Global Initiative Against Impunity

Making Justice Work

Brussels – Networks & Exchange – Impunity

Impunity remains the greatest barrier to justice and reparation for victims and survivors of human rights violations and core international crimes. Too often, only a few perpetrators are brought to justice. Therefore, empowering victims and survivors to combat impunity through both formal and informal transitional justice processes is essential. In June 2024, nine civil society organizations and two associate partners united to launch the “Global Initiative Against Impunity for International Crimes and Serious Human Rights Violations: Making Justice Work”.

Project

In recent decades, the tireless efforts of survivors, civil society organizations, activists and lawyers have made significant strides in addressing the growing impunity for violations of human rights, humanitarian law, and international criminal law. Despite this progress, many challenges persist. Therefore the Global Initiative Against Impunity seeks to enhance the participation of victims and civil society organizations in creating inclusive accountability processes. Ensuring access to justice for those who have been denied their rights is imperative.

The four-year Initiativeis a global civil society-led program co-funded and supported by the European Union. Each participating organization will contribute its expertise to promoting justice and accountability for serious human rights violations, including torture, enforced disappearance, and other core international crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression. The approach to challenging impunity and promoting accountability is survivor-centered, trauma-informed and gender-transformative.

In 2024, the initiative will place special emphasis on 27 countries across Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Additionally, it will also seek to enhance the rule of law, accountability standards, and atrocity prevention in other countries within these regions. 

The strategic partnership comprises the following consortium members: Civil Rights Defenders, the Coalition for the International Criminal Court, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, Impunity Watch, the International Federation for Human Rights, Parliamentarians for Global Action, REDRESS, TRIAL International, and Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice. They are supported by two associate partners: the Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities and the International Commission of Jurists.

Context

ECCHR combats double standards and impunity for international crimes across various international and national legal forums, including the International Criminal Court. Beyond international bodies, ECCHR has effectively applied the principle of universal jurisdiction in several European countries to investigate crimes and prosecute perpetrators. Supporting over 100 Syrian torture survivors and their relatives in filing criminal complaints in Germany, Austria, Sweden and Norway, a landmark victory was achieved. In January 2022, the pioneering trial on Syrian state torture concluded at the Higher Regional Court of Koblenz, where high-ranking ex-intelligence officer Anwar Raslan was sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity.

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Glossary (6)

Definition

Crimes against humanity

Crimes against humanity are grave violations of international law carried out against a civilian population in a systematic or widespread way.

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Insight

Crimes against humanity

Crimes against humanity – defined as a systematic attack on a civilian population – tend to be planned or at least condoned by state authorities: heads of government, senior officials or military leaders. In some cases, companies also play a direct or indirect role in their perpetration.

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