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George and Irina Schaeffer Center

Syria Round Table I: The Struggle Against Impunity in Syria

Room Q-704 - 6 rue du Colonel Combes 75007
Thursday, February 29, 2024 - 17:30 to 19:30

Since 2012, after a year of peaceful pro-democracy protests suppressed by the Assad regime, Syria has been embroiled in a war involving local, regional and international actors. Fierce fighting and massive bombing campaigns have led to the fragmentation of the country, its occupation by foreign forces, and the massive destruction of many of its cities and infrastructure.

At the same time, Syria has witnessed documented war crimes and crimes against humanity that have killed more than half a million civilians, displaced 13 million people (7 million as refugees outside the country and 6 million as internally displaced persons), and left more than a hundred thousand prisoners in regime jails.

How did this happen and evolve over the years? What are the responsibilities of the different actors in reaching this catastrophic situation? Are there any trials and accountability/transitional justice mechanisms to deal with the crimes and their perpetrators? Why did French judges recently issue an arrest warrant for Bachar Al-Assad and other officials? How are lawyers and civil society activists fighting impunity in Syria?

To address these questions, the Shaeffer Center is honored to host a discussion between attorney Cl茅mence Bectarte and researcher Annsar Shahoud on February 29, 2024.

Cl茅mence Bectarte, admitted to the Paris Bar in 2006, specializes in international criminal law, international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

Since 2008, she coordinates the FIDH Litigation Action Group, a network of magistrates, jurists, lawyers and law professors from FIDH member organizations around the world, whose mandate is to support victims of the most serious crimes before national, regional and international courts.

Cl茅mence Bectarte also acts as counsel for FIDH and its leagues, as well as for victims of crimes against humanity, torture and other serious human rights violations from Syria, Iraq, Libya and Egypt before the War Crimes Unit of the Paris Judicial Court.

Annsar Shahhoud, MA, holds a bachelor's degree in law and a master's degree in Holocaust and Genocide Studies from the joint master's program of the University of Amsterdam and the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies. Her research focuses on state violence in Syria. Her recent publications include "Medical G茅nocidaires in the Syrian Civil War (2011-2019)" in the Journal of Genocide Research and the reportage piece "How a Massacre of Nearly 300 in Syria was Revealed" in New Lines Magazine, co-authored with U臒ur 脺mit 脺ng枚r. She is also a co-founder of the LAB to study Violence in Syria, an initiative that focuses on historical sociological studies of violence in Syria.

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