Supporting Syrian civil society's role on transitional justice and accountability issues

Project objectives

No Peace Without Justice’s work on Syria aims at reducing the expectation and rewards of impunity and building a culture of accountability. The purpose is to equip citizens to demand accountability and justice for violations taking place on a daily basis for the past four and a half years, and at the same time equip the judiciary and legal profession to answer that demand.
The mainstay of the project is a series of advocacy and training events, which are being held in Gaziantep, Turkey, near the Syrian border, with Syrian judges, lawyers and civil society activists from Syria who can bring the skills and (perhaps more importantly) aspirations for justice back to their work and their constituents inside Syria.
The training series focuses on specific themes and issues which are relevant to justice and accountability process, rather than provide generic training on human rights and transitional justice.

Training has already been held on Chemical Weapons Awareness and Documentation, Forensic Investigations of Cases of Political Violence, Documentation of Cases of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, Digital Safety and Security and Sexual and Gender-Based Violence more broadly. In 2014, NPWJ plans to cover crimes against children in armed conflict (including recruitment) or in which children are significant targets; crimes against women, including sexual and gender-based violence; independence of the judiciary; fair trial standards; International Humanitarian and Criminal Law; principles of legislative drafting, not only for legal practitioners but also for civil society (constitution building, etc.); psychological-social impact of human rights documentation, including primary and secondary post-traumatic stress disorder; and human rights in refugee and IDP environments.

Some of the issues may be dealt with in multiple training programs and some of the training programs will cover more than one issue. All trainings will include some degree of risk awareness to address the most common physical, digital and psychological risks.

The long-term goal of this project is to promote democracy and human rights protection through incorporating justice and accountability in decision-making on conflict resolution and stability, development, and reconstructing planning in Syria. The project's strategic objective is to support Syrian civil society playing an active role on justice and accountability issues, including advocacy and documenting human rights violations, including receiving, gathering, collecting, collating, processing and securely storing information, documentation and materials and analyse it for the purpose of establishing what happened and reconstructing decision-making processes that resulted in violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in Syria since March 2011. 

Project activities

NPWJ project activities are carried out through two parallel and complementary processes.

On the one hand, NPWJ provides assistance to the Syrian NGO “The Day After” in its work on institutional capacity building and policy guidance function of conveying technical advice and support to the Syrian Opposition Coalition, and through them to a future government, in the establishment of a coherent institutional framework for accountability and transitional justice (courts, truth commissions, etc.).

On the other hand, NPWJ is working in partnership with Syrian human rights organisation and networks (including  the Violations Documentation Centre (VDC), the Syrian Institute for justice (JUSTICE), Dawlaty) as well as with the Assistance Cooperation Unit (ACU) and the Local Administration Councils Unit (LACU), two operative branches of the Syrian National Council (SNC), to build grassroots advocacy and campaigning skills on transitional justice and accountability for human rights and democracy activists and organisations throughout Syria. NPWJ provides substantive expertise both on advocacy and campaign strategies and on the substance of transitional justice, including on outreach and documentation. NPWJ work is also designed to provide a tool through which areas of the country or specific types of violations that are under-represented can be identified and addressed, particularly vulnerable groups such as women, young people and children.

These two complementary set of activities will contribute to ensure : a) the technical capacity for the future Syrian State (and in the meanwhile the Coalition and whatever other institutions will be operational in advance of liberation) to deliver an effective system of accountability and transitional justice; b) that the establishment of a fair, effective, and independent transitional justice system (in all its components) becomes a strong and shared political demand of human rights campaigners as well as a political priority for the future Syrian State (and in the meanwhile the Coalition) during and after any transition begins.
Funds have been generously provided by the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
List of specific activities:

List of press releases:

  • 30 Jun 2016 Press preview of the painting “Angels of Syria” in Brussels Read More
  • 11 Jun 2016 Syria: NPWJ and TDA organise a Workshop on Constitution-Building Processes Read More
  • 27 May 2016 NPWJ joins 57 NGOs welcoming proposed aid air drops in Syria Read More
  • 28 Mar 2016 Syrian Civil Society Recommendations on Accountability, SGBV, Women’s Rights and Children’s Rights Read More
  • 24 Mar 2016 Syria: NPWJ and its Syrian partners submit recommendations for consideration at the 26th Session of the UPR Working Group Read More
  • 17 Mar 2016 Syria: NPWJ joins civil society renewed calls for Bassel Khartabil’s release on 4th anniversary of detention Read More
  • 16 Mar 2016 UNHRC: NPWJ convenes side Event on "Syria: Five years seeking democracy and accountability"Read More
  • 23 Feb 2016 Syria: NPWJ organises a workshop on “Promoting accountability through UN mechanisms with a focus on women and children” Read More
  • 10 Feb 2016 Emma Bonino in collegamento con Ballarò dalla città turca Gaziantep vicina al confine con la SiriaRead More
  • 29 Jan 2016 Intra-Syrian Geneva talks need clarity on civil society role Read More
  • 25 Nov 2015 Side event on "Accountability and the Prospect of a Political Solution to the Conflict in Syria"Read More
  • 18 Nov 2015 “Inside Syrian Regime Prisons: the Caesar Files” Exhibit Read More
  • 04 Nov 2015 Syria: No Word on Activist’s Whereabouts. Bassel Khartabil Transferred to Undisclosed Location on October 3 Read More
  • 07 Oct 2015 Syria: NPWJ joins civil society call for the immediate release of Bassel Khartabil Read More
  • 06 Oct 2015 Syria: Joint Statement Urging Release of Human Rights Lawyer Khalil Ma’touq Read More
  • 21 Sep 2015 UN / Geneva: NPWJ and NRPTT convene Side Event on "Political Solution and Accountability for Syria" Read More
  • 08 Aug 2015 Necessary, but sufficient? UN Security Council authorises new body to investigate chemical weapons in Syria Read More
  • 27 Jul 2015 Syria: NPWJ convenes meeting on transitional justice and accountability with Stephen Rapp Read More
  • 13 Jul 2015 Syria: Exhibition of ‘Caesar’ Photographs – “Inside Syrian Authorities’ Prisons” Read More
  • 25 Jun 2015 UN / Geneva: NPWJ and NRPTT convene Side Event on "Syria after tyranny: achieving a democratic and pluralistic future" Read More
  • 22 May 2015 Syria / Palmyra: Impunity puts more lives, heritage of humanity at risk Read More
  • 29 Apr 2015 Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare: NPWJ calls for accountability in SyriaRead More
  • 28 Apr 2015 Syria: Human rights organizations mark birthday of Razan Zaitouneh with renewed call for release of ‘Duma Four’ Read More
  • 16 Mar 2015 Syria: NPWJ calls on the UN Human Rights Council to support the fight against impunity Read More
  • 12 Mar 2015 #withSyria coalition: Eighty-Three Percent of Syria's Lights Extinguished After Four Years of Crisis Read More
  • 16 Feb 2015 Syria: Free Rights Defenders Held 3 Years Read More
  • 10 Dec 2014 Human Rights Day: NPWJ convenes a side event on “Accountability for Syria: Options and Preparations” at the 13th ASP to the ICC Read More
  • 09 Dec 2014 Joint statement / Syria: No word on four abducted activists. A year on, no information on Douma Four Read More
  • 16 Sep 2014 UN / Geneva: NPWJ and NRPTT convene Side Event on "Syria: Focus on Children" Read More
  • 21 Aug 2014 First anniversary of Ghouta chemical attack: NPWJ calls for justice and accountability in Syria Read More
  • 19 June 2014 Ending impunity in Syria and ICC referral: Open letter to the UN Human Rights Council Permanent Representatives Read More
  • 17 June 2014 UN / Geneva: NPWJ and NRPTT convene side event on “Ending Impunity for Atrocities in Syria” Read More
  • 30 May 2014 Syria / #Douma4 Campaign: Free Prominent Rights Defenders Read More
  • 22 May 2014 UNSC/Syria: Russia and China’s vetoes block overwhelming consensus to ensure justice and accountability Read More
  • 15 May 2014 Syria: over 100 human rights groups, including HRW, NPWJ and FIDH, call for ICC referral Read More
  • 09 May 2014 Syria: SIOI and NPWJ conclude second training on SPHERE humanitarian charter Read More
  • 28 Apr 2014 Syria: TDA and NPWJ organise training on Designing a Transitional Justice Poll Read More
  • 16 Apr 2014 Justice for Syria: NPWJ and NRPTT welcome French initiative on ICC Referral Read More
  • 01 Apr 2014 Syria: SIOI and NPWJ conclude training on SPHERE humanitarian charter Read More
  • 25 Mar 2014 Syria Transition Roadmap: NDI, EFD and NPWJ convene briefing at the European Parliament Read More
  • 15 Mar 2014 Together #withSyria: Let 2014 be the year to end the suffering Read More
  • 13 Mar 2014 NPWJ Training of the Trainers on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Syria concludes Read More
  • 14 Feb 2014 Syria: NPWJ concludes second Training Course on “Forensic Investigations of Cases of Political Violence and the Disappeared” Read More
  • 07 Feb 2014 Syria / Geneva II Conference: NPWJ adresses open letter to the UN Permanent Representatives Read More
  • 01 Feb 2014 “#SGBV in #SYRIA”: NPWJ concludes second training on Sexual and Gender-Based ViolenceRead More
  • 29 Jan 2014 Syria: SIJ and NPWJ mark the first anniversary of the Queiq River massacre with a ceremony in Istanbul Read More
  • 8 March 2014 International Women’s Day: NPWJ and SWN pay tribute to the courage of Syrian Women Read more
  • 23 Jan 2014 Geneva II Conference on Syria: accountability and justice for violations must be put on centre stage Read more
  • 16 Jan 2014 A safe digital way to Transitional Justice: NPWJ Concludes Training on Digital Security for Syrian Human Rights Activists Read more
  • 11 Dec 2013 Syria: NPWJ and NRPTT firmly condemn the abduction of Razan Zeitouneh along with three other prominent human rights activists Read more
  • 09 Dec 2013 Syria: NPWJ supports civil society capacity on documenting sexual and gender based violence Read more
  • 27 Nov 2013 Syria: NPWJ organises Training Course on “Forensic Investigations of Cases of Political violence” Read more
  • 23 Nov 2013 12th ASP to the ICC: NPWJ held a side event on “Accountability for Syria” Read more
  • 14 Oct 2013 Syria: NPWJ Concludes First Training Course on Chemical Weapons Awareness and Documentation for Syrian Human Rights Activists Read more
  • 31 July 2013 Syria: Dawlaty and NPWJ release publication to support Transitional Justice and Accountability Read more
  • 23 June 2013 NPWJ and Freedom House convene Practitioners’ Dialogue on Transitional Justice in Istanbul Read more
  • 23 March 2013 Syria: Dawlaty and NPWJ convene expert consultation on accountability and transitional justice Read more
  • 20 February 2013 Syria: violence cannot be rewarded as a legitimate path to power Read more
  • 24 January 2013 Syria: Roundtable discussion with Mustafa Haid on the role of "Dawlaty" in raising awareness of transitional justice Read more
  • 14 January 2013 UNSC/ICC: Justice and accountability are the only way forward for lasting peace and security in Syria and the region Read more
  • 19 November 2012 11th ASP to the ICC: NPWJ convenes side event on “Accountability and Transitional Justice in the Middle East and North Africa” Read more
  • 22 August 2012 The Syrian conflict as a mirror of the current state of international relations Read more
  • 23 April 2012 Justice and accountability are the only way forward for lasting peace and security in Syria and the region Read more
  • 15 April 2012 Syria: UN Security Council Resolution first timid belated step to put an end to impunityRead more
  • 02 March 2012 NPWJ and the NRPTT welcome EU push for accountability for crimes in Syria Read more
  • 05 February 2012 Syria: the regime must be held accountable for its crimes Read more
  • 01 August 2011 Syria: NRPTT, NPWJ and HoC urge ICC investigation Read more



  • Transitional Justice in Syria, Dawlaty & NPWJ, July 2013 (Download the book in EnglishArabic)

For further information, please contact Alison Smith, Director of the International Criminal Justice Program, on, or Gianluca Eramo, MENA Democracy Program Coordinator on
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