Syria: Dawlaty and NPWJ release publication to support Transitional Justice and Accountability

Brussels-Rome, 31 July 2013

Violence cannot be rewarded as a legitimate path to power and political leverage. The cycle of impunity that is ravaging Syria must be broken. Syrian human rights activists can play a key role in ensuring that the future of Syria is defined by institutions that embrace principles of democracy and pluralism, and that offer redress and accountability for human rights violations and promote reconciliation.
In the framework of their common engagement to support Syrian civil society groups, human rights and democracy activists in promoting a culture of accountability, the Syrian human rights organisation Dawlaty and No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) are releasing a publication dedicated to “Transitional Justice in Syria”. The purpose of this publication is to increase public awareness of transitional justice as a crucial to enable a transition towards future Syrian institutions that embrace principles of democracy, rule of law and pluralism, and that offer redress and accountability for human rights violations and promote reconciliation and civic values. This publication has been produced in part with the financial assistance of the German Federal Foreign Office (AA) and the Heinrich Böll Stiftung (hbs) MENA - Beirut.
Syria’s revolution started in February 2011 when protestors took to the streets demanding an end to the abuses of power and political oppression that had ruled their society for decades. State security forces responded with violence, intimidation and arrests. In the following months and years, thousands have continued to take to the streets in cities across Syria; the confrontations have grown increasingly violent and the risks to civilians continue to grow day by day. As of July 2013, Syria finds itself in the middle of a violent and increasingly complex revolution. The death toll exceeds 70,000 with tens of thousands more injured, of unknown whereabouts and locked in detention centres where torture and abuse have become routine. This violence has driven millions of Syrians from their homes and communities with an estimated 1.3 million Syrians forced to take refuge in neighbouring countries and several million more displaced within Syria itself.
Against that background, this publication addresses one issue that is inextricably linked to establishing sustainable peace: transitional justice. A stable and sustainable peace in Syria, governed by the rule of law, requires a comprehensive justice and accountability process to defeat the culture of impunity that has allowed violations to go unchallenged for decades. Syrians are well aware of the cost of impunity: the memory and impact of massacres and violent political confrontations in the 1970s and 1980s are still being felt. There is now a growing determination to confront the country’s history of impunity and ensure that it is not allowed to continue undermining Syria’s prospective peace and stability.
Transitional justice is the means through which Syria can confront its past; empower and restore the dignity of victims; provide a basis for reforming political structures and restoring the rule of law; and secure a foundation for reconciliation initiatives. Transitional justice is not the only approach Syria will need to overcome its past and achieve peace and stability, but it is an important tool to reach those goals.

  • Download the book in English, Arabic
  • Visit the special page dedicated to NPWJ project supporting Syrian civil society role on transitional justice and accountability issues

For further information please contact Gianluca Eramo, MENA Program Coordinator on or Nicola Giovannini on or +32-2-548-3915.