Justice in non-international armed conflicts

Non-international armed conflicts (NIACs) have become more common and more complex over the last decades. Our exploratory study will lead to the preparation of guidelines for new judicial processes in such conflicts.

As is well-known by experts in the fields, one aspect of the NIACs that has remained largely unaddressed by existing regulatory frameworks is the justice that is commonly carried out by the actors involved in such conflicts. Those actors regularly set up courts, organise trials and enforce judgments. Those judicial processes and the establishment of such courts are not a new phenomenon awaiting international attention as they have been a de facto reality for decades. The simultaneous need for accountability as well as fair trial guarantees in NIACs are often voiced in the international arena. However, the international legal instruments addressing and regulating NIACs have fallen short of providing any useful institutional, procedural or substantive guidance.

It is in this context that the Manchester International Law Centre, the Syrian Legal Development Programme and Lawyers for Justice in Libya have come together and launched an exploratory study meant to lead to the preparation of guidelines for judicial processes in NIACs. While international legal instruments constitute a useful reference, the purpose of the project is not to unearth any existing law but, rather, to identify the most sensible and practical standards of justice applicable to those processes.

About the Syrian Legal Development Programme

SLDP founder, Ibrahim Olabi, discusses the programme, and the support he received from the Manchester International Law Centre.