Building Bridges for Syrian Legal Professionals  

Nearly 3 million people have fled to Turkey because of seven years of war in Syria.  Among the refugees are hundreds of legal professionals with valuable knowledge of the Syrian justice system who will be key in strengthening the rule of law and bringing stability to a post-conflict Syria.

Naser Alhasan, a Syrian judge living in Gaziantep, is one of them.  With vast legal expertise but lacking language skills, he encountered countless obstacles in Turkey.

It was for professionals like Judge Alhasan that ILAC and our member organization, the International Association of Young Lawyers (AIJA) launched a ground-breaking project in 2015 aimed at offering Syrian judges free English-language courses.

In fact, only a year since studying with us, Judge Alhasan has been invited to work with an international organisation in Gaziantep, “In the beginning, I felt the road was very long and I was in front of a huge challenge”.

Judge Alhasan says that the courses gave him the ability to read legal texts and court procedures from other countries, while communicating with fellow colleagues and opening his eyes to new opportunities. “I have a dream that was born during this course. It is to create an international network to improve the laws,” says Judge Alhasan.

The English course for Syrian judges in Turkey is funded by AIJA and is part of ILAC’s Syria Programme.

ILAC has been working in Syria since 2014 supporting documentation centres throughout the country that help fill the legal vacuum left by war.