The PPT takes into consideration requests made by community representatives, minorities, peoples, civil society who have been and/or are subject to serious systematic violations of their human and peoples’ rights, by governments, institutional and private actors, and who are unable to find a response in national, regional or international court proceedings.

The PPT has competence on State crimes, crimes against peace and humanity, crimes of genocide, and gross and systematic violations of the rights and freedoms of individuals, peoples and minorities. In the scenario brought about by neoliberal economics and financial markets, the Tribunal has in recent years opened a specific line of investigation into economic and corporate crimes, environmental crimes and systemic crimes.

The Tribunal’s main function is subsidiary, as it acts in the absence of an international jurisdiction to adjudicate on peoples’ justice cases. In its judgments, the Tribunal does not merely apply existing norms, but highlights gaps or limitations in the human rights international system to indicate lines of development.