ILAC in Syria

The protracted conflict in Syria has had tragic implications on the Syrian people and society, leading to the destruction of Syrian institutions, with justice institutions bearing a significant brunt. This has, in turn, severely affected the upholding of the rule of law and made it close to impossible for legal professionals and bar associations to practice and contribute to uphold a minimum level of legal services to Syrians. 

Our engagement in Syria aimed to avoid a complete collapse of justice institutions, and to support in placing the rule of law at the forefront of the Syrian peace process and in the policy dialogue arena at the international level. Based on recommendations from ILAC’s Syria Rule of Law Assessment report from 2017, ILAC and its members supported legal professionals and justice actors inside and outside the country in ensuring that justice can be attained by those most in need, whether it is through empowering legal professionals, supporting the provision of civil documentation or providing Syrians with access to criminal defence lawyers. 

ILAC Syria programme – closed:

  • Support to Syrian justice sector professionals to preform basic duties and maintain their skills and professional knowledge of the judicial profession;
  • Establish conditions for the provision of higher legal education to Syrian refugees are in place in neighbouring countries; and
  • Work with Syrian justice professionals to effectively engage with relevant international and national human rights and accountability mechanisms.

Our Impact

Supporting people to register vital life events in conflicts

More than 300.000 civil documents were issued by 21 ILAC-supported civil documentation centres in Syria from 2014-19. The documents have allowed people to register individual statements and family statements, as well as birth, marriage, and death certificates tthroughout the conflict, hence ensuring the provision of the most basic form of legal identity. 

Empowering legal professionals

Capacity building of 200 Syrian legal professionals inside and outside of Syria on:

  • criminal defence
  • Housing, Land and Property rights (HLP)
  • national and international human rights 
  • accountability mechanisms and standards

Improving legal aid

  1. Syrian pro-bono lawyers have represented criminally accused in more than 200 cases, out of which the majority are children. 
  2. ILAC-trained Syrian lawyers have provided legal consultations to 250 people, including criminally accused families and falsely accused children

Equipping legal tools

Together with international and Syrian legal experts, we have issued 15 high quality manuals, and e-learning modules for Syrian lawyers on: 

  • criminal defence
  • HLP rights
  • alternative forms for collection of evidence
  • legal guardianship and advocacy messages on criminal accountability to fight impunity

Our Members and Partners

ILAC’s support to Syria was a joint collaboration between the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency , ILAC and our member organisations, including American Bar Association Rule of Law Institute; Central and European Law Initiative; International Bridges to Justice (IBJ); International Bar Association Human Rights Institute; Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law.

To secure local ownership, we also partnered with local bar associations and local administrative bodies in Syria.

ILAC member, IBJ, has launched a project that builds upon their past work with ILAC supporting lawyers and due process in Syria. To learn more, please visit IBJ’s page here.

Projects in Syria