“The dictates of public conscience can become a recognized source of law
and a tribunal emanating directly from the conscience of the people reflects an idea that is bound to grow. It is claimed that institutions derive their power from the people, but actually these two have moved further and further apart and only a major public initiative can try to build a bridge between the people and power” (Lelio Basso)
The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT) was established in Bologna in 1979 as a direct continuation of the Russell Tribunals on Vietnam (1966-67) and Latin America (1973-76). Lelio Basso, who had been a member and speaker, proposed that these celebrated tribunals be transformed into a permanent institution that could become an instrument and platform to give recognition, visibility and a voice to the peoples suffering violations of their fundamental rights, victims who, according to the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Peoples, proclaimed in Algiers in 1976, were marginalized in international law, which had increasingly become the guarantor of the interests of the public and private holders of political and economic powers.
The PPT is built around an international network of experts, social actors and scholars from several countries of Europe, South America, Asia and Africa, recognized for their independence and competence. The characteristic of “permanency” and the selection criteria used in the appointment of its judges, renowned for their independence and expertise, have made this opinion tribunal a laboratory of denunciation and interdisciplinary research. In its 47 sessions and judgments, the Tribunal has accompanied the transformations and struggles of the post-colonial period, the development of economic neo-colonialism, globalization, the resurgence of war and the International Criminal Court’s declaration of non-competence for economic crimes.
Its long experience of research, analysis, and development of innovative criteria for the interpretation and promotion of the law have made the PPT one of the most active opinion tribunals for the expression of initiatives and movements that push for effective laws that can meet the growing challenges of globalization and economic impunity.
The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal is based in Rome, at the Fondazione Lelio e Lisli Basso, Via della Dogana Vecchia 5.