Make Way for Justice #3: Universal Jurisdiction Annual Review 2017

Report by ECCHR, FIBGAR, FIDH, REDRESS and TRIAL, March 2017

Universal jurisdiction has gathered unprecedented momentum in 2016. In this annual report, ECCHR and its partners FIBGAR, FIDH, REDRESS and TRIAL International look back on its application through 47 recent cases.
 
Five years of conflict, hundreds of thousands of dead. In Syria, large-scale war crimes are committed in all impunity. Effective prosecution has been repeatedly impeded at the international level, yet justice has found a way forward: universal jurisdiction. Thanks to this principle, States can prosecute criminals regardless of their nationality or where the crime was committed. The interest of such procedures for lawless regions is obvious.
 
2016 alone, five States have brought charges for alleged crimes in Syria. Investigations are ongoing in three others. For victims, these proceedings may be their only chance to obtain justice. Universal jurisdiction has proved a significant tool against impunity in Syria, but it also applies to many more situations: Rwanda, Nepal, Guatemala and Iraq, to name but a few.
 
47 milestone cases in 2016
 
To illustrate this breadth, ECCHR, FIBGAR, FIDH, REDRESS and TRIAL Internationa release their annual report on universal jurisdiction, Make way for Justice #3. In 2016 alone, 13 States have made use of this principle in 47 cases – an unprecedented success. Make was for Justice #3 also illustrates the need for States to establish specialized units and equip them with sufficient means.

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