Redress - Ending Torture, Seeking Justice for Survivors
Reparation News
September 2015
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Dear friends and colleagues,

Welcome to our latest edition of Reparation News. Please find below a summary of recent case updates, news and publications from REDRESS. We hope you find this resource useful and invite you to know more about our work. For the most up-to-date information, you can follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Please contact us if you have any questions about our work, want to learn more or would like to collaborate with us. Thank you for your continued interest in our work and for your support. 

Carla Ferstman

Director


 

Case updates

Case of victim of mistaken identity during “War on Terror” in Kenya opens before Kenyan High Court

On 14 September 2015, Kamilya Mohammedi Tuweni recounted for the first time before a Kenyan High Court judge her ordeal after being mistaken by an al-Qaeda terrorist suspect. Kamilya, a mother of three from the United Arab Emirates, gave her testimony via video link from London, where she has been supported by REDRESS, as she is too afraid to ever set foot in Kenya again. During her testimony, Kamilya paused frequently to compose herself, as she tearfully recalled how she was arrested whilst on a business trip to Kenya in 2007 and then shuttled between three East African countries by her captors for more than two months. During this time, she endured beatings; was asked for bribes; was threatened with rape; narrowly escaped being sold for drugs and was held in a jail in a war zone in Somalia. REDRESS is seeking an apology from the Kenyan government and compensation for the suffering and damages she has suffered. Kamilya was interviewed on the BBC Focus on Africa's radio programme about her case.

Read more about the case here

See some media coverage of her case in English here and here and in Swahili here


 

Polish court rules on appeal brought by REDRESS on behalf of victim of CIA rendition

On 14 September 2015, a district court in Szczytno, Poland, heard an appeal by REDRESS on behalf of Mustafa al-Hawsawi, a victim of CIA rendition who is part of a group of Guantánamo detainees facing a military trial. Our appeal sought to overturn a decision by the Appellate Prosecutor’s Office in Kraków not to investigate the alleged human rights violations endured by Mustafa al-Hawsawi, who is believed to have been illegally transferred through and/or secretly held in, Poland by the CIA in 2003. Polish lawyer Dr. Bogumil Zygmont represented REDRESS at the hearing and our International Legal Advisor Kyra Hild also presented a statement to the Court. On 28 September 2015 the Court announced its decision to reject our appeal. REDRESS had argued that all the publicly available evidence strongly suggested that Mr al-Hawsawi was a victim of CIA rendition in Poland and regretted the decision.

Read our statement to the Court here

Read more about the case here 

See some media coverage in Poland here


 

  

Leopoldo and his wife met with the Chilean Ambassador, H.E. Mr Rolando Drago Rodríguez

Torture survivor from Pinochet-era receives further reparation from the Chilean government

The Chilean government has now awarded Leopoldo García Lucero a further £4,000 towards his rehabilitation costs. An investigating judge also interviewed him by video-link on 7 October to further the criminal complaint in his case that has been opened in Chile. Mr García Lucero, who lives in London, was tortured and expelled from Chile during the Pinochet dictatorship (1973-1990). His was the first case of a living torture survivor from the Pinochet era to be decided by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, America’s highest human rights court. In 2013, the Court ordered Chile to complete its investigation into the alleged human rights abuses and to pay him £20,000 in compensation for the delay in opening an investigation of the facts and his inability to access certain reparations available to torture survivors in Chile.

Last year, Mr García received the compensation award and a formal apology from the Chilean Government at a ceremony held at the Chilean Embassy in London. Since then, REDRESS has been working to progress other aspects of the judgment, including an ongoing criminal investigation into the events and the costs of Mr Garcia's rehabilitation in the UK for medical and psychological ailments that he developed as a result of the torture. In April 2015, the Inter-American Court stressed in its report on the implementation of the judgment that Chile had yet to deal adequately with the criminal investigation and the Court’s request to afford Mr García an adequate sum for his rehabilitation.

Read more about the case here 

Read Mr García’s op-ed in the Guardian


 

Criminal complaint filed in Switzerland against Bahraini Attorney General on behalf of a REDRESS client

On 15 September 2015, Bahrain-born British citizen Jaafar Al-Hasabi submitted a criminal complaint to the prosecuting authorities in Berne (Switzerland) against Bahraini Attorney General for his role in putting Jaafar in the situation in which he would inevitably be tortured. The complaint was filed in anticipation of the Attorney-General's attendance at the International Association of Prosecutors (IAP) annual conference in Switzerland on 16 September. Al-Hasabi, who now lives in London, lodged his complaint before Berne prosecution authorities with the support of the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), REDRESS, the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) as well as TRIAL (Track Impunity Always). The prosecution authorities did not take any immediate action but an investigation has been opened.

Read our press release here

Read more about the case here

Read some media coverage here

Advocacy work

First court appearance of Dominic Ongwen (Credit: ICC-CPI) 

REDRESS welcomes new charges against Dominic Ongwen at the ICC 

REDRESS welcomes new charges in the case against Dominic Ongwen at the ICC as more victims will have the opportunity to obtain justice. The original case against Ongwen, who is accused of having perpetrated war crimes and crimes against humanity in Northern Uganda, focused on a single attack that happened on a single day at a single location (Lukodi). Victims who had applied to participate in the Uganda situation had called for the charges to be expanded and for the Prosecutor to undertake additional investigations, including our partners,  the Uganda Victims Foundation (UVF). On 18 September 2015, the ICC Prosecutor announced that she would expand the scope of the charges to cover three additional attacks as well as the crimes of persecution, sexual and gender-based crimes, and the conscription and use of child soldiers. In total, 67 charges are being brought. REDRESS is particularly pleased that the new charges include crimes of sexual violence committed against abducted girls who were given to the combatants as wives.

REDRESS has been working with FIDA Uganda to support a group of victims of sexual and gender-based violence to pursue domestic justice avenues.


 

REDRESS submission to CEDAW on the United Arab Emirates 

REDRESS filed a submission to the 62nd Session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) for consideration of the Combined Second and Third Periodic Reports of the United Arab Emirates. The session will take place from 26 October to 20 November 2015. REDRESS has had occasion to work with a number of expatriate women in the UAE. In that context, we have developed awareness of discrimination against women within the UAE legal system. On occasion, this discrimination has resulted in severe ill-treatment of women. Based on this experience, our report focuses on several concerns regarding the domestic legal framework, and the treatment of women by the authorities, in the following areas: domestic violence; divorce and child custody; equality before the law, including discrimination against women and in particular foreign women with respect to access to justice and fair trial rights, and conditions of detention for women.

Read our submission here


 

Statement from organisations working with victims in Ivory Coast

REDRESS ICC Legal Officer Gaelle Carayon travelled to Ivory Coast to deliver a workshop on 2 and 3 September together with the Ivorian Coalition for the ICC. The workshop was convened with organisations working with victims in Ivory Coast. Over two days, participants from Abidjan and other parts of the country discussed the issue of justice and reparation for victims and the latest international and domestic developments. The workshop provided participants with a unique opportunity to hear directly from the institutions concerned and in particular the International Criminal Court as well as CONARIV, the domestic body in charge of designing a reparation programme for victims in Ivory Coast. The Ivorian Coalition for the ICC recently released a joint statement from the workshop, which is available below.

Read the joint statement here


 

Shadow report to the African Commission on Kenya

On 4 September 2015, the Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU), our partner in Kenya, submitted a comprehensive shadow report to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights in anticipation to Kenya’s 8th-11th Periodic Report. IMLU set out key concerns and issued recommendations to the African Commission including on the adoption of the Anti-Torture Bill. REDRESS provided input on Kenya’s legal framework on access to justice and reparation for victims of sexual violence committed in the context of the post-election violence. The African Commission will consider Kenya’s periodic report at its upcoming 57th Ordinary Session that will be held from 4 -18 November in Banjul, The Gambia. 

Publications

Participants at the conference that took place in Pretoria on the 10th and 11th of September

Report on domestic practice of victim participation in criminal law proceedings

REDRESS has released a detailed study of domestic practice of victim participation in criminal law proceedings, in partnership with the Institute for Security Studies (ISS). This report analyses victims’ rights to engage in criminal proceedings and in particular the extent to which a range of domestic jurisdictions provide victims with rights to play an active role. Such rights may include the right to launch proceedings, to challenge decisions not to prosecute, and to make statements in court. The aim of this report is to support the efforts of states to develop and put in place a framework for victim participation in the context of investigating and prosecuting international crimes. This report aims to be a useful reference for actors in domestic systems engaged in wider discussions on victims’ rights.

On 8 - 9 September, REDRESS and ISS hosted an expert conference in Pretoria, South Africa, to present this report. The conference brought together practitioners, lawyers, prosecutors and civil society actors from a number of African countries to discuss how to strengthen victims’ participation, in light of the conclusions of our recent report. REDRESS, with ISS and the International Commission of Jurists - Kenya Section (ICJ- Kenya), also facilitated a second conference in Pretoria, on 10 - 11 September, on developing a prosecutors network in Africa. Participants discussed how practitioners can strengthen the capacity of national authorities to fight against impunity for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture and enforced disappearances. 

Read the report here

Read more about these conferences here


 

Submission to the Lords Select Committee on Sexual Violence in Conflict

REDRESS has submitted written evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on Sexual Violence in Conflict. The Committee is looking into the UK’s practice and policy concerning prevention of sexual violence in conflict. The submission emphasises victims' needs of holistic support services. It also calls for the investigation and prosecution of sexual violence in conflict at the national international levels, including abuses committed by peacekeeping troops. In 2014, REDRESS participated in the expert meetings at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict held in London. We were also part of the expert group providing input into the new International Protocol on the Documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence in Conflict, which aims to support more effective investigations, prosecutions and justice for victims.

More information on the work of the Committe is available here

Events and conferences

Laurent Gbagbo was the first head of state to be taken into the ICC's custody (Credit: ICC-CPI) 

Upcoming Chatham House discussion on immunities for international crimes

REDRESS Director Carla Ferstman will participate in a discussion on the divergent approaches to the nature and role of immunities for international crimes on the 23th of October at Chatham House. The event is organised by Chatham House, REDRESS and Doughty Chambers. The International Law Commission has been considering the topic of immunity of state officials from foreign criminal jurisdiction since 2006, as part of its mandate to promote the progressive development of international law and its codification. Currently, there are markedly different approaches in this area of law. While the International Criminal Court does not recognise immunities for sitting heads of states, the African Union adopted a protocol in 2014, providing immunity from prosecution to any serving African Union head of state and senior officials and extending the jurisdiction of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights to include criminal jurisdiction over international crimes.  

Read an article by REDRESS Director on this issue here 

Farewell to a dear colleague

Our Counsel Dr Lutz Oette joins SOAS to teach law full-time 

On 24 September 2015, we bid farewell to our dear colleague Dr. Lutz Oette. After 14 years, Lutz, who has been our Counsel in recent years, has left us to teach law full-time at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). Lutz led our project for criminal law reform in Sudan and has been an excellent colleague, friend and mentor throughout the years. He will be deeply missed in the office, but we wish him all the very best in his new academic career.

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