The National Reconciliation’s Human Rights and Humanitarian track organised symposium on 22nd January entitled “Access to justice and activating the principle of non-impunity.” In the event which was live on Facebook, a group of distinguished Arab and international experts discussed the various issues reflecting on case studies from the region and Yemen.
Houria Mashhour, a founding member of the NRM and former Minister of Human Rights, spoke on the important role the movement plays in ending the war and establishing a just, comprehensive and lasting peace, one which can only be achieved by implementing transitional justice and human rights principles. Mashhour reviewed the Yemeni experience in preparing for the transitional justice approach since 2011 until now and the challenges it faced, noting that the first circulation of this concept in Yemen came after the recommendations of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the need to implement transitional justice following the events of 2011 to address the excessive violence against peaceful protesters in various regions Republic. The issuance of the transitional justice law faced great difficulties, but the National Dialogue Conference addressed the issue with great interest, which was embodied in its outputs based on international standards. Houria Mashhour called for the necessity of including transitional justice in any future peace formula and that it be among the priorities of any agreement to provide justice to the victims and close these files in a fair manner after compensating them and making reparations for their damages, stressing that the right of victims in the crimes committed against them does not fall into a statute of limitations, and if there are no local courts, there are courts international justice.
Naji Haraj, Executive Director of the Geneva International Center for Justice and an expert in international human rights mechanisms, reviewed the most important cases in which a German court ruled against war criminals in Syria, the most important of which was the trial of former officer Anwar Raslan a week ago and his life imprisonment sentence, where he was accused of killing 38 people and torturing 4,000 people, in addition to The rapes, all of which were classified as crimes against humanity during the war, considered this a historic ruling and the first of its kind that gave hope to all those who seek to see a light of justice, followed by the trial of a Syrian doctor two days ago for his contribution to committing crimes against humanity and the use of his profession to torture detainees in prisons and detention centers. Haraj emphasized the success of those trials as a result of the concerted efforts of activists, opponents and the media by documenting what happened since the beginning of the conflict, in addition to the nearly 60 testimonies of survivors of these crimes. The expert, Naji Haraj, touched on the universal jurisdiction that looks into war crimes and crimes against humanity that are internationally prohibited in other countries and addresses them, especially with the failure or failure of local courts to try their perpetrators with impunity. He stressed that no war criminal can circumvent international obligations with impunity.
Raja Al-Talli, member of the Advisory Board of the Office of the International Envoy in Syria, spoke about the Syrian experience in transitional justice, stressing that there can be no justice without peace or peace without justice. She said that murder and torture are one of the most prominent heinous crimes in her country for 11 years, in addition to other serious crimes, the most important of which are the siege and starvation to death, the use of chemical weapons, the forced demographic change of a number of areas, the displacement of more than half of the population of Syria and other crimes. And she touched on the importance of raising awareness about the importance of transitional justice and harmonizing peace and justice tracks because it is an essential part of any upcoming peace process, and continuous thinking about how to implement it from an early age and achieve the ultimate goal of ensuring that such crimes are not repeated, building countries that respect rights and humanity, and restructuring the security services so that Such violations are not repeated, and she stressed the importance of the documentation that is relied upon to achieve justice.
It is worth noting that this symposium, which took place on the virtual zoom platform, was hacked and the hackers tried to disrupt it with obscene pictures, loud music and loud sounds, as the organizers cut the event and then resumed it with a new link that was circulated only within the framework of the members of the movement and the speakers, and one of the most important challenges that emerged was the interruption of the Internet in Yemen, which limited the ability of members of the movement or those interested in participating in this event of paramount importance to what is going on in Yemen or in countries experiencing violent transformations and conflicts in the region.