Redress - Ending Torture, Seeking Justice for Survivors
Reparation News
August 2016
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Dear friends and colleagues,

Welcome to our latest edition of Reparation News. In this edition, we provide updates on cases in Panama and the UK and on other activities, including our call on the UN Human Rights Council to adopt a strong resolution on Sudan at its 33rd session. 

We are also pleased to announce that REDRESS will be marking the opening of our new stichting in The Hague on 29 September with a conference on "Justice for victims and accountability for torturers" that will bring together lawyers and other experts with vast knowledge of regional, hybrid and domestic efforts and mechanisms.

Read all about our latest work by scrolling down. For the latest updates, please follow @REDRESSTrust on Twitter or join us on Facebook

Thank you all for your continued interest and support of our work!

Carla Ferstman

Director


 

REDRESS celebrates opening of new office in The Hague

REDRESS marks opening a new office in The Hague with conference

To mark the opening of our new office in The Hague, the Netherlands, REDRESS will hold a conference onJustice for victims and accountability for torturers: past, present and future strategies, from 2 to 6pm on 29 September 2016, at The Carlton Ambassador Hotel in The Hague. The aim of the conference is to reflect on a range of approaches taken to afford justice to victims and to hold those responsible for torture to account. It draws on experiences in several countries, and brings together lawyers and other experts with direct knowledge of regional, hybrid and domestic efforts and mechanisms. Paul Lomas, Chair of the inaugural Board of Directors of our Dutch charity, and a Senior Partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, will open the conference. The conference will be followed by a reception. 

Please RSVP by 21 September to info@redress.org.

Case updates

©UN photo/Stanton Winter

REDRESS seeks justice for British citizen ill-treated while in prison in Panama

REDRESS has filed a criminal complaint on behalf of Nick Tuffney, a British businessman who was held in appalling detention conditions in Panama for 16 months, which included at times being shackled to the prison bars in his cell for 24 hours. Despite never being tried or convicted of a crime, in 2014 Mr Tuffney was deported and banned from Panama for 10 years. He was forced to leave his young son behind, whom he has not seen since. The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has called on the Panamanian Government to start an investigation into the abuse and to provide reparations to Mr. Tuffney, but the Panamanian government has yet to respond. 

Read more about the case


 
REDRESS will submit observations on reparations in the Bemba case 

REDRESS has been granted permission to submit observations on reparations following the conviction of Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo at the ICC for crimes against humanity (murder and rape) and war crimes (murder, rape, and pillaging) committed in Central African Republic.

ICC Trial Chamber III sentenced Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo to 18 years' imprisonment for the crimes he committed. The Trial Chamber is now embarking on its reparations procedure, in accordance with Article 75 of the Rome Statute. REDRESS applied for leave to make observations on the trial chamber's reparations process, on 10 August 2016. On 26 August, our application for leave was accepted. Our submissions will focus on:

-  Whether, in light of i) the number of the potential beneficiaries; ii) the locations of the potential beneficiaries; iii) the current humanitarian context in which many potential beneficiaries find themselves in, the particular circumstances of this case warrant any adaption, modification or clarification of the principles on reparations adopted in the Lubanga case. REDRESS would also provide information and analysis on ways in which the Trial Chamber may monitor and assure the proper implementation of those principles, including by those to whom it may delegate certain tasks relating to the implementation of its order;

- Consideration of whether and if so, how, the criteria and methodology to be applied in the determination and assessment of (i) the eligibility of victims; (ii) the relevant harms; and (iii) the scope of liability of Mr Bemba, may take into account issues such as the potential large numbers of victims and extensive suffering;

- Methodologies that the Chamber might employ to determine the types and modalities of reparations appropriate to address the harm relevant in the circumstances of the case, including factors relating to the appropriateness of awarding reparations on an individual basis, a collective basis, or both.

- Provide guidance on the role experts could play in assisting the Court with the abovementioned issues, including by providing detailed harm and reparation needs assessments on a consultation-based approach. These observations would draw on comparative experience from other claims procedures. 


 
Colonel Lama acquittal: UK must not waver in its resolve to end safe havens for torturers

REDRESS has urged the UK Government to continue making the prosecuting of torture suspects a priority, following the acquittal of Nepalese Colonel Kumar Lama of charges of torturing a Nepalese civilian on 6 September 2016. Colonel Lama was acquitted after a 6-week trial at the Central Criminal Court in London, where two victims testified about his alleged participation in their torture at an army barracks under his command, during Nepal’s internal armed conflict. On 1 August 2016, Colonel Lama was acquitted of charges of torturing the other victim.

Colonel Lama’s case was only the second torture trial in the UK since the Criminal Justice Act 1988 entered into forced, giving British courts jurisdiction to prosecute suspected torturers, regardless of their nationality or where the crime took place, if the suspect is found in the UK.

“The Metropolitan Police and the Crown Prosecution Service put a lot of work into bringing the case to trial, and despite the verdicts, we believe it was right and proper, and important they did so,” said Carla Ferstman, Director of REDRESS, in a statement.

“Prosecuting torture, irrespective of where the torture was committed, is in the public interest. It sends a strong signal that the crime of torture is never acceptable and aligns with the UK Government’s obligations under the Torture Convention,” added Ferstman.

Read our full statement

Advocacy work

©IRIN News

REDRESS and other NGOs call for the adoption of strong UN resolution on Sudan

REDRESS and 32 other NGOs and experts have called on the UN Human Rights Council to support the adoption of a strong resolution on Sudan at its 33rd session that will take place on 13-30 September in Geneva. The organisations note that five years on, the conflicts between Sudan and armed opposition on South Kordofan and Blue Nile continue to have a devastating impact on civilians, with Sudanese forces continuing to attack villages and bomb civilian areas indiscriminately, and to block humanitarian aid from accessing affected areas. They demand that the resolution mandates a Special Rapporteur to monitor and report on ongoing human rights violations and publicly urges Sudan to implement the recommendations made to Sudan by the UN Human Rights Council in 2016.

REDRESS and the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies have also made a submission to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Sudan and South Sudan, urging the UK Government to develop a Sudan specific human rights strategy for its engagement with the Sudanese Government and to make the respect for human rights generally, and accountability for torture and ill-treatment specifically, the key condition of any future engagement between the UK and Sudan. 


 

REDRESS urges the UN Human Rights Committee to strengthen its procedures to improve the implementation of its views

Anyone may bring an alleged violation of human rights to the attention of the United Nations and thousands of people around the world do so every year. One of the most used complaints mechanisms is the UN Human Rights Committee, which considers violations of rights contained in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. After considering an individual complaint, the UN Human Rights Committee publishes its findings, also known as views. Despite the importance of this mechanism for victims, implementation of views remains low. REDRESS and other organisations have made a joint submission to the UN Human Rights Committee to outline a series of recommendations to strengthen the follow-up procedure concerning views on individual cases.

See our full recommendations here 

Conferences and trainings

REDRESS and IMLU organise international conference in Nairobi

REDRESS and partners organised an international conference that took place during the 8 and 9 of September in Nairobi, Kenya. The purpose of the two-day conference "Fighting torture at home: the implementation of States' international obligations at the domestic level" was to provide experts and practitioners from different countries an opportunity to discuss and exchange experiences litigating torture cases domestically as well as before regional and international human rights mechanisms. 

Two public events also took place during the conference. One was a panel discussion on "Sexual violence as a form of torture", where experts discussed challenges and opportunities in implementing States' obligations to prevent and redress sexual violence. Also, we launched our "Reporting on Torture" handbook at a reception with keynote remarks by award winning investigative reporter and CNN fellow John Allan Namu.

The conference is part of a three-year project funded by the EU in which REDRESS and partners from Peru, Kenya, Nepal and Libya looked to develop strategies with partners, lawyers and civil society groups to ensure torture survivors’ access to criminal and civil remedies; to advocate for ratification and domestic implementation of international treaties and principles; and to build the capacity of civil society and national actors to enforce anti-torture standards.

Read more about our conference in our Events section


 

Uganda: international conference on reparations in Entebbe

On 26 and 27 September, Avocats Sans Frontières and REDRESS will organise an International Conference on Reparations in Uganda. The event marks a first step in discussing reparations for mass atrocities committed against the civilians in Uganda over the last 50 years. It will be an opportunity to exchange best practices from other contexts and draw recommendations with domestic and international experts.

Publications

Kenya: report on victims’ rights and participation in criminal proceedings

Following a training with Kenyan prosecutors on victims’ rights and participation in criminal proceedings on 21 and 22 June 2016, REDRESS published the training report summarizing the presentations made the trainers, the input given by participants, and the recommendations collected by all.

Read our report here

Please support our work

Please donate to our dedicated runners

This October our team of runners are running the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon to raise funds for our work. Please consider sponsoring our dedicated runners:

Rachel https://www.justgiving.com/Rachel-Barnes15
Kevin http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/KevinJarman1 
Scott https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/scott-sandvik

Good luck everyone and thank you!

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