Updates

10 March 2022

Through sustained partnership and long-term continuity, Synergy for Justice and Lawyers and Doctors for Human Rights (LDHR), a Syrian NGO with unique and considerable expertise, have created life-changing, sustainable impact for survivors of torture, sexual violence, and other human rights violations in Syria. With continuous funding from the UK Government and the guidance and support from Synergy, LDHR has flourished and expanded its programming to assist survivors of torture and sexual violence not only in seeking justice but also in dealing with stigma, and healing and rehabilitating within communities affected by a decade of conflict. This partnership has successfully localised expertise in the Syrian context, serving the needs of a wide range of participants and stakeholders. Read the full report here.

5 February 2022

Synergy for Justice (Synergy) and Lawyers and Doctors for Human Rights (LDHR) recently held the third week of multi-disciplinary training for a group of Syrian doctors who will document torture and sexual violence (SV) in accordance with the Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, also known as the “Istanbul Protocol.” During this practical, hands-on week, the doctors practiced conducting forensic medical exams in real time with actors playing the roles of survivors of torture and sexual violence. Doctors had the opportunity to use the skills gained during the first two weeks of training by conducting mock exams under the supervision of both international and Syrian experts.

The doctors shared that they were inspired by the recent conviction of Anwar Raslan in Koblenz, Germany. LDHR’s documentation and joint report with Synergy on male sexual violence was read into the official record in the Koblenz Court to solidify the charges of sexual assault, of which Raslan was ultimately convicted, among other crimes, including murder and crimes against humanity.

Now that the doctors have completed the third week of training, they will conduct forensic medical documentation that advances accountability and ultimately reduces impunity for international crimes and grave human rights violations occurring in Syria. Participating lawyers built a solid foundation to use this compelling evidence in case building and prosecution of perpetrators of torture and SV. Following the 5-day training week, both lawyers and doctors practiced their skills in a 2-day supplemental Moot Court organised by LDHR and Synergy.  Forensic medical reports documenting the torture and SV that is ongoing in Syria have been accepted by the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria as well by European courts asserting universal jurisdiction.

23 November 2021

Synergy for Justice (Synergy) and Lawyers and Doctors for Human Rights (LDHR) recently held the second week of multi-disciplinary training for a group of Syrian doctors who are learning to document torture and sexual violence in accordance with the Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, also known as the “Istanbul Protocol.” Doctors are learning how to interact sensitively with survivors, respond to their needs in survivor-centric ways, identify and describe sequelae of torture and sexual violence (SV) in medical-legal affidavits, assess mental status, and much more during a series of week-long training sessions led by Synergy and LDHR experts. After completing the third week of training, doctors will be able to conduct forensic medical documentation that advances accountability and ultimately reduces impunity for international crimes and grave human rights violations. Attorneys are also participating in the training weeks in order to learn how to use this compelling evidence in case building and prosecution of perpetrators of torture and SV. Forensic medical reports documenting the torture and SV that is ongoing in Syria have been accepted by the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria as well by European courts asserting extraterritorial jurisdiction.