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Human Rights Crimes, Norm Entrepreneurs, and the Implementation of the Principle of Universal Jurisdiction in Germany: A Study on Human Rights Consciousness among Syrian Refugees

Photo: Guevara Namer.
Relatives of victims of torture in front of the Koblenz Higher Regional Court.

The project investigates the scope, forms and consequences of the advancement of human rights discourses among Syrian refugees as they come to terms with human rights crimes committed during the Syrian war. The focus is on how these individuals appropriate discourses in which the validity of human rights is set as a legal, political, or moral premise, or combine them with their own assumptions, and what counter-discourses emerge. The discourses under investigation are initiated by different actors whose discursive practices are also analyzed. Specifically, the project focuses on the implementation of the world law principle applied in German courts to prosecute crimes committed in Syria. Relevant research strands include literature on human rights consciousness, reappraisal of human rights crimes in the context of transitional justice, and the role of norm entrepreneurs and diaspora groups seeking to influence this human rights consciousness among Syrian refugees.

The project is one of 10 subprojects of the DFG Research Group "Human Rights Discourses in the Migration Society (MeDiMi)", which is headed by the Professorship of Public Law and European Law at the Justus Liebig University in Giessen.

Project Period: 2022-2026
Funding: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
Leading Researcher: Prof. Dr. Susanne Buckley-Zistel
Team: Maria Hartmann, Dr. Mina Ibrahim