Transitional Justice According

Transitional Justice According to the View of the Bloc

The matter of transitional justice is the main issue that should be pursued after the radical changes that affect societies plagued by fighting, destruction, and violations leaving behind victims, physical destruction, disintegration of social structures and dislocation in state functions.


The end of the era of tyranny, the restoration of civil peace, the unity of society and internal reconciliation all require: calming people down, responding to grievances, returning rights to their owners, compensating for the affected, disclosing the fate of the missing people and the truth of what happened, determining responsibilities and prosecuting the perpetrators of crimes and violations. Moreover, the reconstruction of judicial and legal institutions is a necessary condition and an urgent need to build the society after the killing and destruction that took place; the spirit of revenge and retaliation and the containment of possible chaos cannot be controlled and settled down unless the affected feel that their rights will not be lost and that the perpetrator will not go unpunished.

Moreover, any person cannot feed his sense of belonging to the homeland and society and contribute to building them if he/she is not reassured that he/she will get justice and that the era of despotism and tyranny and the seizure of power has come to an end and the sun of freedom will remain bright forever.

The concept of transitional justice is an exceptional concept of justice that differs from the ordinary concept of justice in terms of objectives, rules, standards, bodies and mechanisms because exceptional circumstances require exceptional treatment and the rules and mechanisms of ordinary justice cannot work with it.

This is because it requires a number of fact, the most important of which is the recognition of violations committed against individuals and groups or saying the truth and working on clarifying them through investigating and examining the acts and facts that occurred and providing conditions to access all sources of information and ensuring their validity by all means available.  It is not limited to acknowledging responsibility for actions, but it includes admitting not to repeat them and providing objective and subjective conditions to ensure that they are not repeated. It is a public moral and legal obligation to overturn the page of the past and not to return to it. In addition to the disclosure of truth and doing that in public and compensating the affected people and their families for the damage that the violations have caused, it requires providing the required means for not repeating them the future, which necessitates the introduction of deep reformations to the system of laws and the structure of institutions in addition to changing the culture governing the relationship between the state and society in general.

It is a major transformation that must be achieved in order to achieve reconciliation being a possibility to compensate the affected, rebuild confidence, stimulate the community and create the national cohesion required to notify people and convince them that the reconciliation has been achieved indeed and that the sense of security and safety will take effect on their collective consciousness.

The goal of transitional justice is not only to condemn criminals and to apply law, but it is the basis to restore civil peace, achieve national reconciliation, and eradicate the effects of the tyranny period that encourages continuing destruction if it is not transcended, to preserve the rights of those affected by the compensation that will be the responsibility of the state through the institution of transitional justice itself.  It also aims at creating a situation of breaking up with violations of human rights, support for the conditions of democratic transition, recognition of what the victims have experienced from violations and the promotion of peace and democratic reconciliation. It also aims to reformulate the relationship between power and society to be based on the supremacy of law and respect for human rights, freedom, and dignity. It is necessary to emphasize that transitional justice in the pursuit of its purposes is also aimed at reassuring those who have not committed crimes and violations that there will not be prosecution or retaliation or dealing with them in revengeful or vengeful spirit. It also aims to provide adequate guarantees to those who committed crimes or violations that courting them for their actions will be conducted according to the standards of public justice that have settled in the conscience of the humanitarian community, including fair public trials established by the international conventions governing the human rights of the accused, including the right to defend and be suited and tried at different levels and degrees.

In its pursuit of its objectives, it will be based on legal and judicial natural institutions, not limited to judges and legists to administer it, but there will be among their staff a specialist in social affairs and experts in several fields needed to ensure the success of transitional justice progress. Emanating from the transitional justice institution, for example, will be several bodies with different types and structures that differ from the judicial structures. It will include some representatives of the society and its various institutions to participate with judges and courts in achieving transitional justice.

In this regard, it is worth mentioning that any talk about any likely forgiveness must be done in the framework of establishing reconciliation, not to conceal justice; it must be a necessity and an exception, not an approach that has a general character. So, the wound should not be healed whilst it is still bleeding without being cleansed so it might turn into a fire under the ash that can stir up at any time. Consequently, forgiveness or amnesty should be limited and private and should be strictly used to close files that have been terminated and reconciled about.

Transitional justice and the establishment of its institutions and bodies are priorities for the next phase and we must be ready and prepared for them, but to start from now to provide initiatives and diligence to prepare the foundations and constituents for it, especially the immediate start of a popular campaign to spread the concept and make citizens aware with it to put the first brick to rebuild modern Syria.

In order to ensure that transitional justice achieve its sought objectives, we should work on:

1- Establish a fund to compensate the victims for physical and moral harm, be it on the self and properties or for the loss of the breadwinner, through specialized committees that will conduct a field survey of all the regions: to list the names of the victims and missing persons, to assess the value of the material damage, to determine the number of the injured and wounded, to ensure the continuation of their treatment, start quick procedures to shelter the homeless who have lost their homes, and provide quick aids to those who have been hurt and affected partly to repair their homes and housing.

2- Prosecute the perpetrators of crimes and violations by a judicial system and judges who are recognized for their integrity, impartiality and independence to assess crimes committed during the conflict and to prosecute the criminals and compel them to pay compensation and return stolen money.

3- Formulate committees for civil peace and national reconciliation, including credible cultural, scientific, legal, artistic, religious and social figures to go to divided societies that have experienced religious or sectarian or national conflicts or sensitivities to pacify the souls, establish interests, dispel doubts, restore trust among the components of society and also contribute to disclose the fate of missing persons and abductees and to provide support and psychological treatment to victims of violations.

4- Set up a media office whose task is to carry out a comprehensive campaign to explain the concept of transitional justice, its means and bodies, its role using all visual and audiovisual media to be managed by legal and social specialists, assisted by volunteer youth committees formed in cooperation with local associations trained to communicate the idea of transitional justice to all citizens to help them interact with its bodies, trust it, submit their application to it and follow up it.

5- Establish an office to commemorate the anniversary and the truth, document the events that have occurred and illustrate them, date them  including the commemoration of the names of victims who died through memorials or assigning schools with their names, places, and squares in the geographical locations where they died and the introduction of these facts into the curriculum so as what has happened in the country will be a lesson that benefits everyone from it, a lesson for the coming generations in order not to forget the great sacrifices that have been made, and to make their image always present in the memory of the community and immortal in the memory of the homeland.

6- Work to reconstruct and reform the official institutions, especially the military, security and judicial, which are known for committing the most atrocious violations of human rights.

Finally, it is recognized in this context that the gate to the application of transitional justice is achieved through the creation of a constitutional or legislative text that obligates the state to implement the transitional justice concept and system in all its fields within a period of time determined for each stage. Moreover, any law or constitutional declaration in the future must stipulate that the application of transitional justice shall not be subject to any limitations in laws regarding crimes, acts, previous amnesty, judicial authority or orders received from higher ranks or other methods or prosecution in usual criminal justice.