Recent proposals by the international community fail to take into account the need for accountability and the rule of law – an omission that many Syrian lawyers, judges, and experts cannot accept.
More than 170 Syrian lawyers, judges, and civil society leaders working in the fields of human rights and transitional justice are fighting current international proposals for a so-called “political solution” to the Syrian crisis because the plans risk entrenching impunity and jeopardizing any hope of durable peace..
“We declare that we will not accept any political solution that does not include an accountability process with an aim to prosecute those on all sides who have perpetrated war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
This “Transitional Justice Coordination Group” is aiming for a political solution for the Syrian conflict that will achieve stability, security, freedom, and economic recovery for all Syrians.
The working group believes that any political solution that does not hold perpetrators to account through fair courts, reforming state institutions, compensating victims, and commemorating their memory through a comprehensive national transitional justice program will not lead to a successful political process.
“The Syrian people’s right to justice and accountability cannot be bought and sold by the international community in the name of peace. A deal cannot be imposed on the victims of war crimes and their families against their will; we Syrians must be consulted on these decisions that shape our futures," according to human rights lawyer Radeef Mustafa.
Furthermore, the members of the working group also believe that initiatives currently being proposed by De Mistura and other members of the international community jeopardize the entire political solution that they claim to seek because it is being hinted or stated outright that immunity may be offered to suspects of war crimes. Some politicians and so-called experts even proposed to solve the conflict by partnering with Assad in the desperate hope that it would lead to the defeat of terrorist groups.
“Terrorism cannot be addressed by offering further impunity to perpetrators of war crimes.”
“When war criminals are allowed to remain free, or worse yet, to lead nations, it leads to failed states as demonstrated by the situation in other countries in the region," said lawyer Layla Al Odat.
The Syrian Transitional Justice Coordination Group is alarmed that some are using the counterterrorism imperative to justify overriding the Syrian people’s call for justice.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Syrian Observer.