Facilitating exchange on universal jurisdiction between local and expert NGOs

In November 2019 International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR) hosted a 3 day workshop on universal criminal jurisdiction. The purpose of the workshop was to facilitate exchange of information and expertise among European NGOs, legal practitioners and academia representatives on the use of universal jurisdiction as a tool of accountability for international crimes as well as to facilitate the coordination of efforts on specific cases (potential and ongoing) among European NGOs.

Given difficulties with the national prosecutions and exceptional slowness of the International Criminal Court (ICC), using domestic prosecutorial mechanisms in third countries, with functioning and independent judicial apparatus, seems to be the only viable option remaining for the victims, their lawyers and CSO’s supporting the victims.

These proceedings could be opened based on laws that permit extraterritorial application of domestic justice mechanisms. Although criteria such as victim and perpetrator residency requirements pose challenges, they can be overcome with cross border collaboration of civil society organizations and lawyers that support the victims.

In the future IPHR plans to continue networking efforts between the expert and local NGOs aiding opening of criminal investigations into grave crimes and human rights abuses in our target countries.