The IIIM has prioritised engaging with civil society actors as key stakeholders in the accountability processes from the outset.
This interaction with international and Syrian civil society actors is broad and ranges from public engagements, consultations on strategies and workflows, to confidential cooperation and subsequent transfers of information and evidence.
Syrian Civil Society
Since 2011, Syrian individuals and civil society organisations (CSOs), have been extensively documenting and gathering evidence of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, often with great risk to their lives and safety. In addition, civil society actors who, while not Syrian, are directly affected by crimes in Syria, such as Yazidis, have played a crucial role in documenting the crimes.
Their documentation and networks have made a substantial contribution to building the IIIM’s Central Repository of Information and Evidence, and the IIIM continues to expand on this work.
In liaising with these CSOs, the IIIM aims to enhance understanding of its mandate, discuss options for cooperation, establish trust and leverage the mutual benefits of working together, especially in providing relevant information and documentation to contribute to the IIIM’s Central Repository. The IIIM enters into formal agreements with Syrian civil society actors, such as the Protocol of Cooperation in addition to collection focused MoUs with individual civil society actors. The IIIM also has a two-way dialogue with Syrian civil society actors through the Lausanne Platform, thematic focus groups, regular engagement with victim/survivor associations and its periodic bulletin.
The Protocol of Cooperation
On 3 April 2018 in Lausanne, Switzerland, the Head of the IIIM and 28 Syrian CSOs signed a protocol of cooperation. The purpose of the protocol was to outline a set of overarching principles to guide the engagement between the IIIM and the signatory CSOs, as well as provide a general framework for cooperation for other CSOs seeking to collaborate with the IIIM in the future. If required, operational details or working procedures may be addressed in individual memoranda of understanding (MoU) between the IIIM and each organisation, to ensure mutual understanding regarding opportunities for collaboration, to further the parties’ common goal of ensuring justice, accountability, and redress for victims of crimes committed in Syria.