Best investigative reporting in any medium on an international story
AWARD DATE: 2016
AWARD NAME: 21 Best Commentary
AWARD RECIPIENT: Ben Taub
AWARD RECIPIENT AFFILIATION: The New Yorker/Pulitzer Center
AWARD HONORED WORK: “War Crimes in Syria”
AWARD SPONSOR: Michael Serrill
The war in Syria has generated headlines around the world, many of them focusing on atrocities committed by the militant group, Islamic State. Less understood is the saga of torture and murder going on in every corner of the Syrian government’s security and intelligence apparatus. In an exhaustively detailed account, Ben Taub of The New Yorker laid bare the horrific campaign to stamp out opposition, sanctioned by top levels of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government. Based on a heroic international effort to gather documentation of these war crimes, Taub’s account took the more than 600,000 photos, internal memos and witness statements collected thus far and wove a powerful and heartbreaking story of a government waging war on its own citizens. Taub spent months poring through the war crimes files to collect evidence of at least 11,000 victims mutilated, cut, burned, shot, beaten and strangled by the powerful apparatus of the Syrian state. His meticulous review of the documents was supplemented by his own unforgettable interviews with one of the regime’s torture victims, and the dramatic saga of the war crimes investigators themselves — lending a powerful humanity to the document dive. The result was a piece that deployed the best traditions of investigative journalism to achieve a chilling and unforgettable narrative that truly holds power to account.
Read the articles included in this entry:
Does anyone in Syria fear international law?
Aleppo’s “evacuation” is a crime against humanity
Citation Recipient: Chris Hamby
Affiliation: BuzzFeed News
Honored Work: “Secrets of a Global Super Court”