Governments and practitioners have a suite of legal tools at their disposal with which to hold state actors, state proxies, non-state actors, and affiliated entities to account for human rights violations, atrocity crimes, financial abuses, and acts of terrorism, among other offenses. However, despite their potential potency, these tools are often under-utilized.
The Atlantic Council’s Strategic Litigation Project will seek to inject fresh thinking into how governments and practitioners can apply legal tools to advance human rights and democracy around the world.
Why strategic litigation?
Legal measures target those in power who abuse their authority.
Litigation strengthens the international rules-based order and is a targeted, surgical measure aimed at holding violators accountable.
Litigation gives voice to victims and empowers civil society.
When civil society is emboldened they push back on their own leaders to demand human rights abiding, transparent, democratic governance.
Trials revealing grave human rights violations of dictatorships against their own people can counter nationalistic narratives.
Civil society leaders are aware of abuses, but the broader public living in dictatorships and authoritarian states are inundated with nationalistic propaganda that blames external factors for abuses.
Prosecutions and significant judgments for damages coupled with enforcement can incentivize a change in behavior.
If targets for prosecution and enforcement of judgments for damages are more rigorously pursued, it will raise the costs for states to perpetrate human rights violations and engage in malign acts.
Learn more about the Strategic Litigation Project
Thu, Dec 10, 2020
Closing the accountability gap on human rights violators in the Islamic Republic of Iran through global litigation strategies
Gissou Nia presents recommendations for new laws, amendments to existing laws, and the creation of enforcement mechanisms to aid in the effort to combat impunity for the IRI’s human rights violations and atrocity crimes.
Report by Gissou Nia
Fri, Nov 13, 2020
Ideally, justice would be served by the Iranian leadership investigating violations and punishing perpetrators within their ranks. Unfortunately, that is not a realistic scenario.
IranSource by Gissou Nia
Tue, Jul 21, 2020
It is now time for Europe to renew its commitment to prosecuting international crimes, especially as Iranian survivors increasingly become European citizens and residents.
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Strategic Litigation Project
The Atlantic Council’s strategic litigation project will seek to inject fresh thinking into how governments and practitioners can apply legal tools to advance human rights and democracy around the world.