• Human Rights Watch considers international justice—accountability for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity—to be an essential element of building respect for human rights. The International Justice Program works to shape investigations, bring about arrest and cooperation, and advocate for effective justice mechanisms. We actively engage with the work of the International Criminal Court and other international tribunals as well as the efforts of national courts, including in Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Bosnia, to bring perpetrators of the worst crimes to justice. Human Rights Watch also supports the efforts of national courts to use their domestic laws to try those charged with serious crimes in violation of international law, regardless of where the crimes occurred. 


International Justice

  • May 21, 2015

    A new short documentary narrated by the French actress Juliette Binoche shines a light on the upcoming trial of Hissène Habré, the former dictator of Chad.

  • May 13, 2015
    The trial in Senegal of the former Chadian dictator Hissène Habré, set to begin July 20, 2015, will mark the culmination of a two-decade campaign for justice.
  • May 12, 2015

    13 May 2015 will mark the tenth anniversary of the massacre at Andijan, during which state security forces shot and killed hundreds of mostly unarmed protesters. In the decade since, the Uzbek government has steadfastly refused to allow an independent investigation into the killings. It has also relentlessly persecuted those it suspects of having witnessed or participated in the events.

  • May 11, 2015

    United Nations Security Council members should use the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor’s briefing on her Libya investigation on May 12, 2015, to speak out strongly against the state of impunity in the country. In the face of mounting atrocities, the ICC prosecutor should urgently exercise the mandate given unanimously to her by the Security Council to pursue an investigation into ongoing crimes.

  • May 11, 2015
    Mathieu Ngudjolo, the first defendant to be acquitted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), was deported to Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, on May 11, 2015.
  • May 11, 2015
  • May 6, 2015
    In its first 12 years, the International Criminal Court (ICC) opened investigations in eight countries—Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Uganda and Sudan (Darfur)—resulting in 22 cases. These investigations and cases are a good start, yet they come nowhere near to meeting demand.
  • Apr 27, 2015
    Human Rights Watch on April 27 issued an updated questions and answers document about the upcoming trial in Senegal of the former Chadian dictator Hissène Habré.
  • Apr 27, 2015
  • Apr 27, 2015

    In mid-2015, the former dictator of Chad, Hissène Habré, will stand trial on charges of crimes against humanity, torture and war crimes before the Extraordinary African Chambers in the Senegal court system. The chambers were inaugurated by Senegal and the African Union in February 2013 to prosecute the “person or persons” most responsible for international crimes committed in Chad between 1982 and 1990, the period when Habré ruled Chad. 

    Habré’s trial will be the first in the world in which the courts of one country prosecute the former ruler of another for alleged human rights crimes. It will also be the first universal jurisdiction case to proceed to trial in Africa. Universal jurisdiction is a concept under international law that allows national courts to prosecute the most serious crimes even when committed abroad, by a foreigner and against foreign victims. The French newspaper Le Monde has called the case “a turning point for justice in Africa.”

    The following questions and answers provide more information on the case and what lies ahead.