Thematic Areas

2. Justice & Accountability

1. Criminal Prosecutions
  • Prosecutorial initiatives must be underpinned by a clear political commitment to accountability that understands the complex goals involved.
  • Initiatives should have a clear strategy that addresses the challenges of a large universe of cases, many suspects, limited resources and competing demands.
  • Initiatives should be endowed with the necessary capacity and technical ability to investigate and prosecute the crimes in question, understanding their complexity and the need for specialized approaches.
  • Initiatives should pay particular attention to victims, ensuring (as far as possible) their meaningful participation, and provide adequate protection of witnesses.
  • Initiatives should be executed with a clear understanding of the applicable law and an appreciation of trial management skills, as well as a strong commitment to due process.

2. Amnesties must have strict guidelines
  • While acknowledging the role of amnesties in persuading perpetrators to cooperate, these must not apply to perpetrators of international crimes, crimes against humanity, murders and sexually related crimes.
  • Where recommendations are considered, extreme caution must be exercised. The process must not end up benefitting perpetrators at the expense of the victims.
  • Past amnesties granted to perpetrators of serious violations must be subjected to judicial review.
  • Whatever principles are adopted on amnesties must be acceptable to stakeholders especially the victims

3. Universal Jurisdiction
  • Universal jurisdiction must be applied solely to the nature of the crime, rather than the place of crime or nationality of the perpetrators
  • Universal jurisdiction must be considered as a basis for seeking the extradition of persons accused of committing serious international crimes
  • In the absence of national legislation, universal jurisdiction must be relied on
  • The state must uphold its obligation to support accountability based on its duty to prosecute or extradite offenders
  • There must be no immunity to accused offenders of serious crimes
  • No statute of limitations must apply to serious crimes under international law
  • Amnesties are inconsistent with state's obligation to provide criminal accountability under international law
  • No double jeopardy
  • Where local mechanisms cannot be preferred, international mechanisms must used

4. Restorative Justice
  • Justice processes should incorporate restorative approaches in both civil and criminal law and where necessary traditional justice methods.
  • Traditional methods should not recreate courtroom processes and legal rigidities.
  • Community approaches must be preferred where both sides are in agreement for minor violations

5. Civil Litigation
  • National court processes must cooperate with international legal mechanisms. Litigation must not only focus on the state actors or their agencies but must also push for accountability in non-state actors, individuals and corporations.
  • During trials, victims must be prepared adequately before trial. International best practices must be used in working with victims.
  • There must be no prescription for civil claims in grave human rights violation cases.

6. General
  • In both criminal and civil cases, justice and accountability processes must take into account the issue of command responsibility
  • The needs of communities affected by past violations must be addressed given past inequalities
  • Where applicable, traditional justice systems and alternative dispute resolution methods must be promoted
  • The language of justice must be decoded to speak to the needs of affected communities taking into account the context and needs of the communities including issues of social justice