New project seeks to improve access to justice for victims of international crimes in Europe

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REDRESS, together with FIDH and ECCHR, has launched a new two-year project to promote the investigation and prosecution by EU Member States of perpetrators of international crimes and to improve victims’ access to justice.

This project drives forward our longstanding collaborative effort to combat impunity for international crimes through recourse to national courts exercising universal or extraterritorial jurisdiction. In circumstances where neither local authorities nor international courts are able to address such crimes, such action is often the last resort for victims in securing justice.

There has been huge progress in strengthening this vital mechanism for justice in recent years.  A rising number of EU Member States have established dedicated units to investigate and prosecute such cases, and the EU Directive on Victims’ Rights has cast an obligation over each State to ensure that victims receive the essential information, support and protection that enables them to participate in criminal proceedings. Together, these changes work to prevent Europe becoming a safe haven for perpetrators.

In spite of these steps forward, victims of international crimes continue to face barriers to justice. Severely traumatised, residing far from their country of origin and in need of special protection:  this challenging set of circumstances prevents them from benefiting from the same rights as other victims within Europe.

Through comparative research, fact-finding missions and consultations with key stakeholders, the project will increase awareness among Member States of these challenges and identify best practices for addressing them. The project will specifically look at how EU Member States are implementing the Directive in practice, with a focus on the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany and Sweden.

Beyond this, the project furthers our shared mission to enhance the cooperation of Member States in supporting institutions – such as the EU Genocide Network, national authorities and civil society organisations – that improve access to justice for victims of international crimes.

For further information concerning the project, please contact Eva Sanchis, Head of Communications, on [email protected] or +44 (0)20 7793 177.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Eric Kanalstein