TOOLKIT ON JUSTICE AVENUES FOR INTERNATIONAL CRIMES
Civil society organizations (CSOs) and other interested parties play a vital role in assisting victims and survivors to seek justice and accountability for serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. International justice benefits from the critiques and support by CSOs to make processes more accessible and more equitable. This Toolkit is a result of training conducted by the Asia Justice Coalition (AJC) secretariat for CSO representatives across Asia. In this multi-week training, it was realised that such a one-stop guide on the functions and operations of international justice mechanisms would be useful. While it focuses on CSOs, this Toolkit is intended to be useful for anyone interested in international justice and accountability.
This toolkit is intended to assist interested parties to decide for themselves, and then to engage with, the most appropriate international justice mechanisms or avenue(s) available and relevant to their context. With its publication, the Coalition reaffirms the urgent need for victim-centered avenues for pursuing justice and accountability for international crimes.
The Toolkit provides a look at available avenues for CSO engagement within the international legal sphere. It includes easy-to-read overviews of United Nations Fact-Finding Missions (FFMs) and International Investigative Mechanisms, the International Criminal Court (ICC), the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and the use of Universal Jurisdiction (UJ).
PRIMERS FOR INTERNATIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY IN ASIA: CLASSIFICATION OF ARMED CONFLICT AND INTERNATIONAL LAW
AJC's third publication in our series of primers for international accountability in Asia addresses armed conflict classification in international law. This primer serves as a brief but concise explainer on what constitutes an armed conflict, how and why such armed conflict is classified under international law, what law governs the armed conflict, and what are the core principles of international (humanitarian) law that governs parties means and conduct during the armed conflict.
PRIMERS FOR INTERNATIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY IN ASIA: 'INTERNATIONAL SANCTIONS AND MYANMAR'
AJC's second publication in our series of primers for international accountability in Asia addresses international sanctions and Myanmar. This primer serves as a brief but concise explainer on what is meant by international sanctions, what factors must be considered while advocating for such sanctions, how effective sanctions are as a means to achieve justice and accountability, how did the unilateral, multilateral, and targeted sanctions work against the Tatmadaw in the past, and how breaches of sanctions could be remedied.
AJC’s SUBMISSION TO THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON RIGHTS TO PEACEFUL ASSEMBLY AND OF ASSOCIATION
The Asia Justice Coalition responded to a call for input by the Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Peaceful Assembly and of Association for their report to be presented at the 50th session of the Human Rights Council.
In the written submission, the Coalition provides its observations on the protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests during overlapping military, humanitarian, and social and political crises in and related to Myanmar. Specifically, the submission addresses violations to the right to peaceful assembly and other interrelated human rights during peaceful protests in two contexts: (i) the February 2021 coup in Myanmar; (ii) Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh refugee camps.
PRIMERS FOR INTERNATIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY IN ASIA: 'CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY'
AJC's first publication in our series of primers for international accountability in Asia addresses crimes against humanity. This primer serves as a brief but concise explainer on what crimes against humanity are, the legal elements to be satisfied, potential avenues for investigating and prosecuting them, and considerations for civil society organizations (CSOs) or individuals potentially involved in the documentation of such crimes.
CIVIL SOCIETY INFORMATION COLLECTION FOR INTERNATIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY BODIES
Information collected by organizations on serious violations of international law can be used for multiple purposes, including: to provide context or leads for investigators; as support for submissions to human rights and treaty complaint bodies; as evidence in international or domestic legal proceedings; and to set a foundation for truth-telling or other reconciliation mechanisms. This brief provides considerations for civil society organizations (CSOs) potentially engaging in information collection regarding serious violations of international law against the Rohingya for use in criminal justice proceedings.
At its heart, CSOs engaging in information collection must ‘do no harm:’ they must take responsibility for the risks to those providing information, to the information itself, and to those collecting information.
A non-exhaustive overview, this brief focuses on information collection that may be compiled for eventual use by the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM) or used in matters before the International Criminal Court (ICC) or the International Court of Justice (ICJ). While this brief focuses on engagement with international judicial bodies, the guidance provided in collecting information is also relevant where members seek to provide assistance to domestic prosecutors under universal jurisdiction. It does not address broader information collection for human rights bodies.
UNIVERSAL CRIMINAL JURISDICTION SCOPING
National prosecution for egregious international crimes such as genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity is vital to international justice and accountability. Where it is not possible or practical to prosecute in the state in which the crime took place, international law has developed several forms of jurisdiction in which an accused may be prosecuted in other states—including the state of the perpetrator’s nationality and the state of the victim’s nationality. The exercise of universal jurisdiction permits a state to prosecute when the crime neither took place on its soil nor involved its nationals. Thus, the exercise of universal jurisdiction can fill an important gap to prevent impunity where States that are directly affected are unwilling or unable to bring a prosecution.
This scoping paper provides a review of scholarship and commentary on the use of universal jurisdiction in international criminal matters. It notes that the exercise of universal jurisdiction, while growing, is still a relatively novel concept. Pursuing such matters is resource-intensive and success is not guaranteed. Because of this, it is important to examine which, how, and whether Forum State courts may be inclined to exercise universal criminal jurisdiction—one of many potential avenues for justice. Thus, this scoping paper’s purpose is to assist in determining how, and to what extent, the Coalition may pursue the exercise of universal criminal jurisdiction regarding international crimes against the Rohingya. This may be applicable more broadly to other contexts as well.