29 October 2014 - REDRESS, the International Federation for Human Rights, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights and TRIAL will launch today, 29 of October, a new report, "Driving Forward Justice: Victims of Serious International Crimes in the European Union", in the margins of the 17th EU Genocide Network meeting in The Hague.
The report underscores the need for EU States to strengthen their laws and practices when dealing with victims of serious international crimes. The report argues that encouraging and assisting victims to come forward and participate in criminal proceedings would improve the prospects for successfully investigating and prosecuting serious international crimes, as well as ultimately enhance victims' ability to access justice.
The report will be presented at a seminar on the rights of victims of serious international crimes, hosted by the four organisations in The Hague.
15 October 2014 - President Salva Kiir should veto a bill giving South Sudan’s National Security Service sweeping powers, REDRESS and other national and international human rights organizations said today.
The bill would allow the security service virtually unfettered authority to arrest and detain suspects, monitor communications, conduct searches, and seize property.
The bill passed its third reading in South Sudan’s National Legislative Assembly on October 8. The organisations don’t expect further changes will be made to the bill before its final reading, after which it will be sent to the President to be signed into law.
The organisations are calling on the President not to sign this bill into law and send it back to parliament for amendment.
"Experiences from other countries show that when you give security services policing powers, there is a high risk of torture and ill-treatment,” said our Counsel Lutz Oette.
REDRESS is among the proud recipients of the prestigious MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.
In 2011, REDRESS received a $500,000 grant from the American foundation for effectively addressing pressing national and international challenges and having had an impact that is disproportionate to its small size.
"These exceptional organizations effectively address pressing national and international challenges and they have had an impact that is disproportionate to their small size," said MacArthur President Robert Gallucci during the announcement. "The MacArthur Foundation is proud to recognize them. It is our hope that these Awards will help position them for long-term growth and even greater impact in the years ahead."
On Thursday 30 October the UK Court of Appeal ruled that Abdul-Hakim Belhaj and his wife, Fatima Boucher, have the right to sue the UK officials allegedly involved in their abduction and illegal transfer to Libya. They allege that they were tortured during their transport and while detained in Libya.
Mr Belhaj was an opposition commander during the Libyan armed conflict of 2011 and is now leader of the Libyan Al-Watan Party. He alleges that in 2004 UK officials conspired with the CIA and Libyan intelligence to abduct him and his wife and transfer them to Gaddafi’s Libya, where he says that he was imprisoned and repeatedly tortured.
The case was first brought by Mr Belhaj against UK officials in 2011. The UK Government had argued that state immunity and the “act of state” doctrine precluded British courts from hearing the case. But the Court of Appeal disagrees, finding that state immunity does not prevent claims being brought against UK officials in UK courts, simply because their actions are said to be connected to the acts of foreign states. Nor can the “act of state” doctrine bar the claim, because of the seriousness of the human rights violations allegedly suffered by Mr Belhaj.
Amnesty International, ICJ, JUSTICE and REDRESS intervened jointly in this case.
Photo courtesy of Reprieve
REDRESS, together with a team of Sudanese organisations and lawyers, recently filed a submission to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights on the admissibility of a petition brought by Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese woman sentenced to death for apostasy – the abandonment of a religion - and 100 lashes for adultery in Sudan in May.
The petition concerns the violations of her human rights as a result of the apostasy charge against her, the court process which followed and her treatment in prison, including being forced to give birth while her legs were shackled.
Ms Ibrahim won an appeal before a domestic court in Sudan in June and now lives in the USA. Our submission, filed on 3 October, comes after the Commission informed REDRESS that it had decided to proceed with the case. The petition underscored the challenges that Ms Ibrahim and her family have faced to seek justice for the suffering they endured. As a results of threats, they were forced to flee the country after her ordeal and are now based in the USA.
Photo courtesy of Hardwiredglobal.org