Ziadeh Named Head of Syrian Commission on Transitional Justice

Commission to Announce Action Plan for Transitional Justice in Syria

Washington, DC – On November 14, 2013, following the first meeting of the government of Syrian interim Prime Minister Ahmed Touma, Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies (SCPSS) Executive Director Dr. Radwan Ziadeh was announced as the head of the Commission on Transitional Justice in Syria.


The Commission on Transitional Justice is a new, independent body established by the Syrian interim government to lead the transitional justice and national reconciliation file in Syria. The commission, which will be headquartered in Gaziantep, Turkey on the Syrian border, announced that it would release an action plan for future activities in the next week.


Dr. Ziadeh brings to the Commission a wealth of experience on transitional justice. He is a founding member of the National Preparatory Committee for Transitional Justice in Syria, an entity established in 2012 to recommend policies on transitional justice in Syria prior to the end of the Syria conflict. Ziadeh is head of the working group on transitional justice and national reconciliation of the Syrian Expert House, which produced Syria Transition Roadmap, a document detailing a comprehensive vision of the post-Assad democratic transition in Syria. He has been the managing editor of the Transitional Justice in the Arab World Project since 2008 and is also the author of multiple books on transitional justice and enforced disappearances in Syria, including Years of Fear in Syria (2008).


Since the Syrian uprising started in March 2011, Dr. Ziadeh has worked as the founder and director of the Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies to document the ongoing human rights violations in Syria. He has testified at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva twice and before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission at the United States Congress.


Ziadeh was a Visiting Scholar at a number of American universities, including the Carr Center for Human Rights at the Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University, the Institute for Middle East Studies (IMES) in the Elliot School of International Affairs at George Washington University, the Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies at New York University, the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS) at Georgetown University, the Center for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University and also at Lehigh University. He was also a Visiting Fellow at Chatham House (The Royal Institute of International Affairs), the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), the National Endowment for Democracy, and the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU).


Ziadeh was named “Best Political Scientist Researcher in the Arab World” by Jordan’s Abdulhameed Shoman Foundation in 2004. In 2009 he was awarded the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Academic Freedom award in Boston; in 2010 he accepted the Democracy Courage Tributes award on behalf of the human rights movement in Syria, given by the World Movement for Democracy in Jakarta, Indonesia.


Ziadeh was one of the major players in the “Damascus Spring,” a period of intense debate about politics, social issues, and calls for reform in Syria after the death of President Hafez al-Asad in 2000.


His most recent book is Power and Policy in Syria: Intelligence Services, Foreign Relations and Democracy in the Modern Middle East (I.B.Tauris ,2011). He has written ten books: The Clash of Values Between Islam and the West, with Kevin James O’Toole (2010), Political Islam in Syria (2008), Decision Making and Foreign Policy in Syria (2007), The Challenges of Reform in The Arab World: Islam, Identity, Modernity and Globalization (2006), The Intellectual Confronts Power: Dialogues of Syrian Civil Society (2005), and The Near Peace: The Syrian–Israeli Negotiations (2005—the first book written by a Syrian on the subject), The Ideology of Renaissance in Contemporary Arab Discourse (2004), The Question of Renewal in Contemporary Islamic Discourse (2004), Modernism and Post-Modernism in Western Philosophy (2003), and Human Rights in the Arab World (2000).