Launch of a new joint project on supporting access to justice for victims of international crimes in Europe

(The Hague) This week FIDH, together with REDRESS and ECCHR, have formally launched a new two-year project to promote investigation and prosecution by EU Member States of cases involving international crimes and to improve victims’ access to justice, protection and support.

This project is part of a longstanding collaborative effort amongst our three organisations to combat impunity for international crimes through recourse to national courts exercising universal or extraterritorial jurisdiction to prosecute crimes committed abroad by foreign perpetrators against foreign victims. In circumstances where neither local authorities nor international courts are able to address such crimes, this often represents the last resort for victims in order to obtain access to justice.

In past years, an increasing number of EU Member States have established dedicated units to investigate and prosecute such cases in order to prevent Europe becoming a safe haven for perpetrators. Now, under the EU Directive on Victims’ Rights, such States are under an obligation to ensure victims affected by such crimes receive appropriate information, support and protection and are able to participate in criminal proceedings.

While EU Member States have taken steps to implement the Directive in their national systems, victims of international crimes continue to face barriers to justice. Their unique situation—often severely traumatised, outside their country of origin and in need of special protection—prevents them from benefiting from the same rights as other categories of victims. This project will increase awareness amongst Member States of these challenges and will identify best practices for addressing them.

The project will involve comparative research, fact-finding missions and consultations with key stakeholders and experts on how EU Member States are implementing the Directive in practice, with a particular focus on the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany and Sweden. It will also further our organisations’ commitment to enhancing cooperation amongst Member States, including through support to institutions such as the EU Genocide Network, national authorities, civil society and victims.

For further information concerning the project, please contact Sarah Finnin, coordinator of the project (

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