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Universal Jurisdiction Provides Opening for Justice for Long-Ignored Crimes

(Stockholm) – The opening of a landmark trial in Sweden on August 10, 2021 of an Iranian citizen accused of participating in the mass execution of political prisoners is an important moment for victims long denied recognition and justice. On July…
A human rights exhibition on Iran during the international campaign to demand justice for the victims of the 1988 massacre, held near the French National Assembly in Paris, November 14, 2017.
Report
Summary These cases are important. We need to know that these trials are happening because these are the crimes we are fleeing. —Hassan, Syrian refugee in Germany, February 2017 Over the last six years the Syrian crisis has claimed the lives of an…
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Efforts to bring those responsible for atrocities in Syria before European courts are starting to bear fruit, notably in Swedish and German courts, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. While various authorities in Europe have opened…
News

Small Case in Sweden a Worthy Start

The photograph is disturbing. A young man in military fatigues is standing on dead bodies looking victorious. The posture of the Syrian soldier, with a grin suggesting pride and his military boot on a victim’s chest, suggests domination…
Stockholm District Court, where most of Sweden’s war crimes cases are adjudicated.
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Seeking justice for the ongoing grave human rights abuses in Syria has proven largely elusive. Now the shield of impunity is beginning to crack. Several countries, including Sweden, Germany, and France are in the process of investigating some…
Syrian Man Carries Children After Barrel Bomb Attack
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Refugee Crisis and Universal Jurisdiction Cases in Europe

What’s the basis for European courts to try atrocities committed in Syria and Iraq? What is universal jurisdiction? Does universal jurisdiction mean that every country can investigate any grave international crime committed in Syria and Iraq? What…
Syrian Man Carries Children After Barrel Bomb Attack
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Video, Q&A Highlight Cases Spurred by Syrian, Iraqi Refugees

(Brussels) – Human Rights Watch released a question-and-answer document and video on October 20, 2016 that highlight the groundbreaking investigations and prosecutions in European countries of people accused of kidnappings, ill-treatment, and torture in…
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Governments around the world have gathered in Brussels to show political and financial support for the Afghan government’s efforts at democratic reforms and to promote economic development. The meeting couldn’t have come a more crucial time. European…
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Refugees Assist Investigations in France, Germany and Sweden

As Bashar al-Assad’s forces ramped up their bombing campaign on rebel-held territory over the past year, his government may not have realized that they were cracking its shield against accountability for crimes committed in the Syrian conflict since 2011…
Shelters burning in Iqdah displaced persons camp near the closed Turkish border north of Aleppo after ISIS took over the camp on April 14.
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First Indictment for Atrocities During Liberia’s 1989-96 War

(Brussels) – The Belgian authorities’ arrest of a Liberian for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity during Liberia’s first civil war is a major advance for justice. It is the first arrest for crimes that violate international law committed…
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Senegal Should Bring Chad’s Former Dictator to Justice ‘Without Further Delay’

(Brussels) –The ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on July 20, 2012, that Senegal must prosecute “without further delay” or extradite Chad’s former dictator Hissène Habré is a great victory for his victims, a coalition of human rights…
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On December 1, 1990, I walked out of prison and into the glaring sun of N'Djamena, Chad's capital. I was a free man but looked more like a skeleton after nearly three years in the jails of dictator Hissène Habré. I had seen hundreds of my fellow inmates…
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Senegal Refuses to Prosecute Chad’s ex-Dictator; Trial Should Move to Belgium

(The Hague) – The International Court of Justice (ICJ) should order Senegal to extradite the former Chadian dictator Hissène Habré to Belgium, Human Rights Watch and Chadian victims groups said today. Hearings on Belgium’s application for an…
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International Court of Justice Schedules Hearings in Case of Chad’s Ex-Dictator

(The Hague) – The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has set arguments to begin on March 12, 2012, in a case between Belgium and Senegal over the fate of the former Chadian dictator Hissène Habré. The case could result in a binding legal order…
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Torture Panel Tells Senegal to Prosecute or Extradite Habré

(Geneva) – The United Nations Committee against Torture (“the Committee”) has called on Senegal to comply with its obligation to prosecute or extradite Chad's exiled former dictator, Hissène Habré, Human Rights Watch said today. The Committee's action…
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We are writing this public letter to commend your government’s commitment to refuse signature of the Stabilization Association Agreement (SAA) with Serbia in the absence of its full cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former…
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The European Parliament should condemn European complicity in the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) program of “extraordinary renditions” and secret detention of prisoners, Human Rights Watch said today. The report of the European Parliament’s…
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In this paper, Human Rights Watch noted that Senegal had not even passed the legislation needed to try Habré. Human Rights Watch called on the African Union to name a special envoy to help Senegal prepare Habré’s trial.
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Diplomatic Assurances Against Torture Offer No Protection From Abuse

The United Nations’ ruling that Sweden violated the global torture ban in its involvement in the CIA transfer of an asylum seeker to Egypt is an important step toward establishing accountability for European governments complicit in illegal US renditions…