Strategic litigation is the identification and pursuit of legal cases as part of a strategy to promote human rights. It focuses on an individual case in order to bring about broader social change. These cases set important legal precedents by publicly exposing injustices, raising awareness and bringing about changes in legislation, policy and practice. Strategic litigation can have a lasting impact on a large number of people at the national, regional or international level.

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TRIAL International believes it is not enough to litigate cases that would only bring justice to individual victims: what is needed is systemic change for all victims of the same crimes. In countries where gross human rights violations are committed and impunity is the norm, the only way to durably improve the victims’ situation is to use all available legal avenues, not only at the national level, but also at the regional and international levels.

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The objectives of TRIAL International’s strategic litigation are:

Creating progressive jurisprudence by setting innovative legal precedentsEnsuring that national laws are correctly interpreted and enforcedTriggering reforms in national laws, policies and practices going against human rights standardsStrengthening and clarifying international and regional standardsEnabling individuals to seek remedies for the harm suffered

TRIAL International works in partnership with local and international organizations and lawyers to litigate the cases. Together with these partners, the organization selects cases on the basis of several criteria, including:

TRIAL’s mandate, expertise and potential added value to the caseThe exemplary nature of the case nationally and/or internationallyThe innovative nature of the chosen legal remedyThe number of victims affectedThe likelihood of winning the caseThe impact of a positive decision and the potential backlash of a negative outcome

On the basis of this selection, TRIAL International and its partners submit criminal cases before domestic courts, and human rights cases before regional and international human rights bodies. The organization is also breaking new legal ground by taking on cutting-edge issues such as economic crimes and universal jurisdiction.

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International Criminal Court: TRIAL International does not demand the referral of the s…

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23.05.2020 – (Last modified: 22.05.2020)
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23.02.2017 – (Last modified: 18.07.2018)
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29.09.2016 – (Last modified: 23.02.2017)
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Democratic Republic of the Congo
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14.06.2016 – (Last modified: 10.11.2016)
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