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With escalation looming, accountability more urgent than ever- The SJAC Weekly Update

6/19/13 5:09 PM



The SJAC Weekly Update- June 11, 2013

With escalation looming, accountability more urgent than ever

Violence in Syria looks about to get even worse. Just as the United States and the EU announce they will supply arms to rebel groups, reports say Iran will send in 4,000 troops to support Al Assad. Meanwhile, both the opposition and the regime (alongside Hezbollah) are preparing to wage a fierce battle for Aleppo, and last weeks killings in Hatla underscore the ongoing sectarian dimension of the conflict. With all signs pointing to escalating violence, Syrians are even more likely to suffer human rights violations and greater incidence of other crimes. But other than human rights-focused groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, most large organizations and governments only condemn violations when it aligns with political ends. Russia, for instance, has downplayed the regimes systematic brutality (including chemical weapons attacks) while those against the regime have waved off repeated rebel violations as isolated incidents. Simply put, geostrategic and military factors are of primary concern to most foreign actors. Clearly then, we must look elsewhere to advance effective human rights and transitional justice efforts. Because, not despite, of the specter of escalation, now is a critical time to spread awareness about transitional justice mechanisms among Syrians. Accountability and justice are important deterrents for continued violence. Theyre also fundamental for future peace building efforts as transitional justice processes help people rebuild their societies, deal with the past, and find ways to move forward. Knowledge about transitional justice is quite limited, but its important for Syrians to know that crimes are not going undocumented and that mechanisms designed to facilitate peace and reconciliation exist and can be made use of as desired. Syrians who dont know about truth-seeking, reparations, and possibilities for institutional reform, for instance, cannot demand them. For Syrians who have seen only the rule of violence in

Transitional justice working group meetings underway

After this weekend's first meeting on prosecutions, Syrian and international experts will convene tomorrow and Thursday for a working group discussing strategies for reparations and memorialization in Syria. More information forthcoming.

More resources available on the SJAC website

Visit the SJAC's Resources page to find documents in Arabic and English on documentation and transitional justice. Above, the
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With escalation looming, accountability more urgent than ever- The SJAC Weekly Update

6/19/13 5:09 PM

recent years, the importance of illuminating an alternate vision cannot be underestimated. Expectations can affect outcomes. After education and awareness, mobilization will be key. How high profile, how much of a priority will accountability be? That can very much be determined by Syrians themselves, especially if they come together as individuals, groups, and communities to mobilize. Specific and persistent calls for accountability can ensure that the post-conflict environment need not be dictated solely by the most powerful actors. The more that Syrians demand a transition that fosters peace, stability, and unity, the more likely that future will come to pass. KEEP READING.

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The SJAC is an independent, non-political, Syrian-led, and multi-laterally supported organization that serves as a coordinating body for all actors promoting transitional justice and accountability for Syria. The SJAC provides vetted, accurate data on human rights violations occurring on all sides of the conflict in Syria. The SJAC expertise and data is used in the transitional justice process for Syria.

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