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A court case for Syria

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The news images about the situation in East Ghouta portrayed yet another bottom point in the bloody Syrian conflict. The United Nations even called East Ghouta ‘hell on earth’. In this program we will talk with Syrian activists, academics and legal experts about finding justice and accountability in this conflict.

According to Amnesty International, more than 400,000 people have been killed in Syria since 2011. A large number of bombardments are being carried out on civilian targets and the violence persists. The question why the perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity keep on getting away with this, remains a sad urgency. Where are our international norms regarding such mass atrocities? Why are the perpetrators not being prosecuted? Will this ever happen? What remains of international law in a conflict like in Syria?

From a personal and interdisciplinary perspective, we look into these questions with Syrian activists, a historian, international law experts and the public. What can be done now and what else is needed to determine the future of Syrian war victims?

About the speakers

  • Mohammad Kanfash. Founder of the humanitarian organization Damaan. This organization offers help to the people in Ghouta from the Netherlands. Mohammad has lived in Ghouta and from a personal perspective he shares his insights with us on the current harsh reality.
  • Husam al-Katlaby. Syrian human rights activist and executive director of the Violations Documentation Center in Syria (VDC). The VDC collects evidence of human rights violations in order to make future trials possible.
  • Uğur Ümit Üngör. Historian and sociologist at the University of Utrecht and researcher at the NIOD institute. He specializes in genocide and mass violence. He is currently investigating and documenting how Syrian refugees experience the mass violence during the war and the dynamic of violent conflict.
  • Marieke Wierda. Born and raised in Yemen, Rule of Law coordinator at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and lawyer. Marieke has extensive experience in the field of transitional justice. She worked for the Yugoslavia Tribunal and for decades for the International Center for Transitional Justice, where she focused on conflict areas such as Sierra Leone, Uganda, Lebanon and Afghanistan. In 2011 she was appointed transitional justice adviser for the UN missions in Libya and Sri Lanka.
  • Carolyn Edgerton. Former prosecutor at the Yugoslavia Tribunal. She has extensive experience in investigating and prosecuting international crimes.
  • The moderator will be Frederiek de Vlaming. Director Nuhanovic Foundation and co-founder Syria Legal Network (SLN). Also senior researcher and professor at the department of Law at the University of Amsterdam.

About this program

This program is organised as part of the exhibition Tens of Thousands. This exhibition was created by Amnesty International in Beirut and can now be seen at the Humanity House in The Hague until May 28th. The exhibition tells the story of Syrians who have disappeared or are missing. Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict in 2011, more than 75,000 people in Syria have vanished without a trace.

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