Human Rights Watch defends the rights of people worldwide. We scrupulously investigate abuses, expose the facts widely, and pressure those with power to respect rights and secure justice. Human Rights Watch is an independent, international organization that works as part of a broader movement to uphold human dignity and advance the cause of human rights for all.

Human Rights Watch considers international justice and accountability for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity to be an essential element of building respect for human rights. We actively engage with the work of the International Criminal Court and other international tribunals as well as the efforts of national courts, including in Guinea, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Bosnia, to bring perpetrators of the worst crimes to justice. Human Rights Watch also supports the efforts of national courts to use their domestic laws to try those charged with serious crimes in violation of international law, regardless of where the crimes occurred.

With regard to national prosecutions and trials, a crucial part of our research is identifying both best practices and key obstacles when it comes to realizing investigations, prosecutions and trials that are credible. Many of our recommendations are aimed at building the necessary institutional framework to support accountability. Recommendations may target: creating a strategy to try cases; supporting the independence of prosecutors and judges; bolstering witness protection and judicial security; and outlining concrete proposals to improve the legal framework to better protect fair trial rights.

We use our recommendations to press governments in countries where national prosecutions and trials are most needed to direct their political and financial support to realize meaningful accountability. We similarly press donors in those countries to support national efforts to best effect.

Regions of work
Non-governmental organization

Richard Dicker, Director, International Justice Program ([email protected])
Param-Preet Singh, Senior Counsel, International Justice Program ([email protected])
Elizabeth Evenson, Senior Counsel, International Justice Program ([email protected])

Three most relevant areas of work
Advocacy; Policy coordination; Outreach