Syria Justice and Accountability Centre: 7 Complex Legal Issues SJAC Has Addressed in its Data Analysis

SJAC Update | June 1, 2017
A screenshot of SJAC’s database, Corroborator. SJAC’s Data Analysis team tags, labels, links, and writes descriptions for each actor and piece of documentation in the database according to international standards. The database functions in both English and Arabic.

7 Complex Legal Issues SJAC Has Addressed in its Data Analysis

SJAC aims to achieve meaningful justice for Syria. To contribute to this goal, SJAC activities are designed to produce a complete repository of comprehensive, high-quality, and usable documentation that is prepared to feed into justice mechanisms, both in current court cases in Europe and for future transitional justice processes.

As was highlighted recently on NPR, given the large volume of documentation emerging from Syria, creating a usable and searchable repository requires large investments in tech and big data tools. But even the best tools cannot completely replace manual analysis. SJAC’s team of Data Analysts (DAs) work tirelessly to tag, label, and link documentation and actors, enabling the creation of case files and investigations into specific events.*

Not all of the documentation that the DAs encounter is straightforward, however, and over the past three years of work, the team has had to sort through complex legal and methodological questions. The following are some of the issues that have come up, due to the complicated and multi-faceted nature of the Syrian conflict.

The Syria Justice and Accountability Centre (SJAC) is a Syrian-led and multilaterally supported nonprofit that envisions a Syria where people live in a state defined by justice, respect for human rights, and rule of law. SJAC collects, analyzes, and preserves human rights law violations by all parties in the conflict — creating a central repository to strengthen accountability and support transitional justice and peace-building efforts. SJAC also conducts research to better understand Syrian opinions and perspectives, provides expertise and resources, conducts awareness-raising activities, and contributes to the development of locally appropriate transitional justice and accountability mechanisms. Contact us at

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Syria Justice and Accountability Centre · Laan Van Meerdervoort 70 · Den Haag, 2517 AN · Netherlands

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Author: Sarah Lafen

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