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On 12th March 2020, the Inter American Court of Human Rights gave its judgment in which it found Peru responsible for torture and sexual violence against an LGBTI person by Peruvian police officers in 2008. It is the first time in its history that the Court, the ultimate authority on human rights in the Americas, has considered a case of discriminatory torture. REDRESS has prepared this Briefing Note in order to provide a summary of the case decision.
An earlier version of this Briefing Note was prepared prior to the availability of the full judgment in English, and this amended version was produced in July 2020 to reflect more precisely the contents of the English judgment.
In the light of reports of a possible outbreak of coronavirus in Tihar Prison, and fears that Jagtar Singh Johal may contract the virus, this briefing outlines India’s legal obligations to provide Jagtar with appropriate and timely medical treatment. Under international law, India is required to provide medical treatment to Jagtar by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which India is a party, and by the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.
Universal Jurisdiction Annual Review 2020: Terrorism and International Crimes: Prosecuting atrocities for what they are (UJAR) salutes the rise of universal jurisdiction cases worldwide. It also highlights an alarming legal trend: the prosecution of mass atrocities as terrorism, and not international crimes. The Universal Jurisdiction Annual Review is TRIAL International’s main legal publication. It has been researched and written by Valérie Paulet, in collaboration with REDRESS, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH). It benefited from the generous support of the City of Geneva, the Oak Foundation and the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy.
In this Briefing Note REDRESS highlights that the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill risks creating impunity for serious offences including torture, and thus will result in the UK being in breach of its international treaty obligations. Victims of human rights violations committed by UK armed forces abroad may also lose their ability to obtain justice.
Victims, activists and policymakers from different countries gathered in The Hague on 17 October 2019 to participate in the international conference Victims: Front and Centre, co-organised by Impunity Watch and Redress. Discussions focused on how to engage victims and ensure their meaningful and effective participation in transitional justice processes, particularly in the context of Guatemala and Uganda. The victims of the armed conflicts described how they had turned their pain into activism. The event also highlighted the importance of victim agency and empowerment through victims networks and other forms of support. Other experts brought perspectives from different contexts including Syria and Bosnia, reinforcing the importance of victim participation in shaping and strengthening transitional justice processes.
This report examines the success of litigation in pursuing justice for child victims of sexual abuse by peacekeepers looking at cases in which victims and their representatives have turned to the courts to seek accountability and redress. Done jointly by human rights organisations Redress and the Child Rights International Network, the report concludes that child sexual abuse usually goes unpunished and few victims secure reparations. Drawing on 30 interviews with lawyers and experts around the world, the report identifies key obstacles that prevent the perpetrators of peacekeeper child sexual abuse from being held to account, and that prevent victims from obtaining redress. These include: the quality of investigations; immunities and the exclusive jurisdiction of troop-contributing countries; a lack of transparency in prosecution processes, particularly in military court martial processes; and the absence of a victim-centred approach. The report recommends a series of reforms to policies, practices and legislation in troop-contributing countries and the UN. It also identifies opportunities for future strategic human rights litigation.
On 20 January 2020, REDRESS and 12 other NGOs including FIDH, ECCHR, the International Commission for Jurists and Amnesty International sent a joint Letter to the Core Group and Co-Sponsoring States of the initiative for the creation of a new multilateral treaty on International Cooperation in the Investigation and Prosecution of the Crime of Genocide, Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes (Mutual Legal Assistance Initiative). The letter was sent in advance of the Informal Consultations that will be held in The Hague, next week, between 27-29 January 2020. The main issues we address relate to (1) the scope of the draft treaty - the crimes of torture and enforced disappearance which should be included in the main draft treaty as stand-alone crimes and not just as crimes against humanity or war crimes; (2) an enhanced role for victims and their rights; and (3) clarifying issues relating to asset recovery and disposal.
This Report Summary summarizes the key findings of a joint report by the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) and REDRESS, A Way Forward? Anti-torture reforms in Sudan in the Post-Bashir era. At a critical juncture in Sudan's history, the report identifies priorities for change and key reforms to end the systematic practice of torture in Sudan, punish the perpetrators and provide reparations for the victims.