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Major Advance for Victims of Abuses During Yahya Jammeh Rule

(Berlin) – The arrest in Germany on March 16, 2021, of an alleged former Gambian “death squad” member suspected of crimes against humanity is an important step for Gambian victims and international justice, Human Rights Watch said today. “Bai…
Members of the Gambian paramilitary group known as the Junglers. The Junglers have been implicated in serious human rights violations including torture, enforced disappearances, and killings.
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The Netherlands announced on Sept. 18 that it had notified Syria of its intention to hold that government accountable for torture under the United Nations Convention against Torture. The Syrian government responded by saying the Netherlands…
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Universal Jurisdiction Provides Opening for Justice

  (Berlin) – The start of a landmark trial in Germany of two people alleged to be former Syrian intelligence officials on crimes against humanity charges is an important chance for victims to see justice done, Human Rights Watch said today.…
Illustration © 2017 Brian Stauffer for Human Rights Watch
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Member Countries Should Bolster the Court

(The Hague) – The annual meeting of International Criminal Court (ICC) member countries is a pivotal moment to strengthen the court’s delivery of justice, Human Rights Watch said today. The 18th session of the ICC’s Assembly of…
ASp 2019
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Court Faces Internal, External Challenges on 21st Anniversary

(New York) – Member countries of the International Criminal Court (ICC) should renew their commitment on International Justice Day, July 17, 2019, to defend and strengthen this important justice institution, Human Right Watch said today. On July 17…
ICC permanent premises
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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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Appoint Strong Experts, Press All Parties to Cooperate

Bombing and shelling of civilians. Denial of access to food and medicine. Landmines and cluster bombs. Torture and abduction. Child soldiers. For more than two years, international, regional, and Yemeni human rights groups called on the…
Saudi-led coalition aircraft struck three apartment buildings in Sanaa on August 25, 2017, killing at least 16 civilians, including seven children, and wounding another 17, including eight children. After an international outcry, the coalition admitted to
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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…
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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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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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In 2004, four Iraqis filed a criminal complaint with the German federal prosecutor against senior United States officials alleging torture by US armed forces in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The US government strongly protested and warned that the complaint…
CIA torture pic 3
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Justice for Victims of Grave FDLR Crimes

(Stuttgart) – A German court’s conviction of two Rwandan rebel leaders for crimes in the Democratic Republic of Congo brings an important measure of justice to victims of mass crimes there, Human Rights Watch said today.  On September 28, 2015, a…
An FDLR fighter standing guard in a remote forest region of eastern Congo in February 2009.
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With many hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the violence in Syria, the focus—as it should be—has been on finding them safety, shelter and aid. But some governments are also looking to hold those responsible for the underlying mass murder and torture…
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In the 1980s and early 1990s, a large number of Afghans fled to the Netherlands to escape the dire situation in their own country. But they weren't the only ones who left. Senior government officials, including agents of the secret service - the dreaded…
Report
The Long Arm of Justice Lessons from Specialized War Crimes Units in France, Germany, and the Netherlands Summary Lessons Learned The Value of Specialized War Crimes Units…
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More Governments Should Set up Specialized War Crimes Units

(The Hague) - Governments wanting to limit impunity for the most serious international crimes should look to the examples of three European countries showing leadership in this area. Specialized war crimes units composed of police, prosecutors, and…
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US military commissions revoke for al-Qaida suspects the standard of justice extended to Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg In the course of three days in late August, I travelled from Courtroom 600 in Nuremberg, Germany, where an international…