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Procedures in Damascus Turn Missing People’s Status From Absent to Dead

A person is considered dead after being missing for four years, according to Al-Watan
Procedures in Damascus Turn Missing People’s Status From Absent to Dead

A judicial source said that the courts received five procedures to establish death a day, four of them going back to missing people whose fate is unknown, adding that this is not a small number.

In a statement to Al-Watan, the source revealed proposals in the Justice Ministry to form a civilian council concerned with missing people because this issue is very important. He added that the number of requests from to the ministry had been large since a special office was set up for missing people, but did not specify the number.

The source said that there had been proposals pertaining to missing people related to the personal and state procedures, especially marriage, divorce and inheritance and other issues which pertain to them. He said that the missing people had particular items stipulated by the personal status law.

The source said that there were many citizens who the Sharia court in Damascus were reviewing as a result of the fact that some other courts were reluctant to process death establishment procedures for missing people because of the sensitivity of this issue.

The source said that the law defined a missing person as their fate unknown, and then applied particular legal items, especially in the issue of inheritance and divorce. He said that the woman had a right to raise a suit to separate on the grounds of absence and the judge ruled on the divorce based on these grounds, while the missing person is considered dead after four years of his disappearance in the case of war, based on the procedure submitted by his family.

The source added that the judge confirms disappearance through a number of methods, whether through parents, siblings, or listening to testimonies in the case that the wife claims a person disappeared, and other methods which can confirm the person’s disappearance.

The source said that the missing persons issue needed a lot of work, especially given the large number of cases, in cooperation with the relevant ministries. He added that the Justice Ministry was taking procedures which contributed to knowing the fate of the missing people through receiving requests and sending them to the concerned entities.

The source said that there was a program concerned with missing people in the ministry through which requests are archived and related statistics are carried out. He added that this is evidence of the ministry’s interest in this issue at all levels to serve citizens who have lost a relative.

The number of missing people has increased in light of the crisis to tens of thousands, especially in the areas which went out of state control at the beginning of the crisis, and the increase in cases of kidnapping and the spread of looting gangs which has pushed legislators to develop legal items pertaining to kidnapping, including strengthened punishments for these phenomena which have grown during the crisis.

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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