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Documenting Human Rights Abuses and Transitional Justice in Syria

Hosted by the LSE IDEAS

Online public event


Salma Kahale

Salma Kahale

Social justice activist

Sema Nassar

Sema Nassar

Human rights defender and Co-founder of Urnammu

Ibrahim Olabi

Ibrahim Olabi

Barrister at Guernica 37 and Founder of the Syrian Legal Development Programme

Iavor Rangelov

Iavor Rangelov

Assistant Professorial Research Fellow at LSE IDEAS

Ruti Teitel

Ruti Teitel

Ernst C. Stiefel Professor of Comparative Law at New York Law School


Rim Turkmani

Rim Turkmani

Syria Country Director, Conflict Research Programme

The Syrian war is the most documented conflict in history. But is documentation paving the way for justice? Drawing on new research from the Conflict Research Programme, the panel will discuss the current gaps in documentation and ways to address them. 

A new paper from the Conflict Research Programme (CRP), Documentation of human rights violations and transitional justice in Syria: gaps and ways to address them, shows how the documentation efforts of international actors and civil society are already shaping the prospects for transitional justice in Syria. There are significant gaps in the documentation required both for accountability processes and for reparative and restorative justice. The event will discuss how to address these gaps and build a solid foundation for holding perpetrators to account and providing recognition and redress to victims.

Download the paper here.

Salma Kahale is a Syrian feminist and social justice activist with over 15 years of experience in youth engagement, women’s rights and transitional justice. She has worked in several countries in the Middle East developing and implementing national policies on child protection and youth mobilisation. For the past six years, Salma has been the Executive Director of Dawlaty, leading its work on inclusive justice, civic engagement and campaigning with families and survivors of detention and disappearance.

Sema Nassar, a human rights defender, has worked for the past 9 years to follow up on the files and fate of detainees and disappeared persons in Syria, and to monitor and document the violations committed against them with a focus on documenting violence against women. Sema is co-founder of Urnammu for Justice and Human Rights and the “WE” network, a framework to create a safe environment for women human rights defenders in the MENA region.

Ibrahim Olabi is the founder of the Syrian Legal Development Programme, a NGO working on fighting impunity in Syria and the promotion of the rule of law since 2014. Ibrahim is also a barrister at Guernica 37, International Justice Chambers. He previously worked as a consultant to the UN OHCHR and the International Bar Association on Syria related matters.

Iavor Rangelov is Assistant Professorial Research Fellow at LSE IDEAS. He chairs the Governing Board of the Humanitarian Law Center, Belgrade, and co-chairs the London Transitional Justice Network. Iavor has published extensively in the areas of transitional justice, human rights and security, and civil society in a variety of contexts.

Ruti Teitel is the Ernst C. Stiefel Professor of Comparative Law at New York Law School and Visiting Professor at Hebrew University.  Ruti is the founding co-chair of the American Society of International Law, Interest Group on Transitional Justice and Rule of Law, and a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She is the author of path-breaking books in transitional justice, human rights and international law, including Transitional Justice and Humanity’s Law.

Rim Turkmani (@Rim_Turkmani) is the Research Director for the Conflict Research Programme work in Syria. 

Twitter hashtags: #LSESyria and #LSEJustice

About the Conflict Research Programme

The Conflict Research Programme (CRP) is a four year research programme hosted by LSE IDEAS at the LSE. Our goal is to understand and analyse the nature of contemporary conflict and to identify international interventions that ‘work’ in the sense of reducing violence or contributing more broadly to the security of individuals and communities who experience conflict.

It is often assumed that contemporary conflicts are the consequence of ‘fragile’, ‘failed’ or ‘collapsed’ states. The CRP uses the concept of public authority, which could refer to a state, a municipality, a chiefdom or an international organisation—or any emergent form of socio-political institution. The programme investigates how different forms of public authority actually function; and we argue that levels of violence and insecurity tend to depend on the nature of the different logics. 

LSE IDEAS (@lseideas) is LSE's foreign policy think tank. We connect academic knowledge of diplomacy and strategy with the people who use it. 

Learn more.


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Photo credit: EK McConnell, Bullet holes. Wall against which executions apparently took place while the fairground was occupied by Syrian forces up to 2006. Source: Flickr. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.