The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT) is a body which, by statute, is part of the International Section of Lelio Basso Foundation. Set up in June 1979, it is the direct continuation of the opinion tribunals Russell I and II.
The PPT is an opinion tribunal whose activities include identifying and publicising cases of systematic violation of fundamental rights, especially cases in which national and international legislation fails to defend the right of the people (Gianni Tognoni’s article).
An opinion tribunal is an innovation in the field of law and politics, the legitimacy of which Lelio Basso discussed at length reaching the conclusion that: “The needs of public conscience can become a recognized source of law [...] and a tribunal that emanates directly from the popular consciousness reflects an idea that will make headway: institutionalized powers and the people, from whom the former claim legitimacy in actual fact tend to diverge and only a truly popular initiative can try to bridge the gap between people and power”.
In its three decades of activity the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal has followed, anticipated and supported the struggles of peoples against violations of their fundamental rights, such as the denial of the principle of self-determination, foreign invasions, environmental destruction and all cases of new forms of economic dictatorship and slavery.
PPT action is based on the principles expressed in the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Peoples (LINK). After analysing the reality and complex historical, political and economic causes that lead to violations of the right of peoples, it issues “rulings”, of a legal nature, against those responsible for violations of these rights. The PPT is permanent and the jury members, chosen for their moral, scientific, and literary qualities, reflect its ideological pluralism; some of the members are Nobel laureates.
Since its inception, the TPP has organized 36 sessions, all dealing with internal and external violations of peoples’ self-determination. Of the issues dealt with in recent years, the problems of the roots of legality, illegality, and international law have been addressed in the following sessions: “Impunity in Latin America” (1991), “Conquest and international law” (1992), “The policies of the IMF and World Bank” (1989 and 1994), “International law and new wars” (2002). Another important area of analysis is economic crimes, seen as structural categories of human rights violations. This was the focus of the sessions on “industrial disasters”, such as Bhopal (1992) and Chernobyl (1996), and those on “Transnational corporations and peoples’ rights in Colombia” (2006-2008) and “The European Union and transnational companies in Latin America” (2006-2010).
All rulings are sent to major international bodies and many have been discussed by the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva.
List of rulings:
|36||Sri Lanka and the Tamil people (14-16 January 2010)|
|35||Philippines, Second Session (The Hague, 21-25 March 2007)|
|34.3||The EU and transnational companies in Latin America: policies, instruments and actors complicit in the violations of peoples’ rights (Madrid, 14-17 May 2010)|
|34.2||Neoliberal Policies and European Transnational Corporations in Latin America and the Caribbean (Lima, 13-16 May 2008)|
|34.1||Neoliberal Policies and European Transnational Corporations in Latin America and the Caribbean (Vienna, 10-12 May 2006)|
|33.7||Transnational corporations and peoples’ rights in Colombia (2006-2008), final hearing (Bogota, 21-23 July 2008)|
|33.6||Transnational corporations and peoples’ rights in Colombia (2006-2008), hearing on the slaughter of indigenous people (Atánquez, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, 18-19 July 2008)|
|33.5||Transnational corporations and peoples’ rights in Colombia (2006-2008), hearing on public services (Bogota, 8-10 March 2008)|
|33.4||Transnational corporations and peoples’ rights in Colombia (2006-2008), hearing on oil companies (Bogota, 3-4 August 2007)|
|33.3||Transnational corporations and peoples’ rights in Colombia (2006-2008), hearing on the destruction of biodiversity (Bajo Atrato, Chocó, 25-26 February 2007)|
|33.2||Transnational corporations and peoples’ rights in Colombia (2006-2008), hearing on mining sector enterprises (Medellín, 10-11 November 2007)|
|33.1||Transnational corporations and peoples’ rights in Colombia (2006-2008), hearing on food industry enterprises (Bogota, 1-2 April 2006)|
|32||Violations of human rights in Algeria, 1992-2004 (Paris, 5-8 November 2004)|
|31||International law and new wars (Rome, 14-16 December 2002)|
|30||Multinationals and human “wrongs” (Warwick, 22-23 March 2000)|
|29||Elf Aquitaine (Paris, 19-21 May 1999)|
|28||The violation of fundamental rights of children and adolescents in Brazil (Sao Paulo, 17-19 March 1999)|
|27||The rights of workers and consumers in the clothes industry (Brussels, 30 April-5 May 1998)|
|26||Chernobyl, consequences for the environment, health, human rights (Vienna, 12-15 April 1996)|
|25||Crimes against humanity in former Yugoslavia II (Barcelona, 7-11 December 1995)|
|24||Violations of fundamental rights of children and minors (Trento-Macerata-Naples, 27 March-4 April 1995)|
|23||Crimes against humanity in former Yugoslavia I (Bern, 17-20 February 1995)|
|22||Asylum in Europe (Berlin, 8-12 December 1994)|
|21||Industrial hazards and human rights – Bhopal II (London, 28 November-2 December 1994)|
|20||Industrial hazards and human rights – Bhopal I (Bhopal, 19-23 October 1992)|
|19||The policies of the Internationa Monetary Fund and World Bank (Madrid, 1-3 October 1994)|
|18||Tibet (Strasbourg, 16-20 November 1992)|
|17||International conquest and international law (Padova / Venice, 5-8 October 1991)|
|16||The impunity of crimes against humanity in Latin America (Bogota, 22-25 April 1991)|
|15||Brazilian Amazon (Paris, 12-16 October 1990)|
|14||Puerto Rico (Barcelona, 27-29 January 1989)|
|13||The policies of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank (West Berlin, 26-29 September 1988)|
|12||Nicaragua (Brussels, 5-8 October 1984)|
|11||Armenians (Paris, 13-16 April 1984)|
|10||Guatemala (Madrid, 27-31 January 1983)|
|9||Afghanistan II (Paris, 16-20 December 1982)|
|8||Zaire (Rotterdam, 18-20 September 1982)|
|7||East Timor (Lisbon, 19-21 June 1981)|
|6||Afghanistan I (Stockholm, 1-3 May 1981)|
|5||El Salvador (Mexico City, 9-12 February 1981)|
|4||Philippines and the Bangsa Moro people (Antwerp, 30 October-3 November 1980)|
|3||Eritrea (Milan, 24-26 May 1980)|
|2||Argentina (Geneva, 3-4 May 1980)|
|1||Western Sahara (Brussels, 10-11 November 1979)|
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