Accountability and transitional justice

For more than 10 years, the SCM has worked inside and outside Syria to defend victims of human rights violations and promote accountability. We document violations, gather evidence and build cases to be brought to justice.

In 2017, we are continuing to support cases inside Syria, building and supporting cases in Europe, and pushing for further involvement of Syrian civil society in international investigation and justice mechanisms such as the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, and the recently UNGA established International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism to Assist in the Investigation and Prosecution of Those Responsible for the Most Serious Crimes under International Law Committed in the Syrian Arab Republic since March 2011.

In support of cases of human rights violations inside Syria, SCM has supported more than 100 cases concerning the defence of victims of governmental oppression, including on-going cases. Examples of cases inside Syria include:

  • Muhannad Al-Hassani,[1] whose work focused on defending Syrian political prisoners and exposing abuses in the Supreme State Security Court (SSSC), wrongfully imprisoned in 2009 for “weakening national sentiment” and “conveying within Syria news that could debilitate the morale of the nation”. Muhannad Al-Hassani was released June 2 2011.
  • Tal al-Mallohi,[2] a blogger arrested in 2009 when 17 years old and sentenced for five years on charges of spying for a foreign country. Tal al-Mallohi remains in detention despite have served five years since her sentence.
  • Khalil Maatouk,[3] a lawyer of the Legal Unit of SCM subjected to forced disappearance in Damascus in October 2012 and held arbitrarily since then.

Since 2008 we work with partners in Europe to bring cases to national judicial authorities against human rights violators for crimes. SCM partners with European human rights organizations including the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, as well as Syrian human rights organizations. An example of cases in Europe supported by SCM:

  • The case of Franco-Syrian father and son Patrick and Mazzen Dabbagh[4] referred to the office of the Prosecutor of the Paris Court’s specialized unit for the prosecution of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

On 1 March 2017, together with seven claimants from Syria as well as Syrian lawyer Mr. Anwar al-Bunni, director of the Syrian Center for Legal Researches & Studies, and the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights submitted the first criminal complaint against six identified and further unknown high-level officials of the Syrian Military Intelligence Service and Syrian Government to the Office of the German Federal Public Prosecutor. The complaint addresses crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in three prisons of the Military Intelligence Service in Syrian Arab Republic.

[1] http://www.freedom-now.org/campaign/muhannad-al-hassani/

[2] https://pen.org/defending-writers/tal-al-mallouhi

[3] http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/country-files/syria/events/article/syria-human-rights-call-for-the-release-of-khalil-maatouk-and-mohammed-zaza-09

[4] https://www.fidh.org/en/region/north-africa-middle-east/syria/the-case-of-two-disappeared-franco-syrians-in-a-bachar-el-assad-jail