Reinoud Leenders provides policy advice and carries out research assignments for foreign ministries, governmental institutions, INGOs, law enforcement agencies, law firms and private companies active in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Lebanon. Recent such consultancies included research for the Dutch Police’s international investigative crime unit regarding matters related to war crimes and crimes against humanity involving Syrian nationals. Leenders provides expert witness testimonies, often based on elaborate research reports, to courts prosecuting Syrian nationals for ‘terrorism’ and war crimes and for international private companies and law firms involved in commercial dispute settlement mechanisms. Leenders also regularly advises law firms representing Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian asylum-seekers. Leenders’ research assignments are carefully prepared, scrutinised and double-checked for accuracy and reliability, based on thorough investigations, and drawing on a wide range of sources in Arabic and, where needed, four other languages, and consulting a dense network of contacts within and beyond the Middle East.     

Research consultant / expert witness on Syrian armed groups for The Hague Court of Justice (Jabhat al-Nusra / HTS, Hurras al-Din, Ansar al-Islam, Faylaq al-Sham, jihadi movement in Idlib), 2022

Research consultant on Syrian armed groups for Dutch police (International Crime Unit), 2022

Research consultant / expert witness in court case against Syrian nationals charged with illegal membership of a ‘terrorist’ organisation in Syria. focus on Ahrar al-Sham, Jabhat al-Nusra and Jund al-Aqsa, conflict dynamics in Idlib, Latakia, Fuah, Kefraya and Hama. The Hague Court of Justice, 2021.

Research consultant / expert witness in court case against Syrian nationals charged with illegal membership of a ‘terrorist’ organisation in Syria. focus on Jabhat al-Nusra, Islamic State, Jabhat al-Asala wa al-Tanmiya and Free Syrian Army in Jaramana, Deir al-Zur and Abu Kamal. The Hague Court of Justice, 2020.

Research consultant / expert witness in insurance claim dispute involving UK insurance and company in Aleppo, Syria. Requested by Thomas Cooper LLP, London, 2019

Research consultant / expert witness in business dispute between international engineering company and the Lebanese government, Lebanon / UK, International Centre for Investment Disputes, I.S. Vassardanis & Partners Law firm, Athens, Greece, 2017 – 2018, 2020 

Research consultant / expert witness jurisdiction dispute involving Lebanese private individuals, Lebanon and UK. Report assignment. Requested by Mishcon de Reya LLP law firm, London, 2017 

Research consultant / expert witness in insurance claim dispute involving UK insurance company and Syrian textiles company in Aleppo, Syria and UK. Requested by Carter Perry Bailey LLP, London, 2017

Research consultant / expert witness in business dispute involving international bank and Lebanese judicial authorities. Report assignment. Requested by Robinson, Bradshaw and Hinson P.A. law firm, Charlotte, NC, USA, 2017

Research consultant for Conflict Stabilization Unit at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office UK – preparing for conflict ramifications in and around Raqqa and the campaign against ‘the Islamic State’, Syria. 2017.

Contributed to research for The Guardian reporting on UN humanitarian agencies procuring from Syrian regime incumbents, with commentary in The Guardian. For an overview of the debate it triggered, see Syria Comment, 2016.

Research consultant for evaluation study on the Dutch contribution to humanitarian assistance to and around Syria, for IOB / Dutch Foreign Affairs Ministry, with Humanitarian Strategy Consult, 2015.
Research consultant for International Crisis Group for report Failed Responsibility: Iraqi Refugees in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon, 2008.
Middle East researcher with the International Crisis Group, research and policy advocacy, based in Beirut, 2002-2005. Contributed as main or co-author to ICG reports on Syria, Lebanon and Iraq reconstruction.

Policy report assignments, research consultancies and advice on Middle East affairs to a host of institutions and NGOs including: The EU Commission, Transparency International, Global Integrity, Clingendael Institute, The Guardian, and Foreign Affairs ministries of the UK, the Netherlands, the US, and Norway, 1995-2005

If Hizbullah did not exist, it would have to be created. — Nawaf al-Musawi, Hizbullah’s Foreign Relations Director in response in as-Safir (21 August 2003) to report by the International Crisis Group, Hizbollah: Rebel Without a Cause? (July 2003)

Reinoud Leenders

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