. So some relatives even witnessed this. They witnessed prisoners killing fellow inmates, strangling, choking them and in some cases stabbing
them with sharpened toothbrushes.
There was another wave of violence Monday in four different prisons. In fact they were these 40 inmates were strangled inside their cells by fellow
cell mates and the bodies weren't even discovered until police guards did a routine inspection and found them.
So the big concern right now is to keep this violence from spreading. They're bringing in federal troops to oversee the prisons, to secure them.
The governor of Amazonas said they've identified 200 inmates who could be potential targets for violent attacks. And they're protecting them and
separating them while they transfer nine gang leaders to maximum security prisons.
And ironically while this is a huge challenge for the new President Jair Bolsonaro here in Brazil, it could also give him a sorely needed boost.
He's been sagging in the approval ratings. And yet he is seen as somebody who's very tough on crime and who said he wants to crack down on criminal
organizations and on violence in the prisons. So this could be an opportunity for him to flex his muscles -- Christina.
MACFARLANE: Yes, this certainly could be and a real challenge as you say for the authorities. Shasta Darlington there from Sao Paulo. Thank you,
Well, this is CONNECT THE WORLD. Coming up, investigators say they have evidence of possible war crimes by Syria's government. Just ahead, CNN
gets rare access to the group risking their lives in the quest for justice.
Plus, top Facebook executives blow off a subpoena from Canada's Parliament. Now Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg could be held in contempt.
[11:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
MACFARLANE: You're watching CNN. And this is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Christina Macfarlane. Welcome back.
We head to Syria now where a recent escalation in the violence in the country's last rebel held province has killed hundreds of people and forced
hundreds of thousands to flee. Air strikes in Idlib have destroyed schools, hospitals and most recently an open-air market, leaving dozens
wounded. International organizations belief some of these air strikes may have been aimed intentionally at civilian targets and could amount to war
crimes. Just some of the many committed by all sides of the Syrian conflict over the past eight years.
Well CNN's Jomana Karadsheh and her team were granted rare access to a clandestine operation by a group of investigators risking their lives to
collect evidence of alleged war crimes committed by the Assad government. Now we must warn you that some of the images of this report are disturbing.
They include images of detainees who were killed in custody and are very graphic. But we are showing them to illustrate the horrors in these
material that the investigators are gathering. Take a look.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a nondescript building in Europe is a room called the vault. Nearly 800,000 documents
smuggled out of Syria are here, logged and translated, stored and preserved. Chris Engels heads the regime crimes unit at the Commission for
International Justice and Accountability, known as CIJA, a nonprofit organization funded by Western governments. In these boxes is potential
evidence of alleged war crimes that could one day be used against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad.
CHRIS ENGELS, DIRECTOR OF INVESTIGATION AND OPERATIONS, CIJA: The documents cover a wide range of information and levels of command. They
start from the highest levels of command that included information on the President and the policy makers at the national level.
We were able to get quite a lot of clarity on how orders went up and down the chain of command, how the responsibility at the highest level for
policy is implemented in a way that we can see criminality actually take place on the ground.
KARADSHEH: There is no one document here that's a smoking gun, but in international criminal justice, it's about linking the crimes to those
responsible. Documents like this 2011 order authorizing pay raises for military personal signed by President Assad, the commander in chief of the
armed forces. May seem innocuous but Engels says, even this is crucial evidence.
ENGELS: We have similar documents that are similar to this naming Assad and others who demonstrate that they are in control and they have the power
to direct the army and security services. And it is a fact that the army and those security services are continuing to commit crimes and these
individuals aren't doing anything to stop it.
KARADSHEH: CIJA has built dozens of cases against the regime, most relating to the early days of the revolution, the violent repression of
protests and the alleged torture and killing of thousands of demonstrators detained across the country.
Since 2012 in the shadows of a war that's unleashed some of the worst atrocities of our time, a network of more than 100 Syrians, were recruited,
vetted and trained by CIJA. We get a rare opportunity to meet one of those document hunters. Adel -- as he wants to be called -- was a lawyer. Now
he had his team that have risked everything to save the evidence.
ADEL, CIJA INVESTIGATOR: All members of our team, men and women have been subjected to arrests or beatings or humiliation or danger. We are
operating in a war zone. In most cases we would enter areas as air strikes would be on going.
[11:35:02] But we have to go in to collect the evidence before it's damaged.
KARADSHEH: For Adel and his fellow evidence hunters a treasure trove of documents has been left behind by the regime's infamous bureaucracy.
ADEL: After the free Syrian army captured locations from the government, like military or intelligence sites, our teams would be ready and they
would enter these sites. Their primary task, to preserve these documents or what is left of them because in many cases these documents would be
KARADSHEH: CIJA has not only relied on evidence collected by its own network of investigators, in a number of cases they've combined that with
some of the most damning visual evidence of this conflict. 28,000 horrific photographs of dead detainees smuggled out in 2013 by a military defector,
codename Caesar. Caesar has been able to cross reference the identifying numbers seen in these pictures with ones in the smuggled documents.
Allowing them to identify some of the prisoners and link them to specific facilities and the security apparatus who are holding them.
One of those photos of those numbers was this 30-year-old Mohammed Al- Kholani. A newlywed law student detained in April of 2012. His sister, Amina, a survivor of government jails, now a refugee in the U.K. is a
living testimony to the Syrian regime's brutality.
AMINA AL-KHOLANI, SYRIAN ACTIVIST (through translator): When the Caesar files came out Mohammed's photo was the first one. We went to issue a
paper from the civil registry to confirm his status. They told us he died as a result of a heart attack. Our 34-year-old boy died of a heart attack.
KARADSHEH: Documents issued by the regime claim thousands held in its facilities all died of natural causes. Three other brothers from the Al-
Kholani family were also detained. Only one of them, Bela, emerged alive. His gaunt face testament to the horrors inside government jails.
According to CIJA's investigations it's a story replicated thousands of times over in Syria where torture is rampant and systemic and forced
confessions are the norm.
Syrian government officials did not respond to multiple requests for comment but the regime has repeatedly dismissed evidence as fake and
insisted it was fighting terrorists, not peaceful protesters.
Amina Al-Kholani still desperately calls for justice for her brothers. But like so many other Syrians, she fears she may never live to see the regime
held accountable for its crimes as Bashar al-Assad has seemed to defy the odds for now, surviving a revolution and is on the verge of winning the
ENGELS: The tide has changed. And what we're making sure of is that when the shift does come, when the discussion about justice does appear in five
or ten or 20 years that there will be evidence there.
KARADSHEH: Evidence collected by CIJA has already been used in individual trials in the United States and Europe. It has also led to the arrest in
Germany of at least one mid-level regime member accused of torture. For Adel, this is just the start.
ADEL: I said good-bye to my wife and children and told them I am no longer yours. I am now owned by Syria and justice.
KARADSHEH: Justice, he says, is a duty from which there is no turning back.
Jomana Karadsheh, CNN.
MACFARLANE: A powerful and incredibly important report there from Jomana. And I want to bring in Stephen Rapp, who is a war crimes prosecutor and
lawyer at the Commission for International Justice and Accountability in Syria, a group which is actually collecting these documents. It's the
first-time evidence like this has been collected during an ongoing conflict. He's also a former U.S. Ambassador at large for war crimes
issues and joins me now via Skype from Armenia. Great to have you with us, Stephen. Thank you very much for your time.
In reaction to Jomana's report there, this evidence as we saw was meticulously and courageously gathered from Syria. But from your
perspective, how solid is this in a court of law this evidence?
STEPHEN RAPP, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR AT LARGE, WAR CRIMES ISSUES (via Skype): This evidence is rock solid. I prosecuted the Rwanda genocide. I
prosecuted the atrocities in Sierra Leon. Including the case against President Charles Taylor. And this evidence is so much stronger than we
had in these cases.
This is signed and sealed documents from inside the Syrian regime. It organized in such a way and with identifying markers that are really
impossible to forge and are consistent with all the other evidences from witnesses to the events, to the arrests and everything else.
And we know what happened in Syria when more than 100,000 people went in the streets and protested nonviolently and wanted change. The answer was a
[11:40:02] It's been documented at least 124,000 people were arrested and sent into dungeons. And at least 14,000 specific individuals have been
identified as having been tortured to death. But there are tens of thousands that are yet unaccounted for. Of course, some of that 14,000 are
those 6,700 people we have the Caesar photos. Which have passed the mustard by forensic analysis at the FBI and now as well in Germany. So
this is the kind of evidence that a prosecutor dreams of. The difficulty, of course, is getting the truly responsible suspects into court and facing
judgment and facing their victims.
MACFARLANE: Yes, well you say the truly responsible people involved. I mean, Jomana's report said that Bashar al-Assad's name was actually listed
on some of these reports. So from your perspective, what is the process for bringing people from the regime to account for some of these alleged
RAPP: Well obviously, we'd like it to be like it was for the former Yugoslavia or Rwanda or Sierra Leone or other situations where there's been
a global consensus that there should be justice. Well course, that's been prevented here specifically by Russia and China's veto in the Security
Council. So we can't at this time go to any kind of international court. We'd love to have it in Syria. We believe that in the long run there has
to be a transition in Syria. And indeed with the regime implicated in all these crimes, it would be a crime for Syria to be rebuilt on the bones and
on the property stolen from people who were tortured to death or killed with poison gas.
So I think there will be a transition eventually, but right now we do have this ability to go into national systems. There are 100,000 Syrians in
Germany, there are 100,000 in Sweden. Many of them are Muslim and the vast majority are innocent victims. But there are some perpetrators that have
come along. As in this case of Anwar R. and his cohorts were arrested in Germany and other suspects arrested in France. There are at least a dozen
cases that I've seen working with prosecutors in four or five different countries that are moving toward the point that they will actually arrest
physical suspects. Which they're also seeking arrest warrants and have them out against people like Ali Mamlouk, who's really almost a kind of
number two to Assad. He's the head of the National Security Bureau. His name is on hundreds of these documents. Or Jamil Hasan who's head of the
air force intelligence where some of the worst torture occurred at the Mezzah air base in the dungeons there. There are international arrest
warrants out for them. Last year Ali Mamlouk went to Italy. Unfortunately the warrant didn't come out until early this year but if he travels again,
he could face extradition to Germany. So I think we're going to begin to see justice in these cases and justice for these victims that you've heard
from in your report.
MACFARLANE: I just want to pick up because you mentioned Russia and China just now, Stephen. We know in the past that they have blocked efforts to
have the International Criminal Court investigate war crimes in Syria. How big of a setback has that been for you in getting justice?
RAPP: Well it's a big setback because you can't go after cases to the very top. It's very difficult indeed under international law. A foreign
country can't prosecutor the sitting head of state of a particular country. But we can go after all sorts of other individuals at this time. And I
think that in a way the fact that it was blocked in the Security Council but these vetoes in May of 2014 has opened up a situation where countries
are stepping forward and filling that gap.
I heard even one ICC person say we're probably even further along in actual investigations because we've got five or six different war crimes
prosecution units and investigative bodies working on it. And we've got organizations like CIJA developing the rock-solid evidence using Syrians
who are very experienced and also people that have worked in international courts prosecuting Milosevic and Taylor and others.
MACFARLANE: Stephen, this is important work and we appreciate your time that you've given us today to tell us exactly what is happening in the
aftermath of this conflict. Thank you very much.
RAPP: Good to be with you. Justice will come.
MACFARLANE: I do hope so.
This is CONNECT THE WORLD. Coming up, political dead lock in Israel as coalition talks continue to stall. Our new elections on the horizons? The
latest from Jerusalem, next.
[11:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
MACFARLANE: You're watching CNN and this is CONNECT THE WORLD with me Christina Macfarlane. Welcome back.
Israelis may soon be heading back to the polls as coalition talks hit a dead lock. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is threatening to call for
new elections if a compromise can't be reached by tonight's deadline. These negotiations usually go down to the wire, but never before has Israel
been forced to hold a new vote because it's failed to form a government.
Let's go live now to CNN's Oren Liebermann who is in Jerusalem. And as I say, Oren, we've never seen this happen before. So will it go down to the
wire in forming coalition and will we see new elections, do you think?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It almost certainly will go down to the wire simply because it can go down to the wire. The deadline is in
fact tomorrow night at midnight. And before that deadline there is little motivation to compromise until the coalition parties, until Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu himself is really up against it.
But are new elections likely? Even with just over 24 hours to go until that deadline, I think most political analysts say it's incredibly unlikely
to lead to new elections. As one analyst put it, the closer it gets to that deadline the more the number of creative solutions increases
exponentially. So there are creative solutions out there. We see them trickling out here and there, but this dead lock is certainly severe.
Leading Israel to a place where it's never been before.
Not only has Netanyahu threatened new elections but a preliminary reading passed yesterday, a first reading passed this morning. There's just the
matter of a second and third reading which the lawmaker who introduced it said would happen tomorrow night right after the deadline passes if there's
This still all focuses on the draft law. A law to bring more ultra- Orthodox Jewish youth into the military. Former defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman, who wants it as is. The ultra-Orthodox parties refuse and
that's where this impasse is stuck right now. Ready to send the country to new elections.
There seems to be no big movement today. I think all of the parties realize they have until the end of the day until midnight tomorrow to work
something out. So they're all looking forward to that even as some of the coalition members have said, look, an agreement is in the works, it's going
to happen. So, Christina, even as elections remain unlikely, they are certainly looming larger and larger in the window here of Israeli politics.
The unprecedented part is that Israel has never gone to elections so soon after a previous poll.
MACFARLANE: Yes, so all eyes on that deadlock, as you say, tomorrow night. Oren Liebermann thank you so much there from Jerusalem.
This is CONNECT THE WORLD. Coming up, Facebook's top execs could be held in contempt after defying a subpoena from Canada's Parliament. We're live
in Ottawa next.
[11:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
MACFARLANE: Social media giant Facebook says its top executives will defy a summons by the Canadian Parliament. Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg
are refusing to attend today's hearing in Ottawa. But snubbing that hearing could result in them both being held in contempt. Well CNN's Paula
Newton is live in Ottawa for us. And, Paula, just explain why they are defying the subpoenas and why they would do this at such risk.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is a risk and at this point in time they basically sent two other executives there and those executives have
pointed that, look, we're the policy experts and Ms. Sandberg and Mr. Zuckerberg have entrusted us to answer those questions.
Let me tell you that is not going over with the committee. It is a grilling writ large. It's hotter there right now than an outdoor barbecue.
I have never seen anything like it in terms of the hearings getting so contentious. And, Christina, if I could say this isn't just Canadian
Parliament. This is what they call the International Grand Committee. It does involve the U.K., France, Australia, several other countries all
grilling executives from not just Facebook but also Twitter and Google. It is Facebook though right now that is square in the firing line.
What's happening now is that for those two executives even though other two executives are standing in for Ms. Sandberg and Mr. Zuckerberg, what this
means is they will have a so-called open summons. Which means that the subpoena stands any time they set foot in Canada. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLIE ANGUS, CANADIAN PARLIAMENT MEMBER: If Mr. Zuckerberg or Ms. Sandberg comes here for a tech conference or to go fishing, the Parliament
will be able to serve that summons and have them brought here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: Now what's interesting with this is that the committee told me, that look, if they have to go this far, they're not saying that anyone will
haul them off with handcuffs but they believe it is certainly contentious for them not to appear here in person. This committee held hearings in
London in November. They did not get the answers they wanted from other Facebook executives. Which is why they determined they needed the top two
Facebook executives there in person. And they are no-shows -- Christina.
MACFARLANE: Yes, and Mark Zuckerberg might want to avoid going fishing anytime soon by the sounds of it. At a time when Facebook are really
trying to restore public faith in their image, in their platform, isn't this a bit of a risky strategy for them for their reputation?
NEWTON: You know, it is, Christina and you make such a good point. A point that's being heard at the hearing right now. And they're saying
that, look, Mr. Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg they've been all over the place. Making a claim that they want to work with governments, that they
want legislation. And yet as we heard in the committee just in the last few minutes, they're calling that out as insincere.
What's at stake here is the very nature of the platform, Christina. Any platform that you and I use in terms of social media, it has to do with
democracy, elections, but even the spread of information that isn't factual.
[11:55:00] Right now, one of the discussions that came up was that video of Nancy Pelosi that had been slowed down in the week prior and that Facebook
in particular chose not to take down. Those are the kind of issues that these legislators from right around the world are grappling with. And it's
going to be interesting to see in the next few months in terms of the kind of legislation that you might see that might change the look of that
platform throughout many countries. But more than that as well are those fines.
You know, you've had some experts there on the panel already saying that, look, these fines are ridiculous. It could be $1 billion, it matters
nothing to a company that made in excess of 20, $30 billion a year. They're now perhaps looking at ongoing daily, weekly, monthly fines for
these companies if they do not adhere to a strict code of conduct going forward.
MACFARLANE: All right, Paula Newton great to have you with us there live from Ottawa. Thanks, Paula.
Well, you can always follow the stories the team is working on throughout the day by going to our Facebook page. Facebook.com/CNNconnect. Like this
interview with the experienced climber at Everest base camp. Telling us what he thinks is behind this year's deadly climbing season on the
I'm Christina Macfarlane. That was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for watching.