REDRESS - Ending Torture, Seeking Justice for Surviors Reparation News
March 2012       

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

2012 is REDRESS’ 20thAnniversary year and we are underway with a number of celebratory events. The first one will be a Literary Evening and drinks reception on April 24 that will bring together prominent authors who have dealt with the themes that drive our work. Channel 4 News International News Editor Lindsey Hilsum will chair the event and several torture survivors will also present readings during the event.

We hope that you will be able to join us and also that you will continue to support our work.

Please find below a summary of the latest developments with our casework and other work on behalf of victims of torture and stay tuned for information on other events we will be planning throughout the year though our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Best wishes,

Carla Ferstman


REDRESS' 20th Anniversary Literary Evening on 24 April

To mark its 20th anniversary, REDRESS will be holding a very special Literary Evening and drinks reception on April 24 at The Tabernacle, Notting Hill.

The event will feature readings from prominent authors that have canvassed the topic of torture and human rights in their work. Sri Lankan writer Roma Tearne, a Costa Book Award finalist; Patricio Pron, Granta’s Best Young Spanish-Language Novelist, and Iraqi Kurdish writer Haifa Zangana, an accomplished author and torture survivor, will read from their work. Lindsey Hilsum, Channel 4 News International Editor, will chair the event. In addition, a number of our clients who have undergone torture will present readings.

Click to see the programme

Click to buy tickets

Photo by Luna Miguel: Patricio Pron.


REDRESS reacts to ICC’s first-ever verdict

The International Criminal Court issued its first-ever verdict on 14 March 2012. It found Thomas Lubanga Dyilo guilty of the war crime of enlisting and conscripting children under 15 into the Forces Patriotiques Pour la Liberation du Congo (FPLC) and using them actively in hostilities in the Democratic Republic of Congo between September 2002 and August 2003.

REDRESS hailed the decision as proof that the ICC is capable of delivering justice to the victims of horrendous crimes who had been awaiting justice and reparations for a long time. However, we also highlighted flaws in the prosecution’s practice and stressed the need to protect those victims and witnesses in the field who had the courage to come forward.

The Lubanga trial opened on 26 January 2009. REDRESS has been monitoring the case since 2006. In the coming months, the ICC will sentence Lubanga and consider submissions in relation to reparation for victims.

Click to read REDRESS' full statement

Click to visit our ICC page to find more information on the case

Watch Carla Ferstman, REDRESS' director, discuss the verdict on Al Jaazera

Photo courtesy ICC-CPI/Evert-Jan Daniel/ANP: Thomas Lubanga Dyilo.


REDRESS submits observations in the Gbagbo case

REDRESS was allowed to submit observations on collective participation of victims of mass crimes in the Laurent Gbagbo case before the ICC on March 8.

Gbagbo, the former president of Cote D'Ivoire, faces four counts of crimes against humanity. His supporters are alleged to have committed murder, rape and other crimes in 2010-2011 as he rejected Cote D'Ivoire's election results and tried to cling to his decade-long rule. More than 3,000 people died in the conflict, according to human rights groups.

REDRESS also submitted observations on the challenges that victims of mass crimes face to participate in court proceedings.

Click to read our observations

Photo courtesy ICC-CPI/AP/Peter Dejong: Laurent Gbagbo.


New report on corporal punishment in Sudan

Hardly a day passes by without women and men being whipped in Sudan. The punishment is applied in almost casual fashion. Those subjected to it are normally left to suffer the pain and humiliation that comes with it in silence. A new report by REDRESS and the Sudan Human Rights Monitor examines Sudanese statutory law on corporal punishment, and its practice in the country, with a focus on whipping as its most prevalent type.

The report - “No More Cracking of the Whip: Time to end Corporal Punishment in Sudan” - is available in English and Arabic.

Click to read both versions 


Advocacy work

  • REDRESS raises concerns over proposals to reform the ECtHR

REDRESS and other leading human rights organisations have submitted their preliminary comments on the first draft of the Brighton Declaration on the Future of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).

The British Chairmanship of the Council of Europe will hold a High Level Ministerial Conference on the future of the ECtHR in Brighton from 18 to 20 April 2012. This conference will adopt the “Brighton Declaration”, which will include a package of measures to reform the Court. The first draft of the Declaration was shared with member states on 23 February 2012 and formal negotiations started in March.

The NGOs welcome many of the proposals in the Draft Declaration, designed to improve national implementation of the ECHR and to enhance the effectiveness of the Court. However, they remain deeply concerned that two proposals in particular - on admissibility and codification of the principles of subsidiary and margin of appreciation - could seriously undermine the effectiveness of the ECtHR in protecting the Convention rights.

Click to read the joint NGO input to the ongoing negotiations

  • REDRESS reacts to landmark ruling of UN highest court

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) delivered a blow to victims of human rights violations on 3 February by finding Italy in breach of international law for allowing claims for reparation against Germany to proceed.

The ICJ found that that states are immune from proceedings in foreign courts, even where they concern serious violations of international human rights law or the international law of armed conflict. REDRESS regretted the UN highest court’s decision because it ignored the rights of victims to reparation and adopted an absolutist approach to state immunity.

Italian courts had provided hope to victims of Nazi atrocities committed during World War II by allowing a number of lawsuits to proceed for crimes including forced deportation, forced labour and massacres of civilians, and by enforcing judgments of the Greek courts in similar cases. Germany argued that it was immune from jurisdiction in Italian courts, and that the proceedings therefore breached international law. Italy argued that such immunity was not absolute, and did not apply where serious violations of human rights law and international humanitarian law were involved – particularly where victims had no alternative means of redress. The Court, in a 12-3 ruling, rejected Italy’s arguments.

Click to read REDRESS’ analysis of this landmark ruling


Support our marathon runners

We have seven dedicated marathon runners this year: Charles Barclay, Arild Dregelid, Francis Fitzgibbon, Roger Foulger, Ben Freedman, Don Guttenplan and Alice Haslem. On 22 April they will run 26.2 mile through the capital to raise money on behalf of victims of torture. Your donations to them will make a very real and significant contribution in supporting REDRESS' work.

Please support our runners by visiting their fundraising pages and offering your sponsorship and encouragement:

- Roger

- Arild

- Francis

- Charles

- Don

Photo: Suzanne King and Daniel Milton, our superb marathon runners in 2011.


     
 

VRWG - Victims’ Rights Working Group

Visit The Victims' Rights Working Group (VRWG) website, a network coordinated by REDRESS that works to ensure that victims’ rights are met throughout the judicial process of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Visit VRWG; latest VRWG Newsletter

PCLRS - Criminal Law Reform in Sudan

Visit the Project for Criminal Law Reform in Sudan (PCLRS), a joint initiative of REDRESS and local Sudanese partners which advocates for crucial criminal law reforms to advance the legal recognition of rights of all people in Sudan.

Visit PCLRS


 

Support the fight against torture by making a donation to REDRESS.

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