International Law and Reconstruction in Syria: A Cautionary Note for Businesses

An increasingly loud rhetoric within the Syrian conflict is shifting towards the reconstruction of the country. While the need for Syria’s reconstruction is not debatable, the vastness of international crimes committed in Syria creates an environment rich with potential for complicity in war crimes for foreign and multinational businesses interested in participating in reconstruction in Syria. Businesses may face international criminal liability for a diverse number of activities that could be linked to crimes already committed, crimes that are ongoing, and crimes that could be committed in Syria. The activities range from providing  financial or logistical means, to even providing moral support to war crimes.


The Syrian Legal Development Programme has launched a report on the international legal liabilities that businesses may face in reconstruction in Syria titled “International Law and Reconstruction in Syria: A Cautionary Note for Businesses.” The report explains the various legal liabilities that businesses may face as a result of a number of activities they may conduct  in reconstruction of Syria, and draws on conclusions by international and domestic courts. It does so while explaining the Syrian crime and economic scene, citing hundreds of sources. The report also concludes with a list of recommendations for businesses, States, international actors, and Syrian civil society for avoiding international law violations in Syria’s reconstruction

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