Coalition Airstrikes in Syria and the Issue of Civilian Harm

As the US-led global coalition fights the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), the Syrian Democratic Forces, the coalition’s partner on the ground, have advanced on Raqqa. But as ISIS’s so-called capital and military stronghold is giving way, civilians have been stuck in the middle of intense fighting. Between August 2014 and April 2017, […]

7 Complex Legal Issues SJAC Has Addressed in its Data Analysis

SJAC aims to achieve meaningful justice for Syria. To contribute to this goal, SJAC activities are designed to produce a complete repository of comprehensive, high-quality, and usable documentation that is prepared to feed into justice mechanisms, both in current court cases in Europe and for future transitional justice processes. As was highlighted recently on NPR, […]

Planning for Post-Conflict Governance in Raqqa

On May 9, as part of the  effort to take back the city of Raqqa from the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS), the United States decided  to arm Kurdish elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). According to representatives of the SDF, once liberated, governance will fall to the Raqqa Civilian Council, an […]

ECtHR as an Avenue for Accountability: Possibilities and Constraints

As Russia has, for the time being, closed the door on all available means for international accountability against the Assad government’s atrocities in Syria, human rights groups and lawyers have pursued alternative avenues for justice, including through national prosecutions in European jurisdictions. Although the complaints that target high-level government officials are hugely symbolic, it remains […]

US Military Action against Syria and the Policy Vacuum

Last Thursday, the United States launched strikes on the Shayrat Air Field in Damascus in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack on the town of Khan Shaykhun that killed over 80 civilians. Non-governmental organizations such as the International Rescue Committee have called on the United States to build upon these strikes “to stop the killing […]

From Condemnation to Accountability: Chemical Attack in Khan Shaykhun

Monday, reports emerged that over 70 civilians died in what appears to be a chemical weapon attack in the town of Khan Shaykhun located in the province of Idlib. Early indicators have led weapons experts to believe the Syrian government perpetrated the attack using a nerve agent, but the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical […]

Bridging the Digital Divide of Human Rights Documentation in Syria

This week in Brussels, human rights and technology organizations convened at RightsCon to hear about the latest developments at the intersection of the Internet and human rights. At the same time, a collaborative effort between Amnesty International, Benetech, and The Engine Room released the Arabic version of DatNav: How to navigate digital data for human […]

Forced Displacement in Syria and International Accountability

Last week, in a Russia-brokered agreement between pro-government and opposition forces, approximately 1,100 civilians left their homes in the Homs neighborhood of al-Waer. This marks one of the largest single population transfers in Syria, with thousands more civilians expected to follow suit. Although the sign-up for the “evacuation” was characterized as voluntary, pro-government forces coerced […]

A memorandum to the Secretary General of the United Nations regarding the new United Nations mechanism for investigation and prosecution

  19 January 2017   His Excellency the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, We, Syrian organizations working in the areas of human rights violations, documentation, accountability, and transitional justice, signed this memorandum in regards to the United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/71/ L.48 on the establishment of the International, Impartial and Independent […]