Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2018

Publication Title

ILSA Journal of International & Comparative Law


Syria, International Criminal Court (ICC), chemical weapons, torture, child soldiers, peace, justice


Since 2011, the conflict in Syria has caused the death of hundreds of thousands of individuals and the displacement of millions. Efforts to refer the Syrian situation to the International Criminal Court (ICC) have consistently failed despite well-documented reports about the commission of serious crimes in Syria, including the use of chemical weapons against civilians, torture, the use of child soldiers, and crimes of sexual violence.

This Article explores whether the dual goals of peace and justice can be reconciled in the Syrian context and how these goals may be properly sequenced in order to potentially achieve long-lasting peace in Syria without sacrificing justice. Part I explores the tension between the dual goals of peace and justice in both a theoretical manner as well as in the Syrian context. Part II describes existing accountability models in the international community and how these may be applicable in the Syrian situation, and Part III focuses on the work of the Mechanism, an already established model of preliminary accountability for Syria. The Article concludes that peace and justice may appear irreconcilable in some contexts, but that such goals may coexist if properly sequenced and applied to a particular situation, such as Syria.