New report on the Judiciary System of the Autonomous Administration

About the author(s):

Katharine Fortin is an Associate Professor at Utrecht University where she teaches IHL and IHRL. Before joining Utrecht University, she worked at the ICTY, ICC and Norton Rose Fulbright. She is the author of The Accountability of Armed Groups under Human Rights Law (Oxford University Press, 2017) which won the 2018 Lieber Prize. She has written widely about the framework of law that applies to armed groups in non-international armed conflicts and is one of the editors of the Armed Groups and International Law blog.

Last week, Omran Center for Strategic Studies published the English translation of a detailed report on the judicial system of the Autonomous Administration in North and East Syria (originally published in Arabic in August 2021). Below, you can find the Omran Center’s description of the report and the full version can be found here.

As the central state authority declined, in favor of the emergence of sub-state formations including ethnic and religious ones, along with international and regional interventions, several local governance models have emerged across Syria as reflected by the dynamic military map. This led to the disappearance of some models and the decline of others, whereas other models achieved relative and cautious stability. In this regard, the “Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria” falls within the last category as it developed through several phases until it reached its current model. Although many years have passed since the actual declaration of the Autonomous Administration with its various institutions and bodies, the level of governance and nature of administration in these institutions and bodies remain problematic and questionable. Thus, this study seeks to explore the nature of the administration and the level of governance in this developing model using the judicial authority as an entry point, as it is considered one of the most prominent indicators. The impact of court processes is not limited to the judicial field, nor does it reflect the legal interest alone; it also offers several indicators on the political, administrative, security, economic, and social levels. Therefore, the study examines the judiciary system of the AA, its structure, various institutions, legal foundations, in addition to the employees working in and running those institutions and their qualifications. The study also attempts to explore the effectiveness, efficiency, and working mechanisms of this system, as well as its impact on North-Eastern Syria, in addition to the complex problems in that region (political, tribal, ethnic and “terrorism”).

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