The Dar al-Adl ('Abode of Justice') was the court system that came to be the main judicial authority in the rebel-held areas of southern Syria (Deraa and Quneitra provinces) prior to the takeover of the region by the Syrian government and its allies in summer 2018. Those rebel-held areas, it will be recalled, came to be dominated by 'Free Syrian Army' factions supported by the Military Operations Centre that was based in Amman. Officially speaking, these factions supported the Dar al-Adl's judicial authority.
Although the Dar al-Adl's existence may be considered only a minor aspect in the grand overview of the history of the Syrian civil war, I believe in documenting the historical record for its own sake and present to you a document outlining the planned structure of the Dar al-Adl. It may be of interest to legal specialists, historians and followers of the general affairs of the Syrian civil war. The document was provided to me by Asmat al-Absi, who headed the Dar al-Adl and left southern Syria for the north following the takeover of southern Syria by the Syrian government and its allies. I hope that this post will be the first of many documenting the history of the Dar al-Adl in more depth.
The document is mostly self-explanatory, so I present the original with translation.
Plan of the structure of the courts of the Dar al-Adel in Hawran
Translation of the diagram structure.
- The difference of colour means the difference of the degree of the courts and the courts that are in the same colour are of the same degree.*
- The criminal, appellate and cassation courts are collective courts (judicial commission) composed of three judges: a head and two advisors.
- The Court of Cassation is composed of two offices: an eastern office composed of three judges with its base being the central court in Gharaz,** and a western office composed of three judges, its base being the western court in Nawa,*** in order to reduce the burdens of moving about on the citizens because of the rise of costs of transportation and the danger of the path.
- There are two Appellate Courts: an eastern one with its base being the central court in Gharaz, and a western one whose base is the western court in Nawa, and each of them is composed of three judges: a head and two advisors.
- There are two Criminal Courts: the First Criminal Court whose base is the central court in Gharaz and the Second Criminal Court whose base is the western court in Nawa, and each court is composed of two rooms: a first room and a second room. And each room is composed of three judges: a head and two advisors.
- The most senior [/experienced] member of the criminal room is considered head of the Criminal Court and is to be a member of the Supreme Judicial Council.
- The rest of the courts are first degree courts and composed of one judge. And in the Dar al-Adl are five personal affairs courts (family courts) and more than six civil courts of first instance and like them are the courts of civil conciliation and three correctional courts.
- The Dar al-Adl in Hawran is composed of three branches: (i) the Dar al-Adl in Hawran Central Court and its base is Gharaz, (ii) a branch in the western region Dar al-Adl in the Western Region (Nawa) and in it are the same courts present in the central one, (iii) a branch in Quneitra Dar al-Adl in Quneitra, in which there is a civil court of first instance, a civil conciliation court, and a personal affairs court.
* Supreme Judicial Council is coloured in red, the Court of Cassation in green, the Appellate Court and the Criminal Court in purple, the General/Public Prosecution in blue, the Criminal Investigation in very light blue, and all the courts under the Appellate Court in dark blue.
** Gharaz is located east of Deraa city.
*** Nawa is a town in west Deraa countryside, so the Dar al-Adl branch there covered the west Deraa countryside region.