The General Assembly of Syria’s State Council issued Opinion No. 8 of 2022, which details the mechanism for implementing judicial rulings issued by the council’s courts. The opinion stressed the need to respect the rules for implementing such rulings.
Opinion No. 8 explained once again the mechanism for carrying out rulings in the interest of public institutions and against individuals. A public institution for which such a ruling has been issued must send a copy of the original judgement to the authorities that are responsible for registering real estate and other assets. These authorities may include the General Directorate for Cadastral Affairs, the Directorate of Transportation, or the state’s related banks. If the sentenced person owns any assets registered with these authorities, then their assets must be seized by those same authorities.
Such rulings may include decisions by the Minister of Finance to place executive seizures on the assets of convicted individuals as part of the implementation of a judicial ruling issued by the State Council (and in a manner that preserves and protects public assets).
In the event of a judicial ruling that favours a public institution against an individual, the ruling includes procedures for implementation. Opinion No. 8 clarified that the public institution may implement the ruling directly with the assistance of public force personnel, such as police or any body granted the authority to execute the law by way of force.
For a ruling that favours individuals against a public institution, Opinion No. 8 outlines the procedures for implementation. First, a copy of the original implementation ruling is sent to the office of the public institution that has been sentenced in the ruling. This institution must then begin implementation immediately and without delay, as well as without causing any additional burden to the individual for whom the ruling was in favour.
The State Council
According to the 2012 Constitution, the State Council is an independent judicial and advisory body with its own special law to outline its mandate. That special law, State Council Law No. 32 of 2019, was issued as a replacement to Law No. 55 of 1959 and attached the State Council to the Council of Ministers; it had previously been attached to the Presidency. In either case, attaching the State Council, which is a judicial body, to an executive authority violates the independence that the constitution explicitly grants the body and is more generally inconsistent with the principle of judicial independence.
Under Law No. 32 of 2019, the State Council is an independent judicial and advisory body based in Damascus that assumes the administrative judiciary. The council has two sections: judicial and advisory. The judicial section includes the Supreme Administrative Court, the Administrative Judiciary Courts, Administrative Courts, Disciplinary Courts, the State Commissioners Authority, and the Department of Inspection. The advisory section focuses on fatwas and legislation. It includes the General Assembly, other specialised departments, and an office for drafting legislation.
The General Assembly
With its two sections, the General Assembly plays two different roles. In its judiciary role, it examines administrative disputes between state institutions or disputes in which a public institution is one of the parties involved. The assembly’s legal advisory role is represented chiefly by the General Assembly. This assembly is tasked with considering legal matters referred to it by the Presidency of the Republic, the Presidency of the Parliament, tje Presidency of the Council of Ministers, individual ministers, or by the State Council president. The General Assembly also has the authority to settle disputes arising between different public institutions. The opinions that it issues in these disputes are of a binding nature. The General Assembly has seven members, the State Council president as chairman and the six longest-serving advisors on the council.