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Leaders Show Little Commitment to Truth and Reconciliation

Last week, an appeals panel of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) upheld the 2017 genocide conviction of Bosnian Serb wartime military commander Ratko Mladić. Chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz said of Mladić, “His name…
A woman among the graves of victims of the Srebrenica genocide, at the memorial cemetery in Potocari, near Srebrenica, Tuesday, June 8, 2021.
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Set Principled Framework for Aid, Protection, Justice

(Brussels) – The European Union-United Nations sponsored aid conference for Syria on March 29-30, 2021, should prioritize a rights-respecting aid framework that advances urgent protection, humanitarian, and accountability needs, Human Rights Watch…
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Limited Community Outreach Blunts Impact of Accountability Efforts

A German court in the town of Koblenz this week will render its first verdict in a historic trial of two former Syrian officials for atrocities during Syria’s decade-long brutal armed conflict. The two accused in the case are an alleged former…
Photos of Syrians who have been detained or disappeared set up by Families for Freedom, as part of a protest in front of the court in Koblenz, July 2, 2020. 
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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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Government Should Pursue Full Investigations, Fair Trials

The Australian government is taking an important step by helping eight Australian children of suspects of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) return home from northeast Syria. The children were held for months without charge under horrific…
Rusafa Central Criminal Court in Baghdad.
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Countries Should Account for Living and Dead in Syria, Other Wars

Today, the United Nations Security Council passed its first resolution on missing persons in armed conflicts, seizing a key opportunity to strengthen efforts toward uncovering the fates of those missing and giving closure to countless…
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Human Rights Council Panel commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Genocide Convention

As we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Genocide Convention, I wish to address the crucial role of the International Criminal Court in realizing its ideals. This year also marks the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the ICC’s…
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Investigative Team Briefs UN General Assembly

Update: The International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism concluded a cooperation agreement with the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria in March 2018. (New York) – UN member states should fully fund and cooperate with a…
Catherine Marchi-Uhel, head of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM), attends a news conference on Syria crimes at the United Nations in Geneva, September 5, 2017. © 2017 Reuters
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Establish Investigative Body on Chemical Weapons Attacks

*This news release has been updated to reflect two additional signatories, bringing the final number to 47. (New York) – United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres should urgently appoint a team of investigators to identify those…
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during the United Nations Security Council meeting on Syria at the U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S, April 13.
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Foreign ISIS Detainees Raise Due Process, Victim Participation Issues

(Beirut) – The capture of two British men suspected of involvement in the Islamic State’s (also known as ISIS) torture and execution of Western hostages highlights the need to provide trials for ISIS suspects that respect due process…
A member of the Syrian Democratic Forces removes an Islamic State flag in the town of Tabqa, west of Raqqa city, Syria, April 30, 2017. © 2017 Getty Images
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On February 6, the European Commission will present its new strategy for the enlargement of the EU. People in the Western Balkans may greet the news with scepticism. But if the EU institutions and states are really willing to end the EU…
Roma refugees from Kosovo drink water at the Vrela Ribnicka camp in Podgorica, Montenegro on October 13, 2012
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Slobodan Praljak convicted of crimes against humanity in Bosnia

Media outlets around the world seized on the dramatic suicide of convicted Bosnian Croat war criminal Slobodan Praljak, who drank poison in court and died on November 29. But focus should remain on the horrible crimes – the…
Slobodan Praljak apparaît à la télévision lors de la diffusion du procès en appel à La Haye (Pays-Bas) de six officiers croates de Bosnie accusés de crimes de guerre à l’encontre de musulmans lors du conflit de Bosnie en 1992-1995. Photo prise à Mostar (B
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Yugoslav Tribunal’s Final Trial Highlights Need for National Justice

(Brussels) – The conviction of Ratko Mladic, once known as the “Butcher of Bosnia,” for genocide and other crimes on November 22, 2017, shows that justice catches up with those responsible for horrific atrocities, Human Rights Watch…
Mejra Dzogaz cries near the graves of her family members at the Memorial Center in Potocari, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 6 km north-west of Srebrenica, on April 7, 2014. Dzogaz lost her three sons, husband and father in the Srebrenica massacre.
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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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Swedish and German Authorities Pursuing Cases for War Crimes in Syria

What kind of cases have been brought to trial so far? To date, seven cases for war crimes in Syria were brought to trial, three in Sweden and four in Germany. These few cases have mostly been against members of the Islamic State [ISIS], Jabhat…
Illustration © 2017 Brian Stauffer for Human Rights Watch
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Sweden, Germany Take Lead on Justice for Syrians

  (New York) – 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…
Illustration © 2017 Brian Stauffer for Human Rights Watch