The Special Criminal Court, a New Opportunity for Victims in the Central African Republic

This report discusses the progress, obstacles, and challenges for the Special Criminal Court in its initial phases. Based on regular observation of the court and interviews with victim representatives, activists, court staff, UN representatives, donors, and government officials, Human Rights Watch offers observations on the current stage of the court’s development.

Congolese Special Prosecutor Toussaint Muntazini (R) and the five other judges of the Special Criminal Court (SCC).


  • Lessons from Colombia, Georgia, Guinea, and the United Kingdom

    This report examines aspects of the ICC Office of the Prosecutor’s practices in its preliminary examinations, which determine whether the court’s criteria to open a full investigation are met.

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  • How Guatemala’s Courts Could Doom the Fight against Impunity

    This  report documents a pattern of repeated and unjustifiable delays in criminal cases brought by the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) and the Guatemalan Attorney General’s Office. 

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  • Evidence of Atrocities and Cover-Up of Abuses Committed during Peru’s Armed Conflict

    This report provides an overview of existing evidence, including testimony by several soldiers that they tortured, killed, and forcibly disappeared people during military operations against armed groups in the 1990s.

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    Cover of the Peru report
  • Victims’ Legal Representation at the ICC in the Ongwen Case and Beyond

    This report compares the way victims’ lawyers were selected in one ongoing trial to broader trends in court practice. At the ICC, victims have a right to participate in trials and are represented at trial through lawyers.

    Cover of the international justice report on victim's legal representation in the Ongwen case and beyond
  • War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity and the Special Criminal Court in the Central African Republic

    This report presents a comprehensive account of war crimes committed in three central provinces since late 2014, including more than 560 civilian deaths and the destruction of more than 4,200 homes.

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    Cover of the Central African Republic
  • The United States and Chad’s Hissène Habré 1982-1990

    This report describes how France, and especially the United States, were pivotal in bringing Habré to power, although signs of his brutality were already evident. The two countries saw Habré as a bulwark against the expansionist designs of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, whose forces were occupying northern Chad.

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  • Delivering Credible Accountability for Serious Abuses in Côte d’Ivoire

    This report outlines critical areas requiring additional government support so that Ivorian courts can provide credible justice.

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  • Lessons from the ICC’s Work in Côte d’Ivoire

    This 88-page report draws on interviews with activists, journalists, and ICC staff in Abidjan and The Hague to assess whether the ICC has done what it can to ensure that its proceedings are relevant, meaningful, and accessible to Ivorians.

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  • Lessons from the Trial of Charles Taylor

    This 55-page report analyzes the practice and impact of Taylor’s trial by the United Nations-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone. The report examines the conduct of the trial, including issues related to efficiency, fairness, and witnesses and sources.

  • Lessons of International Support for Trials before the State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina

    This 47-page report highlights key lessons from the involvement of international judges and prosecutors to boost national staff capacity to try sensitive and complex cases stemming from the 1992-1995 war.
  • Closing Gaps in the Selection of ICC Cases

    This 50-page report assesses the Office of the Prosecutor’s choice of cases in its first five investigations.
  • Advancing the Global Fight against Impunity at the ICC Review Conference

    This 102-page report assesses progress and recommends steps to strengthen international justice. The report addresses the four themes identified as part of the conference's "stock-taking exercise": peace and justice, strengthening national courts, the ICC's impact on affected communities, and state cooperation.
  • The Landmark International Criminal Court’s First Years

    This 244-page report examines the ICC’s accomplishments and shortcomings since it began operations in 2003. The court was created to bring justice to the victims of gross human rights violations; so far the court has issued arrest warrants against suspects in four countries, though none have yet been tried.