Spotlight on Syria: The Gendered Perils of War and Forced Migration
March 24, 2016 | 12 pm ET – 4 pm ET
Strasser Legacy Room, 220 Eggers Hall, Maxwell School, Syracuse University

UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zainab Bangura to Keynote Livestreaming Event

With peace talks anticipated to begin this week, on the fifth anniversary of the Syrian Civil War, the Syrian Accountability Project (SAP) at Syracuse University College of Law will release a groundbreaking report documenting and analyzing incidents of rape during the Syrian conflict.

Compiled using international legal standards—and with an eye toward future transitional justice for the victims—the white paper will be distributed to United Nations and other international legal organizations to support the transitional justice process for victims of rape during the Syrian conflict.

United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Special Representative to the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zainab Hawa Bangura will provide keynote remarks at the white paper release event “Spotlight on Syria: The Gendered Perils of War and Forced Migration,” to be held March 24, 2016, at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs in partnership with SAP, Syracuse University College of Law, and the SI Newhouse School of Public Communications. The entire program will be live streamed (see URL in information box).

Remarks and the release of the white paper will be followed by an expert panel on gender crimes in conflict in Syria and the Levant and accompanied by curated multimedia presentations on the conflict.


12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.: Keynote

“International Law and Sexual Violence in the Syrian Conflict” by Zainab Hawa Bangura, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Special Representative to the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict

  • Introductions by David Crane, SU College of Law Professor of Practice; founding Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone; SAP Project Leader
  • Q&A to Follow

2 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.: SAP White Paper Release

 “Looking Through the Window Darkly: Rape in Syria, 2011-2015” featuring analysis and documentation of 142 incidents of rape occurring from the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011 to 2015. It is the first document of its kind to not only highlight and analyze reported accounts of this horrific gender crime but also to apply international legal standards with an eye toward future transitional justice for the victims.

  • David Crane, SU Law 
  • Peter Levant, Executive Director, SAP; Juris Doctor Candidate, SU Law

2:30 p.m – 4 p.m.: Expert Panel

“Gendered Perils of War in Syria and the Levant”

Moderator: Catherine Bertini, Professor of Practice, SU Maxwell School; former Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Program (1992 to 2002)

  • Zainab Hawa Bangura, UN Under-Secretary-General
  • Lamis Abdelaaty, Assistant Professor of Political Science, SU Maxwell School 
  • Lynn Levey, Syrian Accountability Project; Legal Writing Professor, SU Law

In addition, attendees can experience a virtual reality, 3D journey out of Syria called Clouds over Sidra beginning throughout the event, beginning at 11:30 am ET.


Started at Syracuse University College of Law in 2011, the Syrian Accountability Project is an internationally recognized cooperative effort between activists, non-governmental organizations, students, and other interested parties to document war crimes and crimes against humanity in the context of the Syrian Crisis. Now in its fifth phase, the project aims to produce non-partisan, high quality analysis of open source materials and to catalogue that information relative to applicable bodies of law; including, the Geneva Conventions, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and Syrian Penal Law.


Zainab Bangura has more than 20 years of policy, diplomatic, and practical experience in the field of governance, conflict resolution, and reconciliation in Africa. She served most recently as Minister of Health and Sanitation for the Government of Sierra Leone, and was previously Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the second woman in Sierra Leone to occupy this position. She was also Chief Adviser and Spokesperson of the President on bilateral and international issues. Bangura has been instrumental in developing national programs on affordable health, advocating for the elimination of genital mutilation, managing the country’s Peace Building Commission and contributing to the multilateral and bilateral relations with the international community. She has deep experience engaging with State and non-State actors on issues relevant to sexual violence, including engaging with rebel groups. 


Professor David M. Crane was appointed a professor of practice at Syracuse University College of Law in the summer of 2006. From 2002-2005, Crane was the founding Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, an international war crimes tribunal, appointed to that position by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan. Serving with the rank of Undersecretary General, Professor Crane’s mandate was to prosecute those who bear the greatest responsibility for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious violations of international human rights committed during the civil war in Sierra Leone during the 1990’s. Among those he indicted for those horrific crimes was the President of Liberia, Charles Taylor, the first sitting African head of state in history to be held accountable. Professor Crane served over 30 years in the federal government of the United States. Appointed to the Senior Executive Service of the United States in 1997, Mr. Crane has held numerous key managerial positions during his three decades of public service, to include a, and Waldemar A. Solf Professor of International Law at the United States Army Judge Advocate General’s School.

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