Ensuring victims and survivors’ rights in a Convention on the prevention and punishment of crimes against humanity

Bureau de communication de REDRESS

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and other organisations voice their support for the adoption of a Convention on crimes against humanity and make recommendations to states to ensure victims’ rights are reflected in a final convention.

Paris, 27 March 2024. Over the last decade, the International Law Commission and the United Nations (UN) General Assembly have made progress towards establishing a Convention on Crimes Against Humanity (CAH). On 1- 5 April 2024 and 11 April 2024, the UN General Assembly Sixth Committee will resume its discussions on the Draft Articles on Crimes against Humanity. Ahead of this, REDRESS, FIDH, Global Survivors Fund (GSF) and TRIAL International publish this policy submission to states to voice support for the adoption of a CAH Convention.

This Convention would cement customary international law and fill an important gap in treaty law regarding crimes against humanity by crystallising states’ obligations to prevent and punish these crimes. The policy brief also makes recommendations to states on the inclusion of progressive provisions on victims’ and survivors’ rights in a prospective CAH Convention.

Through this policy submission we specifically recommend that states should:

 acknowledge the important role victims and survivors play in the fight against CAH;
 adopt the most progressive standards of victims’ and survivor’s rights;
 adopt an inclusive definition of the word "victim";
 recognise the right to information and meaningful participation for victims, survivors, and their families;
 extend these rights to information and participation to all proceedings beyond criminal proceedings;
 expand the right to protection to all individuals whose safety or well-being might be jeopardised by investigations or proceedings concerning crimes against humanity;even if they do not have a formal role in such proceedings;
 explicitly include effective protection against secondary victimisation;
 recognise victims’ and survivors’ right to truth;
 recognise a broad right to reparation for victims and survivors;
 ensure that statutes of limitations do not apply to crimes against humanity;
 recognise that reparation proceedings should not be subjected to statutes of limitation;
 provide for explicit language on judicial cooperation and mutual legal assistance among states to identify, trace, freeze, seize, confiscate, and liquidate any assets of perpetrators for the purpose of providing reparation to victims and survivors.

Read the full policy brief here

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