New Treaty Should Improve International Cooperation in the Fight Against Impunity for International Crimes

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Today in Ljubljana, final negotiations towards a new treaty have started. The draft treaty seeks to improve international cooperation in the domestic prosecution of international crimes. An NGO coalition is hopeful that this process will lead to the treaty adoption after two weeks. 

The coalition has made a submission welcoming many amendments to a previous draft and proposing further changes to it. The submission is signed by the NGOs Amnesty International, Civitas Maxima, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, the Global Survivors Fund, Human Rights Watch, the International Federation for Human Rights, REDRESS, TRIAL International and Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice. 

What is the MLA Initiative? 

Recent decades have seen increased efforts at the national level to investigate and prosecute individuals and companies responsible for the most serious international crimes. Since 2011, a group of States has advocated for a new multilateral treaty to enhance cooperation between States in the investigation and prosecution of serious international crimes. The Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) Initiative is currently supported by over 70 countries from all regions of the world. 

Civil society organisations have welcomed and are closely following the development of the MLA Initiative, as the treaty provides an opportunity to strengthen the legal framework to fight against impunity in relation to international crimes, by lessening the obstacles national authorities face in gaining access to suspects, witnesses, evidence and assets located beyond their borders. Civil society is also hopeful that the treaty will fully uphold victims’ rights, including victims’ right to full reparation. 

REDRESS has worked with other organisations in previous submissions to the States leading the MLA Initiative to urge them to include stronger provisions that reaffirm victims’ rights and recognise the crucial role they play in the investigation and prosecution of serious international crimes. We have also call on States to prioritise victims’ rights. 

Read our information sheet on the MLA.


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