Redress - Ending Torture, Seeking Justice for Survivors
Reparation News
June 2013
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Dear friends and colleagues,

Welcome to our June edition of Reparation News. On 26 June, REDRESS will mark the UN Day in Support of Victims of Torture with several activities. We hope many of you will join us in showing your support for survivors and in raising your voices against one of the vilest acts which can be perpetrated by one person on another. As you will read below, there are many other developments we would like to share with you: please follow us on Twitter and Facebook to ensure you are kept up to date. 

Warm wishes,

Dadimos Haile, Interim Director


 

UN Day in Support of Victims of Torture

On 26 June, organisations around the world will show their solidarity with survivors of torture. REDRESS is planning a series of activities to celebrate the UN Day in Support of Victims of Torture, including:

  • A roundtable at our offices on Monday 24 June to consider the plight of victims of torture in Bahrain who have been imprisoned without fair trial. Some relatives of the 13 imprisoned political leaders whose final appeals were rejected earlier this year are expected to attend. REDRESS will also officially launch its new report "Bahrain: Fundamental Reform or Torture Without End?".
  • REDRESS will participate in the seminar "Bahrain: culture of impunity in the Kingdom of Torture" hosted by Lord Avebury, the Vice-Chairman of the Parliamentary Human Rights Group, on Wednesday 26 June. For further information, please contact Lord Avebury on ericavebury@gmail.com.
  • Kevin Laue, Legal Advisor at REDRESS, will speak at an event by the Zimbawe Association on Wednesday 26 June from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. The event will feature the Zimbabwean poet Chenjerai Hove. It will take place at Oxford House Theatre, Oxford House, Derbyshire Street, Bethnal Green, London E2 6HG.
  • REDRESS will launch a special edition of the bulletin on "Victims' right to reparation in Africa" with the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, Actions pour la Protection des Droits de l'Homme, and Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Action.

Join us this week as we celebrate International Day in Support of Victims of Torture!

Photo by World Can't Wait.

Case updates

A victory for survivors in 'Mau Mau' case

Following four years of legal battle, the UK finally acknowleged on 6 June the torture inflicted upon thousands of Kenyans during the Mau Mau insurgency which preceded the country's independence. REDRESS, which made written and oral submissions to the High Court in support of the victims’ rights, welcomed the news. 

As part of a settlement, the UK government agreed to pay £19.9m, including legal fees, to more than 5,000 survivors and will fund a memorial in Nairobi. However, it reiterated its position that it did not consider itself liable for acts committed under colonial rule. The settlement came after the UK government suffered two significant defeats in the courts.

REDRESS is now urging the government to make available to the public all records about abuses committed in all former British territories and to cooperate with any interested parties, including survivors' organisations. And when sufficient evidence is available, to provide adequate reparation to the victims, which should include a full apology.

Read our statement

Read more about the case

Photo of claimants in the 'Mau Mau' case by Leigh Day & Co. 

Advocacy work

Victims continue to wait for justice in Gbagbo case

REDRESS is concerned about the recent decision by an ICC pre-trial chamber to postpone deciding whether Laurent Gbagbo, former President of Ivory Coast, should be sent to trial. The 3 June decision means a further delay for victims waiting to know the truth and to see justice served.

The Chamber found that the ICC Prosecutor had not submitted enough evidence to establish whether Gbagbo was responsible, as an indirect co-perpetrator, for the crimes against humanity of murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, other inhumane acts and persecution committed following the contested presidential election in 2010. The judges said that the Prosecutor's case was relying too heavily on evidence from NGOs, UN reports and press articles and that those had limited value as evidence. The Chamber asked the Prosecutor to provide additional evidence or to conduct further investigations by 15 November 2013, and posponed its decision on the confirmation of charges. 

The postponement highlights the need for further clarity on the standards of proof required to proceed to a full trial. It also raises questions regarding the Prosecutor's strategy in view of some recent court decisions stressing that more efforts should be made to complete investigations prior to the confirmation of charges.

Read our statement

Photo of Laurent Gbagbo by ICC-CPI. 


 

UK must investigate allegations of complicity in torture

REDRESS has made detailed written submissions to the UK Foreign Affairs parliamentary committee (FAC) in recent weeks in response to the inquiry being held into the Foreign Office's annual human rights and democracy report, published in April 2013. Each year, after the report is published, the FAC calls on all interested parties to comment on the human rights work which the FCO has done in the previous year. In due course the FAC will publish our submission along with other evidence submitted to it when it publishes its own views on the report. The REDRESS submission included concerns about allegations of UK security agencies’ complicity in torture which have yet to be investigated more than three years after Prime Minister Cameron pledged to do so in May 2010.

On June 7, REDRESS and eight other leading human rights NGOs called publicly on the Government in a letter to the Guardian to establish a prompt inquiry into the alleged complicity of UK officials in the torture of detainees held overseas.

Read our letter to the Guardian


 

Proposed cuts to legal aid will impact negatively on torture survivors

On 4 June REDRESS made a submission to the UK Ministry of Justice, which is holding a consultation on further cuts which the Government intends to make to the legal-aid system. REDRESS is extremely concerned about the proposed cuts which will, amongst other things, make it far more difficult, if not impossible, for some torture survivors to litigate in the UK. The judicial review process which was crucial in revealing abuses committed by UK soldiers against civilians in Iraq, for example, could not have been used in the way it was if the proposed changes were in force previously. REDRESS therefore expressed its grave concerns about the proposals, arguing that the cuts would seriously undermine access to justice for segments of society, and the proposals would impact upon fundamental legal protections including equal protection under the law, equality of arms between parties, as well as government accountability.


 

Justice for victims in Libya should not be delayed after ICC decision

REDRESS and Lawyers for Justice in Libya are calling on Libya to comply with its obligation to arrest and hand over Saif Al Islam Gaddafi to the ICC, after the 31 May decision of a pre-trial chamber of the ICC rejected Libya's admissibility challenge in the case.

Gaddafi is suspected of crimes against humanity including murder and persecution, allegedly committed in Libya in 2011, during the popular uprising that toppled his father, long-term dictador Muammar Gaddafi.

The organisations are also urging the Libyan government to bring to justice other suspected perpetrators of international crimes and remind Libya that the admissibility decision does not preclude Libya from prosecuting Gaddafi in the future for crimes other than those he is facing before the ICC. 

In 2012, REDRESS and LFJL submitted independent observations to the ICC on Libya's request to try Gaddafi without commenting either on the merits of the admissibility challenge or on the best forum for the case.

Read our press statement

Read our observations


 

Arrest of Rwandan genocide suspects, an important step towards accountability

On 30 May the Metropolitan Police arrested five Rwandan genocide suspects in the UK. The arrest followed a fresh extradition request by the Rwandan authorities, after a prior extradition request for four of the suspects was rejected by the High Court in 2009, on the basis that they could not receive a fair trial in Rwanda. In a public statement REDRESS emphasised that each extradition request must be examined by a court on its own merit. Should there be a judicial finding that the suspects cannot be extradited to Rwanda, REDRESS urges UK authorities to initiate a prompt investigation with a view to prosecuting the five suspects in the UK.

Read our statement 

Conferences and workshops

Celebrating Sanctuary festival

London, UK, 16 June

REDRESS participated in the Celebrating Sanctuary festival that took place in the South Bank Centre on Sunday 16 June. The free annual festival celebrates the lives and cultures of refugee communities in the UK and abroad. Staff from REDRESS discussed our work with torture survivors, many of whom are refugee and asylum seekers.

Photo of our stall at the Celebrating Sanctuary festival.


 

Workshop for victims of post-election violence in Kenya

Kenya, 13-14 June

REDRESS undertook a two-day training workshop on victims’ rights in relation to the post-election violence of 2007-8 in Kenya. The workshop provided participants with tools to voice victims’ issues in relation to the International Criminal Court and domestic developments in Kenya, such as current discussions on the establishment of an International Crimes Division of the Kenyan High Court. REDRESS also disseminated a new guide on victims and the ICC in Kenya with partner Kituo Cha Sheria.

Dowload the guide


 

Representing victims' rights at the ICC

The Hague, the Netherlands, 11-14 June

Coalition members from around the world, including REDRESS, met in The Hague during the 19th roundtable meeting with the ICC that took place from 11 to 14 June. Discussions were held with all organs of the Court on several issues, including its investigations, its activities and current challenges. These meetings are an important forum for civil society and the Court to engage in issues of common interest and find means to advance the fight against impunity through the Rome Statute system.

Read our Victims' Rights Working Group's Legal Update

Vous pouvez lire ici la dernière mise à jour juridique du Groupe de Travail pour les Droits des victimes


 

Training on torture and trafficking

London, UK, 23 May

REDRESS trained professionals who are, or may in the future, work with survivors of torture and trafficking in this course by Remedy. Participants gained understanding about the nature of torture and trafficking and were taught tools in order to recognise the signs of them in their clients. The course also featured experts from Freedom from Torture, Poppy Project (Eaves for women) and Doctors of the World.

For more information visit www.remedypartnership.org.uk

Remedy training courses brochure


 

Panel on challenges facing the ICC

London, UK, 16 May

Dadimos Haile, Interim Director of REDRESS, joined William R. Pace, from the Coalition for the ICC; Richard Goldstone, former prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and James Steward, from the International Criminal Court, on this panel. A reception was also held in honour of the Coalition for the ICC’s Advisory Board, which was attended by some of its members, such as former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. The event took place at the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy, SOAS. 


 

Conclusions of the EU Genocide Network meeting

The Hague, the Netherlands, 17-18 April

REDRESS participated in the 14th meeting of the EU Genocide Network. The main focus of the meeting was the question of immunity of state officials from the criminal jurisdiction of foreign states. REDRESS along with TRIAL (Track Impunity Always), Amnesty International, and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) submitted a statement on this subject to the participants. In its final conclusions, the Network acknowledged the role that practitioners have to play in ensuring that immunities do not unduly shield individuals from criminal responsibility for these crimes.

Read the conclusions of the meeting

Read the June edition of Universal Jurisdiction News, which includes a summary of recent cases, news and publications related to universal jurisdiction worldwide.

Support our London 10K runners on July 14!

REDRESS' team gets ready for the London 10K

Our team for the London 10K run is now complete! Alan Mitchell, Amy Wordley, Christiana Hayward-Kourabas, Mauricio Zamorano, Orin Gordon and Jo-Anne Prudhomme will be running to support our work on behalf of victims of torture.

Please leave them a message or sponsor them through their Justgiving pages! We ask our runners for a sponsorship level of £225, with every penny raised supporting REDRESS’ work on behalf of victims of torture. 

Jo-Anne: http://www.justgiving.com/Jo-Anne-Prud-homme1

Mauricio:  http://www.justgiving.com/Mauricio-Zamorano

Photo: REDRESS runner, Mari Oye, running the British 10K in 2012.


 

The Big Give Charities Raffle 2013

REDRESS is proud to be taking part in the very first Big Give Charities Raffle! This is a fantastic way of supporting REDRESS’s work on behalf of torture survivors while also having a chance of winning one of the following great prizes:

  • 1st prize - £2,000 cash, or a luxury holiday for two
  • 2nd prize - £1,000 cash
  • 3rd prize - £500 cash
  • 10 x runners’ up prizes of £50

Tickets cost just £1 (a minimum of 10 tickets must be bought = £10) and REDRESS will receive 96p for each ticket bought. Our aim is to reach £2,600 on the occasion of the 26th anniversary of the UN Convention Against Torture, on June 26.

The amount raised will help us cover essential casework costs, such as court fees and medical and psychological reports to be used in support of the complaints of torture survivors. Additionally, the charity selling the most tickets will win £500!

To buy your tickets on behalf of REDRESS now, please go to REDRESS’ profile page in The Big Give here and select 'Buy Raffle Tickets'. For full details on the raffle, please click here.

Many thanks for your support... and good luck!

REDRESS' Legal Advisor new director of the Essex Human Rights Centre

Lorna McGregor, a member of REDRESS’ Legal Advisory Council, has been named director of the internationally renowned Essex Human Rights Centre at the University of Essex. She is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Essex and a previous director of the LLM in International Human Rights Law. Prior to joining Essex Law School, Lorna was the International Legal Adviser at REDRESS where she litigated cases on behalf of torture survivors before the UN treaty bodies and regional human rights commissions; acted as amicus curiae before national and regional courts; and carried out research, law reform and capacity building activities on torture and reparation at national, regional and international levels.

REDRESS in the media

BBC London News, 19 June 2013Pinochet exile in compensation fight: Leopoldo García Lucero, a Chilean torture survivor and long-time client of REDRESS, and lawyer Clara Sandoval, discuss his landmark case before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.


 

Al Jazeera, 14 June 2013, Mau Mau: Breaking the silence of colonial torture: Lutz Oette, Counsel at REDRESS, writes about the repercusions of a recent settlement with Kenyan survivors of colonial torture for many other survivors around the world.


 

The Guardian, 7 June 2013, Torture and ill-treatment past and present: REDRESS and eight other NGOs urge the British government in this public letter to establish a prompt inquiry into the alleged complicity of UK officials in the torture of detainees held overseas.


 

The Washington Post Europe, 31 May 2013, British police arrest five men on suspicion of involvement in Rwandan genocide: Tara O'Leary, Universal Jurisdiction Project Coordinator at REDRESS, is quoted in this article.


 

The Independent, 31 May 2013, Five Rwandans arrested by the Met police over 1994 genocide: Tara O'Leary, REDRESS' Universal Jurisdiction Project Coordinator, is quoted in this article.


 

Arise News, 28 May 2013, African Union accuses ICC of targeting Africans: Interview with Théo Boutruche, Post-Conflict Legal Adviser at REDRESS.


 

BBC's Newshour, 14 May 2013, our Deputy Director Mariana Goetz discusses a video in Syria which appears to show a rebel mutilating a corpse (she is on at 04.35)

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