Episode 81 – Ljubljana Legal Lobbying with Vaios Koutroulis and Raquel Saveedra

Clockwise from the top: Vaios Koutroulis, Janet Anderson, Stephanie van den Burg and Raquel Saavedra.

There is a new treaty in town! The new Ljubljana-The Hague Convention, or MLA Treaty, aims to bring swifter justice to those alleged of the most serious international crimes. This week we look at how the new convention came about and what it aims to do.

With a focus on international cooperation and accountability, the new MLA treaty aims to fill a gap in international law by obliging states to assist each other in cases involving genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The first major international treaty on international criminal law since the ICC’s 1998 Rome Statue, it has a particular focus on victims’ rights and allows for extradition and mutual legal assistance in the collection of evidence and the interviewing of witnesses.

Ten years in the making, it is expected to be ratified in The Hague in early 2024. Initiated by a core group of states including the Netherlands, Belgium, Slovenia, Argentina, Senegal and Mongolia, it was adopted by over 70 countries in Ljiblijana in May this year.

We sat down to chat with two people involved in the shaping of this newly adopted convention, Raquel Saavedra from the International Commission of Jurists and Vaios Koutroulis from Université Libre de Bruxelles

Both our guests this week gave us recommendations related to their work in international law, citing some of the most thought-provoking legal cases they have studied. Vaios Koutroulis referred to the International Court of Justice cases regarding the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the Separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius as examples of challenging cases. Not due to their rulings, but by their lack of implementation by states. Raquel Saavedra highlighted the case of Velásquez-Rodríguez v. Honduras at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights as a good example of how a single case can make substantial and real world differences to people affected by human rights violations.


This podcast has been produced as part of a partnership with JusticeInfo.net, an independent website in French and English covering justice initiatives in countries dealing with serious violence. It is a media outlet of Fondation Hirondelle, based in Lausanne, Switzerland.