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20 years in pursuit of ‘access to justice’ under the AARHUS Convention

20 years in pursuit of ‘access to justice’ under the Aarhus Convention   1. Brief journey of the Aarhus ConventionEnvironmental rights and climate justice under the international law regime cannot be discussed without referring to the 1998 Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision–Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, more popularly known as the Aarhus Convention (the ‘Convention’). Negotiated and adopted under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in the year 1998 and entered into force in the year 2001, it recently completed 20 years of being a seminal instrument in…

International Justice Day release

International Justice Day statement  Eighteen days ago Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, outgoing President of the ICC, stated that neither impermanent sophistries nor the glacially evolving fundamentals of international criminal law institutions matter. “Let me be clear here, as clear as I can possibly be: the law is for the people”, he told his interviewer.1 Legal technicalities are vital embodiments of this purpose, but they are secondary to it. Judge Eboe-Osuji added that he sees the Rome Statute as the culmination of eight decades of unceasing efforts to ease the chokeholds of state sovereignty, immunity and impunity on what should be non-negotiable…

Just Access speech at “Protecting Human Rights on the Internet: The Role of Government, Business and Civil Society”. Co-organised by Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights and Just Access on the sidelines of the Human Rights Council 47th session, 13 July 2021.

Just Access speech at “Protecting Human Rights on the Internet: The Role of Government, Business and Civil Society”. Co-organised by Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights and Just Access on the sidelines of the Human Rights Council 47th session, 13 July 2021.   Thank you very much for this opportunity! My remarks will focus on HRC Resolution 38/7, the previous resolution adopted in July 2018 concerning the promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the internet, in order to identify flaws that can now be corrected. The adoption of this Resolution has a long pre-history, and we must…

Just Access has joined the Coalition for the International Criminal Court

Just Access joins the Coalition for the International Criminal Court  We are honoured and delighted to announce that in June 2021 Just Access has joined the Coalition for the International Criminal Court. This innovative, vibrant and world-changing civil society partnership seeks to strengthen state support for and cooperation with the ICC; ensure that the Court is fair, effective and independent; and advance stronger national laws that deliver justice to victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. We greatly look forward to working with the CICC and the other NGOs that it unites and leads in this vital cause.…

Justice for ISIL Victims Part 2: A Jurisdictional Perspective

Justice for ISIL Victims Part 2: A Jurisdictional Perspective   As the national judicial systems in Iraq and Syria are unable to respond to demands for justice from victims of ISIL, the international community has to fulfill its responsibility in promoting accountability for crimes committed by the jihadist group. This is particularly the case for states whose nationals have been implicated in some of the most heinous crimes committed by ISIL members. It is estimated that over 41,000 foreign nationals1 from 80 countries have traveled to Iraq or Syria to join ISIL. Overwhelmed with the burden of carrying for and…

Justice for ISIL Victims Part 1: A Constitutional Perspective

Justice for ISIL Victims Part 1: A Constitutional Perspective  Efforts to hold ISIL accountable for the heinous crimes committed that may amount to genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, and to attain justice for its victims are stalling due to Iraq’s inadequate constitutional framework and overwhelmed judicial system. Confirming long-held fears, the United Nations established, on 10 May 2021, that there is “clear and compelling evidence” that the unimaginable atrocities suffered by the Yazidis at the hands of ISIL amount to genocide1. A young Yazidi survivor of sexual enslavement describes the horrific events, recounting2 that “when I woke up…

The urgent task of improving the online complaint procedure before Human Rights Council Special Procedures Mandate Holders: towards victim-friendly design and effective collective complaints

The urgent task of improving the online complaint procedure before Human Rights Council Special Procedures Mandate Holders: towards victim-friendly design and effective collective complaints The urgent task of improving the online complaint procedure before Human Rights Council Special Procedures Mandate Holders: towards victim-friendly design and effective collective complaints I. Improvements and flaws of the new online form to submit complaint before the HRC Special Procedures Mandate-HoldersII. The way towards a submission procedure before the HRC SP effectively allowing for collective complaintsA. The application form is individually based, although one specific case can actually represent multiple (and more or less similar) HR violationsB.…

Corruption and access to justice in international law, Part 3

Corruption and access to justice in international law, Part 3  Later this year, in the second session of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (‘GANHRI’), the Qatar National Human Rights Committee ( ‘QNHRC’) will be assessed for re-accreditation.1 This is an opportunity to reflect on Qatar’s influence on GANHRI and the UN at large, and on the loopholes, poor institutional design, and misaligned incentives that made it possible. It would be particularly problematic if Qatar’s influence on GANHRI were found to be undue and improper, because the international human rights regime is uniquely vulnerable to multiple corruptive influences…

Just Access joins the conversation on the KAS webinar on China in the Western Balkan

Today we were excited to accept the invitation to the webinar “From Rule-Taker to Rule-Shaper? China’s Changing Global Role and its Implications for the Western Balkans” organized by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation Office in North Macedonia. The webinar was named after the title of the Policy Brief issued by the KA Foundation and the Association for strategy development, research, education and promotion of international values – ESTIMA.After the opening by Daniel Braun, the official Representative of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in North Macedonia, and the moderator of the event Zoran Necev from the Institute for Democracy “Societas Civilis” – Skopje,…

Just Access e.V. feedback on “The Extension of the list of EU crimes to hate speech and hate crime”

This initiative of the European Commission “Hate speech & hate crime – inclusion on list of EU crimes” aims to expand the list of EU crimes to include hate speech and hate crime.Here is our feedback to the roadmap:Just Access e.V., a German NGO focused on access to justice, welcomes the initiative to include an improved definition and scope of hate speech and hate crime on the list of EU crimes, with particular attention to sex, sexual orientation, age and disability as the criteria for hate speech and crime. Our recommendation is to improve pertaining EU regulation by balancing the…

Responsible or complicit: a look at Myanmar´s crisis through its business actors, people´s resistance and the international community

Responsible or complicit: a look at Myanmar´s crisis through its business actors, people´s resistance and the international community Responsible or complicit: a look at Myanmar´s crisis through its business actors, people´s resistance and the international community 1. Myanmar since February 20212. Business actors during the coup3. The international community’s opprobrium of the crisis: what it means for the people’s movement and access to justice 1. Myanmar since February 2021Myanmar’s political landscape since February of this year has witnessed some extremely distressing transformation. Right before the start of the new parliament1, the Myanmar military, or popularly known as the ‘Tatmadaw’, deposed the democratically…

2021 EU Justice Scoreboard roadmap-the feedback of Just Access e.V.

Using the opportunity to influence the shaping of laws and policies of the European Commission, today we submitted our feedback on the roadmap for 2021 EU Justice Scoreboard.We are conveying our feedback integrally:Just Access, a registered German NGO focused on access to justice, applauds the EU Justice Scoreboard, including its section 3.2.1 specifically dedicated to Accessibility.While the quantitative element of this comparative exercise is unavoidable and in many ways useful, we recommend the regular and thorough revision of the Scoreboard’s metrics. In addition to being a formal and immediate obligation, the provision of justice is also an aspirational exercise, a…

Corruption and access to justice in international law, Part 2

Corruption and access to justice in international law, Part 2  Our previous blogpost1 made a pointed enquiry into the extent to which international law provides an infrastructure of access to justice for individuals and communities harmed by corruption across multiple sectors of society. It took into account how it has proven difficult to have an exhaustive and universal definition of corruption given its intrinsic link to the socio-political and economic circumstances, among other things, across societies. The post also identified the challenges entailed in seeking to widen the definition of corruption in order to widen the scope of applicable legal…

Just Access e.V. in the media in North Macedonia and Bulgaria

Our blog article Access to the EU and justice denied: How Bulgaria’s actions against North Macedonia amount to abuse of the EU’s accession procedural rules: How Bulgaria’s actions against North Macedonia amount to abuse of the EU’s accession procedural rules echoed in the media of North Macedonia after Deutsche Welle informed about our work. More than two dozen media outlets in the country followed by sharing the news.The oldest daily newspaper published our analysis integrally in the printed weekend version on the 27th of March.  Bulgarian media shared the news and commented: Today, the European Parliament is expected to "scold"…

Access to the EU and justice denied-How Bulgaria’s actions against North Macedonia amount to abuse of the EU’s accession procedural rules

Access to the EU and justice denied: How Bulgaria’s actions against North Macedonia amount to abuse of the EU’s accession procedural rules Access to the EU and justice denied: How Bulgaria’s actions against North Macedonia amount to abuse of the EU’s accession procedural rules I. Factual background of North Macedonia’s political relationship with the EU, Greece and BulgariaII. How Bulgaria’s blackmailing against North Macedonia is abusive under international law 1. By de facto and arbitrarily vetoing North Macedonia’s bid to access the EU, Bulgaria is violating the bilateral “Treaty of Friendship” in force with its neighbour2. How Bulgaria’s attitude towards North Macedonia…

Our comments to the BBC on the first Koblenz verdict for Syrian state torture

Read our Director’s comments to the BBC on 24 February 2021, the day that the Koblenz Court delivers its first verdict under universal jurisdiction on Syrian state torture. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-56160486His full statement to the BBC read,  “Tomorrow’s decision will enter the history books. Critics say that the accused, Eyad A., was a low-ranking intelligence officer who acted on superior orders and would have risked his life if he disobeyed; that he willingly cooperated with German authorities as a witness to the Syrian regime’s crimes against humanity and against Anwar R., and that his statements are now unfairly used against him. Critics also say…

Corruption and access to justice in international law, Part 1

Corruption and access to justice in international law, Part 1  Coronavirus may be sweeping the globe, but over the past three decades the contagion of corruption has done much to harm public trust in democracy throughout the world. As western states channel money towards struggling sections of their populations and economies, literal and metaphoric contagions look set to collide. In both Europe and the Americas, the race to buy up equipment and supplies has seen governments award contracts without due oversight or accountability.1 In December 2020 the European Union sought to ensure that money flowing to member states as part…

The international responsibilities of “de facto authorities” and terrorist organisations in the Yemeni conflict

The international responsibilities of “de facto authorities” and terrorist organisations in the Yemeni conflictThe international responsibilities of “de facto authorities” and terrorist organisations in the Yemeni conflict The Yemeni conflict, the Houthis and terrorist organisationsInternational legal obligations applicable to the National Salvation Government set up by the HouthisNumerous and egregious international law violations and abuses committed by the Houthis and terrorist organisationsThorny legal issues of international responsibility raised by the Houthis’ de facto regime and their effective control of territoriesA clear trend in international law for holding non-state armed groups and de facto authorities directly responsible for egregious international law violations…