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2016 | HNC, Executive Framework for a Political Solution for Syria based on Geneva Communiqué

Through this Executive Framework for the Political Solution in Syria, the High Negotiations Commission for Syria (HNC) presents its vision for the negotiation process, the transitional period, the foundations for a new political system in Syria, and legal safeguards to protect the choices of the Syrian people.  The Framework consists of three main phases: 1) the negotiation process, to last approximately six months, based on the principles stated in the Geneva Communique as set forth in the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2118 and 2254; 2) the transitional period, to last approximately a year and a half, starting immediately upon the agreement of the negotiating parties to be governed by a Transitional Governing Body (TGB); and 3) a final transition through the implementation of the outcomes of the national dialogue and the constitutional revision.  Through phases 1 and 2, the Framework also includes mechanisms for the adoption of a comprehensive program for reconstruction.

 The first phase addresses reconstruction through the enforcement of measures to be taken to promote transitional justice and national reconciliation.  The possible implementation of a right to reparations is implied by the Framework’s reliance on the Geneva Communiqué: According to the Framework, a transitional justice, accountability, and reconciliation program will be defined in accordance with international norms and standards and paragraph 10 (D) of the Geneva Communique, which calls for “accountability for acts committed during the present conflict” along with ‘a comprehensive package for transitional justice, including compensation or rehabilitation for victims of the present conflict, steps toward national reconciliation and forgiveness.’  The first phase, in paragraph 10, also calls for the international community to provide assistance in the reconstruction of Syria.

 Article 16 of UN SC Resolution 2118 (2013), paragraph 4 of Resolution 2258 (2015), and Article 2 of the UN General Assembly Resolution 262/67 (15 May 2013) stipulate the transfer of powers and authorities of the president and the government immediately upon formation of the TGB.  According to the Framework, in the event that the regime continues to violate the basic rights of Syrian people, breach international law, or waste time or sabotage the political process, the Security Council will assume its political transition process responsibilities based on previous UN Resolutions and binding international measures.

 The second phase, the transitional period, requires the TGB to suspend the current constitution and issue an interim constitutional declaration to regulate the transition period. The declaration would ensure the unconditional return of displaced persons and refugees to their home areas – an important reparatory measure and comprehensive review of the work of state institutions that have violated the rights of Syrian people, and take appropriate measures to dissolve, restructure, and reformulate these institutions. The TGB must commit to represent women in all entities and institutions. The pressing need for the involvement of women in all transitional processes has been one of the consistent findings to emerge from the study of reparatory justice mechanisms in post-conflict settings in the last two decades.

Finally, the Framework states that the transitional justice committee must work in accordance with international transitional justice standards by considering and proposing mechanisms to ensure accountability and reparation for victims (paragraph 46). Reparatory mechanisms will include release of detainees and the search for the whereabouts and fate of missing persons. The committee must also work to achieve institutional reform, propose mechanisms to investigate violations and crimes, and keep records related to human rights violations.  The committee will work to accede and ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal court to safeguard against future human rights violations.