December 10, 2014
International justice is everybody’s business
Brussels, 10 December 2014 – On Human Rights Day, Avocats Sans Frontières (ASF) recalls that international criminal justice is a collective issue. International crimes affect firstly the victims of human rights violations, but also their community, lawyers, prosecutors, judges, perpetrators and society. Under the slogan “Together for international justice”, ASF’s Crossroads campaign highlights the fact that countries emerging from a crisis or conflict will build their future by dealing with crimes of the past.
Whether in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Colombia or Nepal, thousands of men and women have been victims of serious human rights violations committed in a context of conflict or widespread violence. Yet international criminal justice, which deals with crimes such as murder, looting, deportation and sexual violence as a weapon of war, is a collective endeavour. It involves a whole range of stakeholders: victims, perpetrators, members of the judiciary, civil society, etc.
On Human Rights Day, ASF is launching a communication campaign as part of a project to promote the Rome Statute (the legal basis for the International Criminal Court). “We called it Crossroads because International criminal justice is where the lives of these men and women meet,” explains Hélène Luther-Caby, ASF Project Coordinator.
The project covers six countries in three continents (Burundi, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala, Nepal and Uganda). Each of these countries is committed at its own level in the construction of international justice. The aim of the project is to support access to justice for the most vulnerable, both victims and perpetrators of international crimes, before national courts and tribunals, whilst respecting the rule of law, including the right to a fair trial and the right to defence.
“What is striking is the similarities between these geographic and cultural contexts, which are very different. Victims often have the same wish: that their sufferings are recognised. The courts face the same challenges, like that of being able to work in full independence. And the political hurdles have to be overcome in order to build a lasting peace”, notes Hélène Luther-Caby.
At the heart of the campaign is the website www.roadtojustice.eu. This is where the voices of victims, lawyers and other participants in the process meet, by means of video clips recorded in each country. The website (in three languages) also provides the tools to better understand the situation in each of the countries. Finally, forums allow internet users to exchange and share their points of view on international justice.
A television advertisement is being broadcast on the international news channel Euronews in order to promote the exchanges.
The Crossroads project is implemented in partnership with ASF Canada in Colombia and Guatemala and INSEC in Nepal. It is funded by the European Union. The communication campaign is also supported by the UK Government (UK aid).
Testimonies of victims and information on www.roadtojustice.eu.
Cover picture © Local Voices/François van Lierde,2014