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

Welcome! In this edition of Reparation News, we provide updates on cases in Nepal, The Gambia and Ethiopia. Our work to support a new draft general comment on the right to redress for victims of torture and ill-treatment under the African Charter also features, which is open for comments until 30 June.

In addition, we provide an update on training sessions recently held for the Libyan Foreign Ministry and lawyers in Peru and our submission on case prioritisation to the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court.

The London Marathon runners and London Legal Walk fundraisers (pictured above!) also get due credit - if you are yet to donate please click through the links below!

For the latest updates, please follow @REDRESSTrust on Twitter or join us on Facebook. If you have any questions on our latest news or our work more broadly, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Thanks for your continued interest and support for our mission to help torture survivors worldwide.

Carla Ferstman, Director


 

Case updates

©Advocacy Forum

REDRESS and Advocacy Forum support application to provide interim relief to families of the eight disappeared young people in Nepal

Advocacy Forum and REDRESS have supported the families of eight disappeared young people from the Bardiya District to file an application for additional interim relief, which was promised by the Government of Nepal while further reparation measures are pending. Following the findings of the UN Human Rights Committee on a case brought by our organisations on behalf of these families, the Government of Nepal promised an additional interim relief of NPR 100,000 (about £647). The families of the disappeared youths have made it clear that this small amount in no way meets the government’s obligations to provide adequate reparation for the crimes, but have filed the application as a first step in the process to assist with immediate needs.

Read more about the case here


 
REDRESS granted permission to intervene in journalists torture case in The Gambia

REDRESS made further steps to support a case concerning the torture of journalists in The Gambia. On 19 April, REDRESS was granted permission to intervene as an independent third party before the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Our intervention will focus on: the particular vulnerability of journalists to torture and related abuses; the nature and applicability of the absolute prohibition of torture; States’ positive obligations to protect journalists from violence, including torture and other prohibited ill-treatment, and the right to redress for tortured journalists in forced exile.

The application is available to view online


 

REDRESS and Reprieve challenge the Ethiopian Government in Tsege case 

REDRESS and Reprieve continue to support the case of Andargachew Tsege, a critic of the Ethiopian Government and UK citizen. Mr Tsege has remained in detention in Ethiopia since his abduction by Yemeni intelligence officers, acting on the orders of the Ethiopian authorities, on 23 June 2014.

Previously, Mr Tsege was detained and assaulted in custody in Ethiopia in 2005. In 2005 and 2009, he was tried in absentia under an anti-terrorism proclamation in trials that did not follow due process standards. He was sentenced to death in the first trial and to life imprisonment in the second.

In 2015, REDRESS and Reprieve submitted a complaint to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and a request for provisional measures including a call for Mr Tsege’s release, a stay of his execution, and the suspension of the in absentia convictions and sentences until the Commission can assess their validity. Last month REDRESS and Reprieve made further submissions on the admissibility of the complaint.

International Policy and Advocacy work

©IOM/Gonzalez Palau

African Commission encourages comments on the fist draft of the General Comment on the right to redress under Article 5 of the African Charter

REDRESS was among the NGOs participating in the 58th Ordinary Session of the African Commission that took place in April in The Gambia, during which specific issues that are relevant to the promotion and protection of human rights in Africa were discussed.

Our participation focused on the first draft of the General Comment on the Right to Redress for Victims of Torture or Ill-treatment, under Article 5 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The General Comment will further strengthen existing provisions on the right to redress in instruments adopted by the Commission.

In recent months, REDRESS and partners, including the Center for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, Kenyan Human Rights Commission and the Civil Society Prison Reform Initiative have collaborated with the Committee for the Prevention of Torture in Africa to produce the draft, which has now been uploaded on the African Commission’s website and is open for comments until 30 June. Juergen Schurr, our Head of Law and Policy, encouraged NGOs and State Parties attending the session and the NGO forum that preceded it to provide comments on the draft.

Schurr also facilitated a training session for human rights lawyers on the African Commission’s communication procedures, which was organised by the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa, and participated in a meeting of the Litigants Group, a network of approximately 60 civil society organisations and lawyers litigating before the African Commission. In addition to following up on REDRESS’ cases currently pending before the Commission, he also attended several meetings organised by civil society groups on the role of the African Commission and the African Union in conflict, the right to rehabilitation and the rights of detainees in pre-trial detention.

Commissioner Lawrence M. Mute highlighted his participation in past activities organised by REDRESS and its partner organisations during his presentation of the Inter-Session Activity Report, in particular, our workshop on anti-torture legislation frameworks in Africa and a drafting retreat on the general comment on the right to redress.


 

REDRESS briefs members of the UN Committee Against Torture on anti-torture legislation in Africa

On 22 April, REDRESS and the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) held an Expert Briefing in Geneva with the United Nations Committee Against Torture. At the closed event, our Head of Law and Policy Juergen Schurr, and our International Legal Advisor Kyra Hild presented findings from our recent report "Legal Frameworks to Prevent Torture in Africa". The report gives an overview of anti-torture law reform initiatives in a number of African countries and provides recommendations stemming from best practice. A positive exchange of views between experts and committee members included input from a representative of the Kenya’s Department of Justice and the APT Legal Advisor Anne Lardy.

REDRESS' Director also presented the findings of our report at a seminar on the criminalisation of torture in Sub-Saharan Africa, which was organised by the Convention Against Torture Initiative in Accra, Ghana, on 5-6 April. Building on the experiences of States that have criminalised torture in Africa and in countries from outside the region and based on the knowledge of relevant anti-torture experts, the seminar provided a neutral space to exchange experiences, best practices, challenges and opportunities among States that have already criminalised torture, States that have pending legislation and States that have not yet criminalised torture.


  

REDRESS Director participates in week long online practitioners dialogue on the protection of survivors and witnesses 

As part of the New Tactics in Human Rights online web forums, New Tactics and DIGNITY organised an online dialogue which brought together a range of leading anti-torture practitioners on Protecting Survivors and Witnesses from 18-22 April 2016. The dialogue covered an array of issues including managing risks and the role of the State and civil society in affording protection. The online dialogue is available for viewing on the New Tactics website.  Some of the issues that were discussed reflected the finding of REDRESS' 2009 study on victim and witness protection: Ending Threats and Reprisals Against Victims of Torture and Related International Crimes - A Call to Action. In August 2016, REDRESS and DIGNITY will be providing a briefing to the UN Committee Against Torture, during its 58th Session in Geneva, on structures to protect torture survivors from reprisals and related matters.


  

REDRESS and other NGOs call on the new President of the Central African Republic to make justice for grave crimes a top priority

REDRESS and other NGOs called on President Touadéra, who was sworn in on 30 March, to make justice for grave international crimes a top priority for his government, and to put into motion the planned Special Criminal Court.  During the last crisis that engulfed the country in 2012, armed groups known as Seleka and anti-Balaka committed widespread abuses against civilians, including killings, sexual violence, and destruction of private, public and religious properties, causing mass displacement. Those responsible for these crimes have not yet been brought to justice.  

Publications

©ICC/CPI

REDRESS and partners submit recommendations to the International Criminal Court Prosecutor on her draft policy on case selection and prioritisation

REDRESS, the Coalition Ivoiriènne pour la Cour Pénale Internationale (CI-CPI) and Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL) submitted comments to the International Criminal Court Prosecutor (OTP) on her new draft policy on how to select and prioritise cases. The submission followed a one-day consultation meeting with civil society groups on the Draft Policy organised by the OTP in coordination with REDRESS as well as a separate workshop organised by REDRESS with partners in Ivory Coast. The submission highlighted the importance for the OTP to adequately communicate on how it would apply the criteria set out in the draft policy. It also called on the OTP to ensure cases were not indefinitely "de-prioritised" and to spell out the steps that would need to be taken to address reasons why some cases may be given less priority.

Conferences and training

Training held on human rights mechanisms for the Libyan Foreign Ministry

REDRESS and Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL) held a training session for a group of civil servants from the Libyan Foreign Ministry on 27-29 April entitled ‘"Reporting to Human Rights Treaty Bodies: From Documentation to the Implementation of Recommendations". The training was designed to enhance participants' knowledge of Libya's obligations under international human rights law, and their capacity to engage with treaty bodies and civil society. REDRESS and LFJL hope that the training will help improve the prospects for the Libyan state to implement and respond to recommendations issued by UN treaty bodies. REDRESS’ Director Carla Ferstman joint-facilitated the training, as pictured above.


 

Lawyers in Peru attend training on litigating torture cases

REDRESS’ partner in Peru, la Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos (CNDDHH), organised training for lawyers in Chiclayo in April. The training aimed at building capacity in the litigation of torture cases domestically, creating a better understanding of torture in the context of social protest, and raising awareness of the new National Mechanism on the Prevention of Torture. The National Mechanism was the result of a hard-fought campaign by CNDDHH, to ensure that Peru meets its obligations following its ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture. 55 lawyers within CNDDHH’s network attended the training.


 

Panel on the duty to investigate UK military action abroad 

On 21 April our Legal Advisor Kevin Laue participated in a conference organised by the Public Law Project to discuss rights to investigation, statutory inquiries & independent reviews and the potential these have to hold the state to account. He participated in a panel discussion entitled "When should there be a duty to investigate UK military action abroad?" chaired by Richard Norton-Taylor, Defence and Security Writer for the Guardian. Others on the panel were leading human rights barristers Danny Friedman QC and Sean Aughey.

Events

Donations wanted for our London Legal Walk!

On 16 May, our dedicated REDRESS team walked 10 km to defend one the most important principles of our society: that justice should be the same for all without regard to economic status. We joined thousands of others raising money for free legal services, as part of our global campaign for justice and accountability for one of the world's most heinous crimes. Please visit our fundraising page and sponsor our walkers as generously as you are able! All funds received through the following page will be donated to REDRESS without deduction.


  

Last chance to donate to our London Marathon runners!

Congratulations to our marathon runners for completing the London Marathon on 24th April! If you would like to make a donation and have not yet done so, please click on one of the runners’ names below. All funds will support our pro-bono work to seek justice and reparations for torture survivors worldwide.

Keith Silika

Arturo Garcia-Huidobro P.

Nani Jansen

Peter Noorlander

Hugo Pena


  

REDRESS is looking for runners for the 10K London run

The Vitality British 10K London Run is staged on the world's greatest road race route through the heart of central London, passing many of the capital's truly world class historic landmarks. It will take place on 10 July and REDRESS is looking for runners interested in raising funds for our work on behalf of victims of torture.

Starting on Piccadilly outside The Guards & Calvary Club, runners will pass the new WW2 bomber command memorial which was unveiled by HM Queen Elizabeth II in June 2012, with Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner forming the backdrop to the start. These spots tend to go quickly; please contact us quickly (info@redress.org) if you are interested!

REDRESS 87 Vauxhall Walk, London
SE11 5HJ | Tel: +44 (0) 207 793 1777
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www.redress.org | info@redress.org
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