• 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. 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.

  • Abdullah Sanussi (left), Abuzaid Dorda (second left) and Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi (right) sit behind bars during a hearing at a courtroom in Tripoli, Libya on April 14, 2014.
    An International Criminal Court (ICC) decision approving Libya’s bid to prosecute former intelligence chief Abdullah Sanussi comes down amid a near breakdown of Libya’s judicial system. Sanussi is currently on trial in Libya for, among other charges, serious crimes related to his alleged role in trying to suppress the country’s 2011 uprising, though the proceeding against him raises serious due process concerns.

Reports

International Justice

  • Sep 19, 2014
    North Korea continues to deny the existence of political prison camps despite overwhelming evidence and clear satellite imagery that shows they exist. North Korea has rejected all the recommendations asking the Government to acknowledge the existence of the camps, to close them and to release those arbitrarily detained there.
  • Sep 19, 2014
    With many hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the violence in Syria, the focus—as it should be—has been on finding them safety, shelter and aid. But some governments are also looking to hold those responsible for the underlying mass murder and torture to account for their crimes. This requires an proactive approach, with appropriate laws to pursue suspects, skilled professionals to investigate these crimes and strong political will to support accountability efforts.
  • Sep 19, 2014
    The Belgian authorities’ arrest of a Liberian for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity during Liberia’s first civil war is a major advance for justice. It is the first arrest for crimes that violate international law committed during the conflict in Liberia from 1989 to 1996, which left tens of thousands dead.
  • Sep 18, 2014
    In the 1980s and early 1990s, a large number of Afghans fled to the Netherlands to escape the dire situation in their own country. But they weren't the only ones who left. Senior government officials, including agents of the secret service - the dreaded KhAD - who had engaged in human rights violations also landed on Dutch soil.
  • Sep 17, 2014
    In Egypt the human rights situation is deteriorating gravely. The authorities continue to implement a new law effectively banning protests and to jail and try political opponents in legal proceedings that flagrantly violate due process rights.
  • Sep 16, 2014
    Governments wanting to limit impunity for the most serious international crimes should look to the examples of three European countries showing leadership in this area, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Specialized war crimes units composed of police, prosecutors, and immigration officials have the means to bring those responsible for atrocity crimes worldwide to justice and to ensure that war criminals don’t find safe haven when they flee their own country.
  • Sep 11, 2014

    In several cities in eastern Ukraine, following the February 21, 2014 ousting of President Viktor Yanukovich, violence sporadically raged between pro- and anti-Kiev crowds. By mid-March, in several cities, particularly Donetsk and Luhansk, armed groups, initially calling themselves “self-defense units,” seized and occupied administrative buildings. Their demands ranged from making Ukraine a federation, to separation of their regions from the rest of Ukraine, to joining Russia.

  • Sep 8, 2014
    Governments are primarily responsible for protecting human rights but when they fail the UN and its member states must act decisively and unequivocally to prevent abuse.
  • Sep 3, 2014
  • Aug 24, 2014

    (Johannesburg) – African countries should reject immunity for sitting leaders for grave crimes before the African Court for Justice and Human Rights, 141 organizations said today in a declaration in advance of an African Union meeting in Nairobi. The organizations include both African groups and international groups and have a presence in 40 African countries.