Strategic litigation aims to bring about broad societal changes beyond the scope of the individual case at hand. It aims to use legal means to tackle injustices that have not been adequately addressed in law or politics.
It gives a platform for people affected by rights violations to be seen and heard, triggers discussion of these violations, and highlights weaknesses and gaps in the law.
Successful strategic litigation brings about lasting political, economic or social changes and develops the existing law. Public outreach materials accompanying the case can help to explain the context of the proceedings. This increases the progressive and precedent-setting impact of the legal action.
Between 2004 and 2007, three complaints were filed in Germany and in France against members of the US Government, including former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and members of the military forces in connection with war crimes, torture and other criminal acts in the military prisons of Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib.