Considerations for a collaborative approach to post-conflict development and transitional justice in Syria : a research report presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of International Development, Master in International Development, at Massey University, Manawatū, New Zealand
Neither transitional justice nor post-conflict development is possible without the other. Thinking about reconstruction, and development more generally, requires an understanding of core political issues of ownership, governance and participation which are similarly key concerns of transitional justice. Such issues also need to be informed by longer-term processes for development which includes strategies for rehabilitation, reform and reparation, all consequences of war which influence development outcomes.
A consideration of how post-conflict development objectives can inform a transitional justice process for Syria identifies key areas of convergence and divergence between the two fields as well as debates pertaining to the prioritisation of justice versus peace, international law, and contextualising strategies to individual states and post-conflict situations. In Syria, where work is already under way by multiple organisations and activist groups to facilitate, gather and document evidence of human rights violations in preparation for a future transitional justice process: a 'good-enough' approach to governance (Grindle, 2004), the strengthening of civil society to provide national level support, and institutional reform are identified as key areas for development intervention.
However, the success or otherwise of development interventions in these areas will rely upon a number of critical factors: the willingness of a transitional government to take ownership of post-conflict development and transitional justice processes, facilitate citizen participation by first addressing Syria's severe humanitarian crisis, and accept independent or international involvement where required; the capacity of Syrian civil society to provide national level support following an intense and prolonged period of conflict; the state of Syria's post-conflict physical and human resource; and the willingness of a divided Syrian society to accept cross-community human rights initiatives or a transitional government comprised of any one party where violations have been committed by both sides of the conflict.