The Syrian Opposition Coalition’s (SOC) General Secretariat on Wednesday held a workshop on “The Judicial Authority and the Independence of the Judiciary in Syria” at the SOC’s headquarters. It discussed the constitutional and legal problems facing the judiciary and ways to correct the course of the judiciary and ensure its independence.
The workshop was moderated by the SOC’s Secretary-General Abdelbaset Abdullatif and facilitated by Judge Mustafa al-Qasim. It brought together members of the political committee Yasser al-Farhan and Yahya Maktabi, members of the General Assembly Adnan Rahmoun and Ahmed Shehadi, judges Abd al-Razzaq al-Hussein, Adnan al-Wais, and Jumah al-Eneizi, Attorneys General Tariq Al-Kurdi, Ahmed Qanout, and Samer Talb.
Abdullatif said that the constitutional and political shortcomings that Syria suffered during the Assad regime’s decades-long seizure of power had a catastrophic impact on the independence and integrity of the judiciary. He stressed that this requires diligent work to develop a comprehensive legal and constitutional vision for reform of the judiciary in Syria.
Abdullatif added that upholding the principle of the rule of law, putting an end to impunity, respect for rights and freedoms, achieving equal citizenship are among the basic demands of the Syrian Revolution after the removal of the criminal Assad regime.
Participants also discussed the major obstacles facing the independence of the judiciary in Syria, most notably the executive power’s encroachment on the judicial power, the multiplicity of bodies that exercise the judiciary alongside the judiciary power in the form of exceptional judiciary, as well as legislative decrees and laws that strip the ordinary judiciary of part of its jurisdiction and prevent it from looking into judicial cases in favor of the military judiciary or those that prevent those affected from resorting to the judiciary. They also discussed the problems of interference in judicial affairs, the lack of the judiciary’s impartiality, the insufficient number of judges, and the Assad regime’s deliberate weakening of the judiciary with the aim of promoting corruption and nepotism.
Participants put forth a set of recommendations for addressing these obstacles; ensuring the independence of the judiciary; preventing interference in the judiciary; achieving impartiality; and unifying the judiciary bodies. It was also agreed to hold a subsequent meeting to complete and enrich the discussions in order to draw up a comprehensive reform code for the judicial system in Syria of the future. (Source: SOC’s Media Department)