Geneva, 16 September 2022 (TDI): At the 51st regular session of the Human Rights Council (HRC51), the Nordic-Baltic countries emphasized how armed non-State groups can be held accountable for serious breaches of human rights or humanitarian law.

The 51st regular session of the Human Rights Council started on 12 September and will continue till 7 October 2022.

Ambassador of Estonia, Katrin Saarsalu-Layachi had an interactive discussion with Special Rapporteur on truth, justice, reparation, and guarantees of non-recurrence. She gave a statement on the behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries on September 16, 2022.

Full Statement by Ambassador of Estonia

“Mr. Special Rapporteur,

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and my own country Estonia.

We would like to thank you for your detailed report on the role and responsibilities of non-State actors in transitional justice processes. We concur with you that international humanitarian law; international human rights standards and international criminal law are applicable to non-State armed groups.

It is important that in addition to the individual accountability also non-State armed groups can effectively be held organizationally responsible for serious breaches of humanitarian or human rights law.

Blanket amnesties for serious breaches of humanitarian or human rights law are unacceptable as this practice further endorses a culture of impunity, leading to the recurrence of new violations.

Memorialization must aim at building a democratic, pluralistic, inclusive and peaceful society where non-State armed groups could engage in dialogue with the State and civil society organizations.

We believe that online and archived forums for such interventions, systematically tracked, can help to create a meaningful soul-searching platform as well as effectively encounter disinformation. In addition, all transitional (justice) processes should be victims-centered and gender-transformative.

Mr. Rapporteur,

We would welcome your advice to governments on how to better ensure victims´ rights in the transitional justice processes, including through their positive engagement, and how to better mediate memorialization dialogue between victims and non-State armed groups?

Thank you!”

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