Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Syria's military field courts

The Syrian Network for Human Rights has issued a powerful report titled An Instrument of Death and Disappearance: How the Syrian Regime Uses Military Field Courts Against Activists and Dissidents.

"The report explains the history of the founding of Military Field Courts in Syria, their historical evolution, structure, jurisdiction, procedural laws, and legitimacy from constitutional and human rights standpoints, as well as how they serve as instruments fully controlled by the head of state and the Minister of Defense. The report also details how Military Field Courts fail to adhere to the most basic guarantees of a fair trial, such as the right to attorney, the right to a public trial, and the right to appeal, as well as revealing that their judges do not report to the judiciary with regard to various functions such as appointments, transfers, inspection and disciplinary matters. That is to say that the Military Field Court is, in reality, an instrument wielded by the head of the state, the Ministry of Defense, and the state security apparatus to perpetuate the regime’s tyrannical rule and crush anyone who dares to involve themselves in any dissident action. In light of the nature of the complexities of the Military Field Court in Syria and the Syrian regime’s enforced disappearance practices and the intersection between these, the report draws upon multiple analytical tools in analyzing the data in the hopes of arriving at accurate findings based on the contents of SNHR’s regularly updated database on detainees and forcibly disappeared persons which has been built up through daily monitoring and documentation since 2011. In addition, the findings of the report draw upon the tracking and monitoring of the court’s procedures and mechanisms."

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