Transitional Justice in Syria: Scenarios and Options

As conflict in Syria continues, this project will examine options for criminal prosecutions against human rights violators. In just four years, more than 150,000 people have died, and thousands wounded, detained, or disappeared. Another 2 million have been displaced and there has been widespread destruction to property and physical infrastructure.

Syria's history of human rights violations
Syrian human rights groups continue to document extensive human rights violations during the ongoing conflict. These violations build on a long history of repression and human rights in the country.

This project aims to support the newly established Syrian Commission for Transitional Justice (SCTJ) design a transitional justice program for Syria. The SCTJ is an independent entity comprised of Syrian judges, lawyers, human rights activists, and academics. The group also has two advisory boards-one Syrian and one international.

Setting the stage for justice and reconciliation
The Commission aims to foster a culture of accountability and legitimacy in Syria by setting the foundation for transitional justice and a national reconciliation process. It aims to inform and promote discussion among Syrians on transitional justice processes.

The project will provide research on key transitional justice issues, including methods to conduct criminal prosecutions, options for reparations, ways to commemorate the dead, and approaches to national reconciliation.

After consulting with Syrians, the Commission will make practical recommendations about a Syrian-led and -implemented transitional justice process.

Seeking insight, offering recommendations
This project will support the SCTJ's work to study options for criminal prosecutions on serious human rights violators. It will also identify ways to engage in discussions with Syrian policymakers and civil society on these issues.

The SCTJ will commission a video documentary to feature victims' perspectives from the current and past conflicts, along with their thoughts on transitional justice in Syria. It will also hold a series of workshops and a conference to present its findings and recommendations for a Syrian transitional justice process.

Finally, the SCTJ will establish an ethics review committee to oversee project activities and to develop an ethics protocol and guidelines for all Commission activities.

Radwan Ziadeh, the Director of the Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies, heads the SCTJ. A former IDRC grantee institution, the Center developed the Syria Transition Roadmap in 2013.

Project ID

107813

Project status

Active

Start Date

Friday, July 11, 2014

Duration

12 months

IDRC Officer

El-Rifai, Roula

Total funding

CA$ 200,000

Country(s)

Syria

Project Leader

Radwan Ziadeh

Institution

Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies SCPSS

Institution Website

http://www.scpss.org