The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT), established in 1979 on the basis of the Universal Declaration of Peoples’ Rights, and in compliance with its Statute, has opened a procedure to investigate the violation of fundamental human rights against journalists in the global scenario, including cases related to the Governments of Mexico, Sri Lanka, and Syria. In order to consider and evaluate the alleged human rights violations denounced by the requesting organizations, Free Press Unlimited, Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders, the PPT will hold a session in 2021/2022, articulated in the Opening Session (The Hague, November 2, 2021), three thematic hearings (January 12-13, 2022; February 16-17, 2022; March 23-24, 2022) and the final deliberative hearing (The Hague, May 3, 2022).
The Indictment, which will be formally delivered to the PPT panel of judges at the Opening Session, underlines that “[s]ince 1992, at least 1400 journalists have been killed for doing their vital job: bringing reliable information to the public. […]. In 86% of these cases, none of the perpetrators are brought to justice”. As declared by the requesting organizations, human rights violations against journalists “fit in a wider pattern of intimidation and repression of media outlets. Impunity fortifies this hostile climate for press freedom […]. Impunity for murders of journalists thereby not only has grave consequences for those seeking justice for the murder of their loved ones, but impacts the ability of a society as a whole to inform itself and enter into dialogue and debate. Impunity for murders of journalists thereby represents a systemic problem of States failing to honor their obligations to protect journalists and investigate when they are attacked”.
At the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal on the Murders of Journalists, evidence on murder cases that were not resolved will be presented, as well as an analysis on the root causes of impunity and its mechanisms. The witnesses will include Nobel Peace Prize laureate Maria Ressa and UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression Irene Khan. The panel of judges, convened by the PPT President and the PPT General secretary, is integrated by, in alphabetical order: Eduardo Bertoni (Argentina), Representative of the Regional Office for South America of the InterAmerican Institute of Human Rights; Marina Forti (Italy), journalist and writer; Gill H. Boehringer, (Australia) former Dean and now Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the School of Law, Macquarie University, Sydney; Mariarosaria Guglielmi (Italy), European Delegated Prosecutor; Helen Jarvis (Australia-Cambodia), Vice President of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal; Nello Rossi (Italy), Vice President of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal; Kalpana Sharma (India), independent journalist; Philippe Texier (France), President of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal and Marcela Turati Muñoz (Mexico), freelance journalist.
The Opening Session of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal on the Murders of Journalists will take place on November 2nd from 9.00 to 18.00 CET. You can register for the livestream (in English) at the following link:
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The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT) is an international opinion tribunal that is competent to judge any type of crime committed causing injury to peoples and minorities. It was established in Bologna in 1979 thanks to the intuition of jurist and politician Lelio Basso, on the basis of the framework defined in the Universal Declaration of the Rights of People (1976). Established as a direct continuation of the Russel Tribunals on Vietnam (1966-67) and Latin America (1973-76), it was then transformed into a permanent institution, able to give a voice and visibility to those people facing a lack of their rights, and impunity. The Tribunal is built around a network of 70 internationally recognized experts and actors, who are then appointed for the PPT panel of judges for each session.Through its 48 sessions and judgments, the Tribunal has given visibility to several cases of serious human rights violations, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide. It has recently expanded the scope of its competence to include economic, ecological, and systemic crimes. The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal is based in Rome, at the Fondazione Lelio e Lisli Basso, Via della Dogana Vecchia 5.