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NGOs call on EU States to step up fight against impunity

14.06.2016

For the first-ever European Day against Impunity, a coalition of NGOs called on member States to meet mounting demand for effective international justice mechanisms.

On 23 May, the European Union (EU) celebrated its first annual Day against Impunity. On this occasion, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, FIDH, ECCHR, REDRESS and TRIAL International have issued a joint statement demanding stronger commitment from member States to international justice.

Underlining the limited capacity of international courts to fight impunity, the NGOs recommended that States adopt necessary laws and create specialized war crimes units, granting them sufficient financial and political support. They also highlighted that prosecution in third states was often the only available option, for instance for Syrian or Iraqi victims, to obtain justice.

“States have to take concrete steps to fight impunity, fine word are not enough. War crimes units have to be created and reinforced”, said Head of Inquiry and Criminal Law Division Benedict de Moerloose.

Over the past decades, EU countries have started prosecuting the gravest crimes under the principle of universal jurisdiction, but diplomatic considerations continue to hamper cases relating to powerful countries. Belgium and Spain have already limited or effectively abandoned their universal jurisdiction laws following diplomatic pressure.

Read the joint press release

Read our annual report on universal jurisdiction

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