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Recent statements by leaders and governments in the United States, Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Jordan indicate an interest in creating so-called safe zones in Syria. While no detailed plans for creating and managing such…
An internally displaced Syrian woman walks in the Bab Al-Salam refugee camp, near the Syrian-Turkish border, northern Aleppo province, Syria, December 26, 2016.
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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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Why is Human Rights Watch calling for an arms embargo on Saudi Arabia? Human Rights Watch’s call for suspending all weapons sales to Saudi Arabia comes after a year of documenting numerous unlawful airstrikes by the Saudi-led…
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The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, on October 13, 2015 requested authorization from the court’s judges to open an investigation into crimes committed during the August 2008 conflict in Georgia…
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Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and other technologies will soon make possible the development of fully autonomous weapons, which would revolutionize the way wars are fought. These weapons, unlike the current generation of armed drones, would be…
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Questions and Answers

Introduction On December 4, Russians will go to the polls to elect a new Duma, the lower house of parliament, and in March 2012 they will elect a new president. President Dmitri Medvedev’s announcement in September 2011 that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin…
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The Trial of Umar Israilov’s Killers and its Relevance for Today’s Chechnya

Q.  Who is Umar Israilov? A. Umar Israilov was involved in the Chechen insurgency in the early 2000s. The indictment in the case of his suspected killers says that he was seized in Chechnya in 2003, held in secret detention at the home base of Ramzan…
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What is this report about? The UN mapping report has been prepared by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and describes the most serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in the Democratic…
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Questions and Answers About the Murder of Natalia Estemirova

Q. Why was Natalia Estemirova murdered? A. We believe that Estemirova's killing was a brazen attempt to silence those telling the truth about human rights violations in Chechnya. She was the link between victims and the rest of the world. She connected…
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  1. When does the law on occupation apply to the Russian presence in Georgia?  2. Does applying occupation law to Russia affect the status of the territory that Russia occupies?  3. Is Russia an occupying force in buffer zones and in places where it…
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  1. What's going on in South Ossetia?  2. What's the background to the latest round of fighting?  3. Is this an internal or international armed conflict? What law governs it?  4. What is a lawful target under international humanitarian law?  5. What…
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At the 43rd Munich Conference on Security Policy, Russian President Vladimir Putin responded to a question posed by Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch:    Kenneth Roth: You talked about the danger of a unipolar world in which one…
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Questions and Answers

  What are "diplomatic assurances" against torture? Why is the use of diplomatic assurances growing? Why do governments seek these assurances? Do diplomatic assurances work? Have people who were sent back with diplomatic assurances actually been…
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1. Where do the proceedings in the Milosevic trial stand?   Former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic was indicted under three separate indictments for crimes committed in Kosovo, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The trial started on…