Project Unites Syrian and Bosnian Judges for Workshop on Missing Persons and Property Rights

Bosnian and Syrian legal professionals together for workshop about missing persons and property rights

Legal professionals from Syrian and Bosnia and Herzegovina are assembled for a workshop on land issues and missing persons which started last week in Sarajevo. Co-organised by ILAC, this exchange brings together justice sector peers from two countries involved in similar conflicts .

Bosnian legal professionals will share lessons related to the role of the justice system in their peacebuilding process. This project offers Syrian judges and lawyers tools to consider which experiences could apply and work in their context and which ones would have to be addressed differently.

The training aims to improve Syrian society´s resilience during conflict while at the same time minimise risks and obstacles in a future transitional period.

During these two weeks, the participants will discuss the role of the judiciary on the process of accounting for missing persons, land restitution, social and economic conditions for reintegration into society as well as judicial reform and rebuilding public confidence in the judiciary after a war.

Syrian judges will meet with Bosnian civil society to discuss challenges victim’s groups face in relation to justice and accountability, such as conflict-related sexual violence and reparations for war victims. The participants will also meet some of the victims from diverse regional and ethical backgrounds in an interactive session. Several representatives from Bosnian returnee communities will discuss their challenges for sustainable return.

       Only people on the field know how it really worked and are able to identify gaps and opportunities that  should be seized, says Rhodri Williams, ILAC senior legal expert and project coordinator.

The project is part of both ILAC´s Syria Programme.

ILAC engages in capacity building of Syrian legal professionals since 2015, training programme in English to senior Syrian lawyers and judges in the exile as well as funds documentation centres outside the government control. This year, ILAC published its key findings from a rule of law and justice sector assessment in Syria.

Since 2011, the President Bashar al-Assad, backed by its allies, and various multi-ethnic groups from the opposition dispute the control over Syria in one of the most violent conflicts in modern era. More than 11 million people — half of the country’s pre-war population — was killed or forced to flee their homes. The unrest in Syria is part of the Arab Spring protests initiated in Tunisia.

The Bosnian war took place from 1992 and 1995 as an aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. Besides the multi-ethnic background– Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims), Serbs, and Croats—, the conflict involved the Yugoslav army and Western countries. The war left 100.000 dead and 2,000,000 displaced. In1993 the UN established the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. The court brought charges against genocide, gross human rights violations and war crimes.