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Strategic Litigation

by Achille Campagna

Sometimes people just don't do it for the money. They don't take their case, they don't file a complaint, or an application, with a view to obtain compensation.

Of course there are many other reasons one would want to bring a legal case for, including pure establishment of the truth, or restoring a damaged reputation, but there is one aim and reason that stands out for it goes beyond the personal sphere of the plaintiff: to change the world.

These people want to produce a big change by bringing a legal case that has the potential to offer the venue for a landmark decision, a judgment or anything that a tribunal is empowered to do, such that, for example, what happened to them will not happen to anyone else, or even to make sure that a certain category of rights be safeguarded by an effective remedy.

A widespread issue - like , e.g., a generalized practice of violation - must exist that can be addressed through a legal case, and to make things work, the case must be litigated such that it can, if successful, have repercussions on those who are affected by the same issue.

Strategic litigation, in a ways, could be called leveraged litigation, in as much as it literally exploits a given jurisdictional body and its impact, namely the direct effect of this latter's decisions on its own case law, on that of the others and the more general guiding force exerted on the community, be it local or international.

Although the brutal cross of any rights and any principle is growing larger and uncontrolled - and we have examples of it in Russia's invasion of Ukraine - the scope for strategic litigation is immense. There still can be accountability.

We call on international tribunals to uphold the cases brought by the victims of core international crimes and make a difference with their judgments, as they still have an impact on the fight against the illegal armed conflicts raging the world.

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