Human Rights Cases
TRIAL International brings justice to victims using two different fields of the law, either jointly or independently: Criminal law and human rights law. In both cases, individual victims have suffered serious abuse, and the crimes are of similar nature. But while criminal law deals with individual deeds, human rights law addresses State responsibility.
Human rights law applies when individuals suffer at the hand of the State. States are supposed to guarantee the individual rights of their citizen, such as the right to safety. However, they sometimes fail to protect all their citizens – political, ethic or religious bias sometimes lead the authorities to neglect parts of their population. A State can be liable for human rights violations either by its actions (for instance, abuse by its agents in the police or the military) or its inaction (for instance, the failure to prevent a violation or to prosecute the perpetrators).
In that case, international bodies are competent to assess the State’s responsibility in the harm suffered. These can be regional mechanisms or United Nations organs. While they can find the State responsible and condemn it, they cannot compel it to change behavior. This is why TRIAL International also fights for the domestic implementation of international decisions in favor of victims.
Most cases litigated by TRIAL International start at the domestic level, using the country’s array of criminal laws – some being more permissive than others. Then, if justice is not satisfied, TRIAL International takes the cases at the international level, aiming at proving that the State has been unwilling or unable to address the crime and provide victims with truth and reparation.