UJAR Cover

Report launch: Universal Jurisdiction Annual Review 2019

Today we are excited to announce the launch of a new edition of the Universal Jurisdiction Annual Review (UJAR). With universal jurisdiction on the rise, this year’s review analyses the unique challenges faced when investigating and prosecuting cases remotely.

The report was researched and written by TRIAL International, in collaboration with REDRESS, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the International Foundation Baltasar Garzon (FIGBAR).

The report analysis 60 cases across 16 countries, demonstrating the potential of universal jurisdiction to curb impunity for international crimes. In 2018, several warrants were issued against the inner circle of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in France and in Germany, which have since materialised in three arrests made this February. The former Gambian Minister of the Interior is awaiting trial in detention in Switzerland. Investigations are ongoing in Austria against officials of the Syrian intelligence services. With around over 140 suspects worldwide, leading to eight condemnations, it is clear that the net is tightening around suspects of the gravest crimes.

Yet, all practitioners know how hard-won these victories are, and how many other cases have been abandoned due to political, legal, logistical or budgetary hurdles. The fifth edition of UJAR focuses on the evidentiary challenges inherent to universal jurisdiction, and illustrates the countless complexities arising from investigating and prosecuting crimes remotely.

The report highlights the solutions and good practices that have emerged in 2018 and from many of the selected cases, lessons can be drawn and applied to different contexts.

The report shows that cooperation is fundamental for the success of universal jurisdiction cases and to ensure that no state is a safe haven for war criminals. When survivors, prosecutors, lawyers, investigators, diasporas, NGOS, victims’ associations and media are learning to work together, victims have the best chances of justice.

The report benefited from the generous support of the City of Geneva, the Oak Foundation and the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy.

The full report and recommendations are available here.