This guide was prepared by the Euromed Rights, as part of a series of training guides to help Syrian activists and human rights defenders document human rights violations and crimes being committed in Syria.
The guides are intended for use by groups and individuals seeking to document incidents taking place where they work and by organisations seeking to conduct trainings. As a result, they include practical tools to help individuals understand theoretical concepts and to help trainers explain these concepts to others.
Although the guides are interrelated and sometimes overlap, the three guides cover three different topics, which are (1) Documenting Human Rights Violations, (2) Definitions and Classifications for Casualty Recording according to International Humanitarian Law Principles, and (3) International Criminal law. The process of documentation of violations varies and depends on the intended use of the material. The purposes of documentation can be to advocate for change, to raise awareness about violations, to engage with UN mechanisms, to preserve memory of victims and a historical record, to support the work of other groups or to build media campaigns around an issue. A long term goal of documentation may also be to support prosecutions of those responsible for the crimes. However, these guides are not intended to be used by professional investigators. Instead, they are intended to help Syrian human rights defenders collect reliable and credible information in a secure and safe manner. All three guides set out international standards on each their topic while providing examples from the Syrian context. Although each guide can be used as a stand-alone resource, they are complementary and users are encouraged to familiarise themselves with all three.
Where appropriate, a guide will refer a user to another guide, which may have more information or more details on a particular topic.