Legal Action Worldwide (LAW) delivered a four-day residential training course in Gaziantep, Turkey, from 15 to 18 March 2022. “Strategic Lawyering” engaged Syrian lawyers to enhance their understanding of how the law can be used in dynamic ways to pursue a range of justice goals. It also sought to upskill participants’ approach to information and evidence collection with a focus on taking statements from victims and witnesses.
17 Syrian lawyers and human rights activists heard first-hand what it meant to be a strategic lawyer from Peter Haynes Q.C., President of the Bar Association of the International Criminal Court. Two days of theory-based learning were followed by two full days of practical exercises, monitored by Peter Haynes and LAW staff. Attendees were divided into groups and conducted a series of mock interviews with both non-traumatized and traumatized “survivors”. At the end of each practice session, trainees and facilitators discussed the process, what worked in their approach, and where there was room for improvement.
The feedback from participants has been overwhelmingly positive. One trainee stated, “This training was a new experience and a great experience.” Another, emphasizing the novel approach of the training, added “This will actually develop and advance our skills.” Many participants requested that the training be provided to more of their colleagues and that adapted trainings for different, specific lawyering skills be delivered in the region.