A lifelong battle for human rights

05.05.2017

An op-ed by Giorgio Malinverni

Giorgio Malinverni has been President of TRIAL International for the past six years. As his term comes to an end, he looks back on the evolution of the NGO and the situation of human rights in general.

Human rights have been my focus throughout my career. I remember that Switzerland had just ratified the European Convention on Human Rights when I started as a professor at the University of Geneva School of Law. The Convention was a tremendous source of inspiration and I never stopped analysing it and explaining it to my students. My work as a judge on the European Court of Human Rights later exposed me to a new facet of human rights.

Since 2011, I have had the pleasure and the honour of presiding over TRIAL International. I am proud to have contributed to its rise and I remain deeply attached to its fundamental mission, oftentimes carried out in sensitive contexts. Today, TRIAL is equipped with a strong structure and a great team that will enable it to meet the challenges of the future.

Obstacles to justice can be overcome

The time is near when it will be necessary to prosecute the many crimes perpetrated in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere. The difficulties will be numerous and complex. The international justice system is by turns criticised for its inefficiency and ineffectiveness, or on the contrary, its interference.

Yet we must remember that human rights have made enormous strides since the end of World War II. Never before has the legal arsenal to fight against impunity been so sophisticated. It is up to us to make an inventive use of these tools!

As I prepare to step down as President of TRIAL International, I wish to send a message of encouragement to this organisation and to those who support it. Continue to broaden your horizons, don’t let yourself be defeated by temporary setbacks. Leading investigations and bringing complaints against states, multinationals, or individuals requires audacity and perseverance. TRIAL has never lacked either.

 

Giorgio Malinverni
Outgoing President, TRIAL International
Former Judge, European Court of Human Rights
Professor Emeritus, University of Geneva Faculty of Law