The Road Ahead for Peace and Justice in Syria
The Free Syrian Lawyers Association (FSLA), the Washington College of Law (WCL), and the Syria Justice and Accountability Centre (SJAC) invite students, practitioners, and experts to discuss the political and legal dimensions of the Syrian peace process. Since June 2016 when official talks were suspended, alliances have changed, control of territory has shifted, and US leadership has become more tenuous than ever. In the context of impunity and growing anti-refugee sentiment, is there any hope of a victim-centered justice approach being incorporated into a final peace agreement?
After Aleppo, the political dynamics in Syria and the region have changed considerably. With the recent round of negotiations sponsored by Russia and Turkey in Astana, Kazakhstan and the preparation for another round of UN-sponsored negotiations in Geneva, there is still no clear path for peace, justice, or the resettlement/return of over 11 million refugees and internally displaced people.
The panelists will discuss a variety of topics that will likely influence the talks, including the legal and political implications of the Syrian refugee crisis and the Trump administration’s recent calls for safe zones; whether justice and human rights are compatible with the international community’s national security priorities in Syria; and, with increased US disengagement, the tactics the UN Special Envoy to Syria should consider as chief negotiator of the peace process.
Robert Goldman, is Professor of Law & Louis C. James Scholar at the Washington College of Law where he teaches, inter alia, the Law of Armed Conflict and Human Rights and Terrorism. Professor Goldman is currently Vice-President of the International Commission of Jurists. He is a former President of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and was the United Nation’s Independent Expert on Human Rights and Terrorism.
Juan E Mendez, is a Professor of Human Rights Law in Residence at WCL. Between November 2010 and October 31, 2016, he was the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment. In 2009 and 2010 he was the Special Advisor on Prevention to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. He was also Co-Chair of the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association (2010-11). Until May 2009 he was the President of the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) and in the summer of 2009 he was a Scholar-in-Residence at the Ford Foundation in New York. Concurrent with his duties at ICTJ, the Honorable Kofi Annan named Mr. Méndez his Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, a task he performed from 2004 to 2007.
Mohammad Al Abdallah, Executive Director, SJAC — Since 2012, Mr. Al Abdallah has led SJAC’s efforts to comprehensively document and analyze violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Syria and drive justice discourse among Syrians and the international community. He previously worked for Human Rights Watch in Beirut and was imprisoned twice in Syria for his work defending human rights and calling for political reform.
Panel will be moderated by Sofia Schrager Lazcano, who is a Mexican-American Human Rights attorney. She holds a J.D. degree from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City and an L.L.M degree in International Legal Studies, specializing in Human Rights from the American University Washington College of Law.
Lunch will be served!