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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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Top Rights Body Should Monitor Saudi Abuses

(Geneva) – The United Nations expert’s call for justice for the murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi should lead to the creation of a comprehensive system to monitor Saudi rights abuses, Human Rights Watch said. …
Candles lit by activists protesting the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi are placed outside Saudi Arabia's Consulate in Istanbul. © 2018 Lefteris Pitarakis/AP Photo
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As the G20 Summit approaches and world leaders get ready to meet in Buenos Aires on Friday, a cloud of suspicion looms over Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. His visit to Argentina was supposed to help him rebuild his shattered…
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It has been a bad couple of months for the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. His government’s murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in its Istanbul consulate — which the CIA concluded the prince ordered — has heightened attention to…
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War Crimes, Torture Allegations Under Scrutiny

  (Buenos Aires) – The Argentine judiciary on November 28, 2018, took steps toward a formal investigation of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s possible responsibility for war crimes in Yemen and alleged torture of…
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Human Rights Watch Files with Argentine Federal Prosecutor

  (Buenos Aires) – Argentine judicial authorities have begun examining a submission concerning the role of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in connection with alleged war crimes by the Saudi-led coalition in…
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Summary “[The Saudi justice system] is like a web and once you are caught in it, it is difficult to get out.” —Ghulam, former Pakistani detainee in Saudi Arabia Saudi officials vigorously defend the country’s criminal…
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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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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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So far, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has avoided arrest for alleged international crimes – including genocide – committed in Darfur. But his world has certainly gotten smaller. On Monday, al-Bashir planned to visit Indonesia to attend the 60th…
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Criminal Defamation Charges for Web Article Alleging Extortion

(Beirut) – The head of the Saudi judiciary, Salih bin Humaid, should stop all criminal proceedings against Fahd al-Juhani, a Saudi journalist charged with defaming a local official, Human Rights Watch said today. Al-Juhani had written about what he…
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Three Groups File Lawsuit Seeking Information about ‘Ghost’ Detention

(New York) – In the most comprehensive accounting to date, six leading human rights organizations today published the names and details of 39 people who are believed to have been held in secret US custody and whose current whereabouts remain unknown. The…
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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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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…