Terrorism and human rights: the role of criminal justice, human rights of victims

The ICJ today highlighted the key role of criminal justice systems in countering terrorism, and the need for a human-rights-based approach to victims of terrorism, at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The statement, delivered in a general thematic debate, read as follows:

“The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) welcomes the High Commissioner’s report on Terrorism and Human Rights (A/HRC/45/27).

The ICJ concurs that criminal justice systems are key to countering terrorism, and that ensuring such systems fully comply with States’ human rights obligations is both fundamental in its own right, and essential to avoid contributing to conditions conducive to terrorism.

The ICJ also appreciates the report’s conclusion that human rights of all victims of terrorism must be addressed, without discrimination. To contribute to this aim, the ICJ published last year, and is currently expanding and updating, an extensive Compilation of International Sources on the Human Rights of Victims of Terrorism. The ICJ has contributed expertise to relevant initiatives including by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and UN Office of Counter-Terrorism.

The ICJ urges the Human Rights Council to fully endorse and elaborate a human rights based approach to victims of terrorism, to complement last year’s General Assembly resolution 73/305 on “Enhancement of international cooperation to assist victims of terrorism”. The ICJ stands ready to assist in identifying and elaborating the key elements of a human-rights based approach.

We also urge the Human Rights Council to maintain the focus of its limited time and resources on the most acute human rights issues in relation to terrorism: implementing the human rights of victims of terrorism and ensuring that counter-terrorism measures fully respect human rights.

Thank you.”

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