Make way for Justice #3: closing the net on impunity (UJAR 2017)
Universal jurisdiction has gathered unprecedented momentum in 2016. In their annual report, TRIAL International and its partners REDRESS, FIDH, ECCHR and FIBGAR look back on its application through 47 recent cases.
Five years of conflict, hundreds of thousands of dead. In Syria, large-scale war crimes are committed in all impunity. Effective prosecution has been repeatedly impeded at the international level, yet justice has found a way forward: universal jurisdiction.
Thanks to this principle, States can prosecute criminals regardless of their nationality or where the crime was committed. The interest of such procedures for lawless regions is obvious.
Last year alone, five States have brought charges for alleged crimes in Syria. Investigations are ongoing in three others. For victims, these proceedings may be their only chance to obtain justice.
Universal jurisdiction has proved a significant tool against impunity in Syria, but it also applies to many more situations: Rwanda, Nepal, Guatemala and Iraq, to name but a few.
47 milestone cases in 2016
To illustrate this breadth, TRIAL International, REDRESS, FIDH, ECCHR and FIBGAR release today their annual report on universal jurisdiction, Make way for Justice #3.
In 2016 alone, 13 States have made use of this principle in 47 cases – an unprecedented success. “We registered a 30% increase with respect to 2015, showing that universal jurisdiction is gathering momentum”, says Valérie Paulet, TRIAL’s Legal Consultant and author of the report.
Make way for Justice #3 illustrates the need for States to establish specialized units and equip them with sufficient means. “All the cases in the report prove that justice is achievable when States commit to it.”, concludes Philip Grant, TRIAL International Director.
Discover the report
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