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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.
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Grim Decade for Human Rights

(Beirut) – Justice remains elusive and impunity rampant a decade after the United Nations Security Council referred the situation in Libya to the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor, Human Rights Watch said today. Since 2011, multiple…
ICC permanent premises
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Hundreds in Tarhouna Reported Missing From 2014 to 2020

(Beirut) – Hundreds of residents of the Libyan town Tarhouna were abducted or reported missing between 2014 and 2020, Human Rights Watch said today. Authorities of the country’s Government of National Accord (GNA) say that they have discovered 27 mass…
Residents of the Libyan town Tarhouna who were abducted or reported missing between 2014 and 2020.
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Justice Needed for 3 Children’s Deaths

(Beirut) – An airstrike by the Libyan National Army (LNA), on a home in a residential area of Tripoli on October 14, 2019 that killed three girls and wounded their mother and another sister, is an apparent…
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The scars ran deep. His back was a maze of thick welts, thinner scars and parts that resembled small craters. His wrists and ankles were raw from where he’d been shackled and suspended from a ceiling for hours, and his limbs appeared…
Armed forces allied to internationally recognized government fight with armed group in Tripoli, Libya September 22, 2018. © 2018 Hani Amara/Reuters
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Hiftar’s Forces, Rival Militias Have History of Abuses

(Tunis) – All forces taking part in fighting around Libya’s capital, Tripoli, should take all necessary action to minimize civilian harm and abide by the laws of war, Human Rights Watch said today. Armed groups loyal to both sides have…
Armed forces allied to internationally recognized government fight with armed group in Tripoli, Libya September 22, 2018. © 2018 Hani Amara/Reuters
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Despite Pact, Deliberate Damage, Security Concerns Prevent Return to Tawergha

(Beirut) – Most of the 48,000 former residents of the Libyan town of Tawergha, forcibly displaced for seven years, have not been able to return home, Human Rights Watch said today after visiting the town. Despite reconciliation agreements that…
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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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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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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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International Criminal Court Issues Warrant for LNA Commander

(Beirut) – Forces loyal to the Libyan National Army (LNA) in eastern Libya appear to have executed captured fighters in Benghazi and desecrated corpses, Human Rights Watch said today. Video recordings posted online since January 2017 seem to show LNA…
The above image is a screenshot from a video posted on July 24, 2017 showing the apparent summary execution by LNA fighters of 20 prisoners, whom the commander, believed to be ICC suspect Mahmoud Al-Werfalli (wearing cap),  accuses of “terrorism.”
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General Khalifa Hiftar Commander of the Libyan National Army Al-Marj, Libya Delivery by e-mail Dear General Hiftar: Human Rights Watch has been tracking violations against civilians in Benghazi since the 2011 uprising. Our researchers were…
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Brigade Holding Ex-Leader’s Son Alleges He’s Free

(Beirut) – The authorities vying for legitimacy as Libya’s government should take all feasible steps to facilitate the surrender Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, a son of Muammar Gaddafi, to the International Criminal Court (ICC), Human…
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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.
Report
Summary The final stage of the [2011] revolution was in Sirte. We were filled with hope. Then step by step, Daesh took over. Now we feel we are cursed. -“Ali,” resident who fled ISIS in Sirte In…
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Widespread Arbitrary Detention May Constitute Crimes Against Humanity

(Berlin) – Thousands of people have been detained without charge in Libya for more than a year, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The widespread and systematic nature of these long-term arbitrary detentions may…
Al-Jawiyyah prison
Report
Summary Consecutive interim governments and authorities in Libya have failed to investigate, prosecute, charge and end the arbitrary detention of thousands of people held in relation to the 2011 uprising against former Libyan leader…