In the light of recent legal cases being brought before European courts, the Syrian Justice and Accountability Centre reaffirms the importance of taking into account the medical and psychological needs of Syrian survivors who are participating in prosecutions as complainants and witnesses. While the ability to participate directly in justice processes can be part of the healing and reparative process for survivors, sharing their experiences can also be traumatic. Many survivors of torture suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and other disturbances that can be exacerbated by revisiting the trauma.
SJAC advises practitioners to incorporate Do No Harm Processesin their work. These include conducting trauma-sensitive interviews and referring survivors to medical/psychological services. In addition, given the additional stress induced by the immigration context in which more than a million Syrian survivors are now living, documentation and justice groups should put in place additional protocols to support refugee communities, including outreach programs designed to inform them of the possibility of pursuing justice in their new surroundings, and of the support services available.