The family of Yahya Sharbaji, a leading non-violent activist from Darayya who has been detained by the Syrian regime since 2011, has learned on Monday July 23rd 2018 that both he and his brother Mohammad had died in 2013 while in detention.
Over the past few months the regime appears to be systematically revealing the fate of detainees, possibly in an attempt to smoothly close the chapter of the detainee file without catching too much attention. This policy comes at a time where the regime feels it has the upper-hand and has gained the tacit legitimacy of the international community to remain in power, escaping pressure to comply with accountability for its war crimes or adopt serious political changes.
While international powers rush to contain the conflict without addressing underlying grievances through the current constitutional process, one thing is certain: there will be no peace without justice. Rethink Rebuild Society calls on British policymakers to explore further avenues of upholding accountability and justice for crimes committed by the Syrian regime, including the application of the principle of universal jurisdiction through UK courts, the establishment of truth commissions for victims present in the UK, and the advancement of transitional justice as a crucial component of the political process for ending the conflict.