Victim Participation in Criminal Law Proceedings: New report and expert conference in South Africa
REDRESS is pleased to announce the release of a detailed study of domestic practice of victim participation in criminal law proceedings which was published in partnership with the Institute for Security Studies (ISS). A French version will be made available shortly.
This report analyses victims’ rights to engage in criminal proceedings and in particular the extent to which a range of domestic jurisdictions provide victims with rights to play an active role. Such rights may include the right to launch proceedings, to challenge decisions not to prosecute, and to make statements in court.
The aim of this report is to support the efforts of states to develop and apply a framework for victim participation when investigating and prosecuting international crimes. It is hoped that this report will provide a useful reference for actors in domestic systems engaged in wider discussions on victims’ rights.
The report was launched during an expert conference organised by ISS and REDRESS in Pretoria on 8-9 September 2015 which brought together practitioners, lawyers, prosecutors and civil society actors from a number of African countries to discuss how to strengthen victims’ participation in domestic criminal proceedings for international crimes.
Comments on CEDAW Draft Recommendation on Women's Access to Justice
REDRESS and the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA) have published a commentary on the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Draft Recommendation on Women's Access to Justice, which is now available to read here. The comments contain suggestions for how the draft may be strengthened in order to ensure that the Recommendation promotes full access to justice for women.
Advocacy workshop in Uganda
From 24-27 August 2015, REDRESS, together with its partner, the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP), held a workshop on strategic advocacy and litigation at regional and international levels. The workshop brought together human rights defenders from the East and Horn of Africa, and sought to strengthen their capacity to better pursue legal challenges and advocate on behalf of human rights defenders at risk of or having suffered serious violations of human rights.
Victim of mistaken identity during “War on Terror” in Kenya testifies for the first time about her kidnapping and torture
On 14 September, the High Court of Kenya heard for the first time the case of Kamilya Mohammedi Tuweni, a businesswoman and mother of three from the United Arab Emirates who, after being mistaken to be an Al-Qaeda operative, was kidnapped and then rendered to Somalia and Ethiopia by Kenyan counter-terrorism forces in 2007. She gave evidence by video link from London.
The case shines light on the acts committed during the so-called ‘War on Terror’ by Kenya’s Anti-Terrorism Police Unit and other security forces who violated basic human rights in conjunction with the CIA during a large operation between December 2006 and February 2007. It resulted in the rendition of nearly a hundred people in Kenya to Somalia on the suspicion that they were involved in terrorist activities.
Mrs Tuweni filed a complaint on 11 June 2009 before the High Court of Kenya against the Commissioner of Police and the Attorney General in their official capacities but her case has taken a long time to get to court, partly due to administrative difficulties within the court system.
REDRESS regrets decision of court in Poland that will impede the investigation of case of victim of CIA rendition
On 28 September, a district court in Szczytno, Poland, rejected an appeal by REDRESS, through attorney Dr. Bogumil Zygmont, which had sought to overturn a decision by the Appellate Prosecutor’s Office in Kraków not to investigate the case of a victim of CIA rendition in Poland.
Mustafa al-Hawsawi was captured in 2003 in Pakistan and immediately transferred into the custody of the USA. He was held in secret detention until September 2006, as part of the CIA's rendition, detention and interrogation programme. That same month, U.S. officials finally acknowledged Mr al-Hawsawi’s detention, following his final transfer to Guantánamo Bay.
Due to the secrecy surrounding the operation of the CIA's programme and the highly restrictive classification regime in place, it has been extremely difficult for Mr al-Hawsawi, who faces capital charges in a military trial, to present evidence related to his rendition, detention, torture and ill-treatment, including rendition in and out of Poland.
Sudan: REDRESS and partners pursue case on behalf of human rights lawyer
REDRESS and partners continue to pursue a complaint on behalf of Abdel Moneem Adam Mohammed against Sudan before the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR). Mr Mohammed is a Sudanese lawyer who was arbitrarily arrested in 2014 by Sudanese intelligence and security officers after providing legal assistance to human rights activists.
In a new submission to the ACHPR on 10 July, we argued that our complaint from 20 February 2015 should be considered admissible as our client cannot obtain an effective or sufficient remedy in Sudan. We asked the ACHPR to examine allegations that Sudan has violated several of Mr Mohammed's rights under the African Charter.