Make Way for Justice: Universal Jurisdiction Annual Review 2015

Report by ECCHR, FIBGAR, FIDH und TRIAL, February 2016

ECCHR (ed.)

2015 has seen the opening of the most anticipated trial of our time, that of former Chadian dictator Hissene Habre. After 30 years of impunity, he has finally been judged for the atrocities he has inflicted on his people. This historical trial could not have taken place without a unique legal tool: Universal Jurisdiction.
Thanks to this principle, States can – under certain conditions – prosecute the authors of international crimes, regardless of the place where these crimes were committed or the nationality of the victims and perpetrators.TRIAL, FIBGAR, ECCHR and FIDH make daily use of universal jurisdiction to defend victims of international crimes and fight impunity. Today, this expertise leads these NGOs to publish their second annual report of the topic: Make Way For Justice #2.
12 countries under scrutinity
In this report, 40 cases illustrate the developments of universal jurisdiction in 2015: the atrocities perpetrated by Boko Haram in 2014, the crimes committed in Syria since 2011, the repression of Bahrein’s demonstrations in 2010 and many others. This study reviews 12 countries – from Sweden to Chile and from France to Senegal – who have opened inquiries, indicted or judged suspects of the most serious crimes thanks to universal jurisdiction. It also reports setbacks, such as the closing of several ongoing inquiries in Spain.

Download: Make Way for Justice #2

MakeWayForJustice#2.pdf (6.1 MiB)

Strategies to Improve Working Conditions in Global Supply Chains

Conference Report, September 2015

ECCHR (ed.) in cooperation with the Friedrich Ebert-Stiftung

Grave fire and construction hazards in the workplace, extreme working hours, inadequate pay, gender based violence and restrictions on trade union rights as well as violence against trade unionists are all part of the everyday reality of global supply chains. These conditions have been the subject of increased political and societal debate since the fire disasters in Pakistan and Bangladesh in autumn 2012 and the Rana Plaza catastrophe in Bangladesh in spring 2013. Trade unionists and civil society actors are taking action in a variety of forms in production countries, in consumer states and on the international level in an effort to improve working conditions in global supply chains.
Over the course of the two-day symposium "Strategies to Improve Working Conditions in Global Supply Chains" ECCHR together with the DGB, the Hans-Böckler-Stiftung and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung as well as international partners and guests analyzed and reflected on these various international and national strategies. The focus was on the question of how existing efforts can be improved and better linked with one another. We also examined the role law and legal interventions can play in this context. The report documents the main questions and findings of the symposium.

Litigation (im)possible? Holding companies accountable for sexual and gender-based violence in the context of extractive industries

ECCHR Policy Paper, June 2015

ECCHR (ed.) in cooperation with the Heinrich Böll-Stiftung

In mining but also in other extractive industries, companies headquartered in the EU or North America are often implicated in serious human rights violations such as forced evictions or the destruction of livelihoods. Resource extraction by multinational companies disrupts the social structures and norms of local communities.The extraction of high-value natural resources are
known to trigger, escalate and sustain violent conflicts, as extractive industries are based on a model that is inherently violent – not only towards ecosystems,but also towards workers, communities and women.

ECCHR Annual Report 2014

May 2015

ECCHR (ed.)

To date no politician or army officer from a Western state has ever been tried at the International Criminal Court (ICC). It was therefore a great milestone when the Chief Prosecutor at the ICC announced in May 2014 that she would be launching criminal investigations into UK torture of detainees in Iraq following a criminal complaint by ECCHR.
Transnational corporations are another group very rarely held accountable for their role in human rights violations. All the more reason to welcome the news that our legal brief on the liability of pharmaceutical companies for drug trials played a role in the Indian Supreme Court’s decision in August 2014 to demand submissions from drug firms GlaxoSmithKline and Merck on the controversial trial vaccinations of 24,000 girls.
In these cases our interventions have shown swift results. Other proceedings require long-term groundwork and a whole series of smaller legal steps. All of this is documented in the annual report, which recaps and reflects on our cases and projects from 2014.
The 2014 Annual Report is illustrated with images by artist Nghia Nuyen. Nuyen's exhibition "Secret of Return" was on display at ECCHR in 2014.