PEJ’s three-step model consists of training, mentoring, and providing independent legal consulting. It is adaptable and can be applied in conflict and post-conflict situations and to a range of criminal matters and serious human rights abuses. We partner and train local lawyers and investigators to collect, analyze, and preserve evidence according to international legal standards. Without evidence, there can be no accountability. We further build local capabilities and launch the justice process forward through case-specific mentoring and strategic guidance provided to local legal practitioners and investigators. Finally, we partner with local NGOs, pro bono law firms, legal clinics, and investigators to represent victims of international crimes and serious human rights abuses in court or in alternative judicial mechanisms. Our innovative model includes the following key aspects:
1. Linking the crimes to those responsible
A critical difference between collecting evidence for litigation and documenting human rights abuses for advocacy is the need to prove to a higher standard the link between the crime and the person or entities responsible. PEJ trains and mentors local practitioners so that they can identify these links. Our trainings are conducted by world-class legal practitioners focusing on international law and procedure and internationally recognized standards for evidence collection. This training is intended to ensure that mass atrocities and other crimes are recorded and evidence is preserved so that it can be used in any forum, whether at the national, regional or international level.
2. Empowering local populations
During the investigation phase of its cases, PEJ works side by side with the local partners to tackle challenges that arise, refine strategies, and develop leads. This unique case-focused peer mentoring empowers local populations to seek justice, provides long-term stability, and ensures that international standards for evidence collection are met. PEJ works with partners to analyze evidence, develop legal theories, and research applicable laws.
3. Dismantling criminal networks
PEJ looks broadly and creatively at the web of persons and businesses who may be responsible for international crimes and human rights abuses. We strive to push justice to the forefront and dismantle the alliances, financial networks, and others that support criminal activity. Our lawyers research potential venues for accountability. By doing so, we ensure that the best possible case is presented in the best forum given the circumstances of each case. Where it is not possible to proceed with a case at the national level, we will explore international mechanisms or other alternative forums of justice.