• The Open Society Justice Initiative, an operational entity of the Open Society Foundations, uses law to protect and empower people around the world. Through litigation, advocacy, research, and technical assistance, the Justice Initiative promotes human rights and builds legal capacity for open societies. Its efforts focus on accountability for international crimes, racial discrimination and statelessness, criminal justice reform, abuses related to national security and counterterrorism, freedom of information and expression, and natural resource corruption.
  • In the area of complementarity, the Justice Initiative:
  • Advocates the incorporation of support for dealing with grave crimes into the diplomacy and rule-of-law development assistance of states and multilateral institutions.
  • Develops tools to assist in the development of political will and technical capacity to undertake trials for grave crimes. International Crimes, Local Justice: A Handbook for Rule-of-Law Policymakers, Donors, and Implementers provides advice across the judicial chain: from investigations and prosecutions, to witness protection, court management and detention. In 2015 the Justice Initiative will publish a guide for designing mechanisms to deal with grave crimes. The report will draw on lessons learned from over 20 experiences around the world to date. The organization will also publish a toolkit for effective response to political blockages to domestic justice for grave crimes.
  • Works with local partners through a mix of options that may include needs assessments, advocacy, strategic litigation, technical capacity building, outreach, and trial monitoring, to support the development of domestic political will and capacity to bring about credible trials for grave crimes in specific countries. In Kenya, the Justice Initiative works with the Open Society Initiative for East Africa to help victims and local civil society organizations advocate for genuine investigations and prosecutions of atrocities committed during Kenya's post-election violence of 2007/8. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Justice Initiative is working with the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa to provide advice on how support for proposed a specialized chambers in Congolese courts to deal with international crimes can best integrate into broader justice sector development. In Guatemala, the Justice Initiative has led efforts to monitor the groundbreaking domestic genocide trial of former head of state Efrain Rios Montt at www.riosmontt-trial.org. In Mexico, at a moment of wide justice-sector reform, the Justice Initiative seeks to support genuine investigation and prosecution of grave crimes in conjunction with other key goals: curbing and punishing the practice of torture, reforming excessive use of pretrial detention, and supporting defense rights. The Justice Initiative has closely monitored the important but troubled work of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, and called for changes in political and technical practices that would allow all foreseen investigations and trials to reach just and more efficient conclusion.


 *[ANNEX - Links}

International Crimes, Local Justice: A Handbook for Rule-of-Law Policymakers, Donors, and Implementers (also available in French – link follows – and forthcoming in Spanish): http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/reports/international-crimes-local-justice

Crimes internationaux, justice locale: Manuel destine aux responsables de l'elaboration des programmes de loi, aux bailleurs de fonds et aux organismes d'execution: [PDF]


Putting Complementarity into Practice: Domestic Justice for International Crimes in DRC, Uganda, and Kenya: http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/reports/putting-complementarity-practice

Coalition on Violence Against Women and Others v. the Attorney-General of Kenya and Others: http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/litigation/coalition-violence-against-women-and-others-v-attorney-general-kenya-and-others

Citizens Against Violence and Others v. the Attorney General of Kenya and Others: http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/litigation/citizens-against-violence-and-others-v-attorney-general-kenya-and-others

Justice in DRC: Mobile Courts Combat Rape and Impunity in Eastern Congo: http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/publications/justice-drc-mobile-courts-combat-rape-and-impunity-eastern-congo

The Trial of Efrain Rios Montt and Mauricio Rodriquez Sanchez: www.riosmontt-trial.org

The Funding Challenge for Reparations in Cambodia: http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/briefing-papers/funding-challenge-reparations-cambodia

Recent Developments at the Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts of Cambodia: March 2013: http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/reports/recent-developments-extraordinary-chambers-courts-cambodia-march-2013

The Future of Cases 003 and 004 at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia: http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/publications/future-cases-003-and-004-extraordinary-chambers-courts-cambodia


Regions of work
Non-governmental organization
Three most relevant areas of work
Advocacy; Court Monitoring; Litigation