By Paula Buzzi
Impunity Watch Reporter, South America 

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina Former financial manager and legal advisor of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, Sergio Schoklender, was fired late last week and has been banned from leaving the country after being accused of money laundering and embezzlement from the Mothers’ government-donated funds.

Scandal hits Argentinas mothers of the disappeared (Photo courtesy of The Guardian). Scandal hits Argentina’s mothers of the disappeared (Photo courtesy of The Guardian).

The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo are a group of women who, for the past 30 years, have been pressuring the Argentinean government to release information about their sons and daughters who were among the estimated 30,000 people abducted during Argentina’s military regime (1976-1983). As a form of silent protest, the Mothers silently marched in front of Argentina’s national congress every Thursday wearing white head scarves with the names of their missing children embroidered.

Suspicions arose after the Argentine newspaper, Clarin, uncovered Schoklender’s life of luxury on a relatively low government salary. According to Clarin, Schoklender acquired a 19-room mansion, sports cars and a yacht on a $16,000 a year salary.

Schoklender and his brother are suspected of using their titles as financial and legal advisors to steal from public funds given to the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo by the Kirchner administration. Over the years, the Kirchner administration has transferred anywhere from $150 to $300 million into the Mothers’ funds to build low-income housing.

The Federal Justice Ministry and Argentina’s Congress are seizing documents and computers from Schoklender’s office as part of their investigation. In an eight-page document presented to the presiding Federal Judge Norberto Oyarbide, the head of the Plaza de Mayo Association, Hebe de Bonafini, accused the Schoklender brothers of “[operating] as an illegal association through fraudulent administration and false documentation.”

Schoklender, however, denies any wrongdoing and has given Judge Oyarbide financial documents such as bank statements and receipts that he says will prove his innocence.

As an advocate and supporter of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, President Christina Kirchner’s close ties to the association and its leaders could have negative political consequences for her as she faces re-election in October.

For more information, please see:

Buenos Aires Herald — Schoklender denies raiding Mothers of Plaza de Mayo offices —15 June 2011

The Wall Street Journal — Mothers on the March Again in Argentina— Into Scandal —15 June 2011

The Guardian UK — Scandal hits Argentina’s Mothers of the disappeared —12 June 2011

ABC News — Corruption scandal hits Argentina’s Mothers group —9 June 2011


Activists Arrested for Feeding the Homeless in Florida

By Brittney Hodnik
Impunity Watch Reporter, North America

ORLANDO, United States – In the past three weeks, city officials have arrested twelve members of the activist group, Food Not Bombs, for their defiance of a local ordinance.  The ordinance restricts groups to feeding 25 or more people no more than twice per year in each Orlando park.  According to ABC News, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer has gone so far as to call the group, “Food Terrorists.”  Orlando Food Not Bombs says that they will continue to feed the homeless despite the ordinance.

Members of “Food Not Bombs” serving homeless in Orlando. (Photo Courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel)

Food Not Bombs is an international organization known for protests against war, poverty, and environmental destruction, as reported by ABC News.  Recently the group has made it a point to serve the homeless of Orlando with healthy, vegan meals.

According to the Huffington Post, the city passed the ordinance in 2006 after residents complained.  The twice a day feedings became “disruptive” and would often leave a mess.  Food Not Bombs questioned the constitutionality of the ordinance in 2008 and won; the federal district court held that their actions were protected speech.  However, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the ruling, holding that the limitations were not unduly burdensome.

Authorities most recently arrested four activists for serving pancakes and donuts to the homeless in Lake Eola Park, in downtown Orlando.  According to the Orlando Sentinel, the law brings a penalty of 60 days in jail, or a $500 fine, or both.

In an interview with The Orlando Sentinel, Eric Montanez, a member of Food Not Bombs said, “We feel like the park is where the people should be,” and “the real issue is that the city just doesn’t want the homeless here.”

Cathy Jackson, the executive director of the Homeless Services Network of Central Florida disagrees.  According to her interview with ABC News, there are about seven shelters within a mile and a half of Lake Eola Park.  She and Mayor Dyer believe that Food Not Bombs is creating more of a publicity stunt than providing a helpful service.  According to the Orlando Sentinel, Food Not Bombs publicized the event online and the media were encouraged to attend.

The city allows groups to obtain 2 permits per year for each of the 42 parks in Orlando, allowing 84 feedings a year.  The Huffington Post reports that there are at least 10 other groups who proceed with legal feedings in the Orlando area.

However, Theresa McDonald, a homeless woman who uses a wheelchair says that she relies on Food Not Bombs because she cannot afford even the minimal prices charged by the shelters, and it is difficult for her to move from park to park, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Food Not Bombs will again challenge the ordinance, and plans to continue serving food in the meantime.

For more information, please visit:

Huffington Post — Orlando Activists Arrested For Feeding Homeless in Defiance of City Ordinance — 10 June 2011

ABC News — Arrested for Feeding the Homeless in Violation of New Orlando Law — 9 June 2011

Associated Press — 4 More Homeless Activists Arrested in Orlando — 6 June 2011

Orlando Sentinel — Anti-Poverty Group Defies Ban on Feeding Homeless in Orlando’s Parks — 18 May 2011

Orlando Food Not Bombs — Text of Orlando’s Anti-Homeless Feeding Ordinance — 2006

War Crimes Prosecution Watch, Vol. 6, Issue 6 — June 20, 2011

War Crimes Prosecution Watch is prepared by the International Justice Practice of the Public International Law & Policy Group and the Frederick K. Cox International Law Center of Case Western Reserve University School of Law.


Central African Republic & Uganda

Darfur, Sudan

Democratic Republic of the Congo




International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

Special Court for Sierra Leone


European Court of Human Rights

Court of Bosnia & Herzegovina, War Crimes Chamber

International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Domestic Prosecutions In The Former Yugoslavia


Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

Special Tribunal for Lebanon

Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal




Universal Jurisdiction

Gender-Based Violence

War Crimes Prosecution Watch is a bi-weekly e-newsletter that compiles official documents and articles from major news sources detailing and analyzing salient issues pertaining to the investigation and prosecution of war crimes throughout the world. For more information about War Crimes Prosecution Watch, please contact

Human Rights Council: Report Of The International Commission of Inquiry To Investigate All Alleged Violations Of International Human Rights Law In The Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

Report of the International Commission of Inquiry to investigate all alleged violations of international hu…

U.N. passes resolution to combat LGBT discrimination

By Greg Hall
Impunity Watch Reporter, Europe

GENEVA, Switzerland – The United Nations narrowly passed a resolution on human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity by a slim margin, with twenty-three countries in favor and nineteen opposed. The resolution is intended to combat discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender people. It establishes a formal UN process to document human rights abuses against these groups.

The U.N. resolution passed this week is a victory for the LGBT community. (Photo courtesy of Deutsche Welle)
The U.N. resolution passed this week is a victory for the LGBT community. (Photo courtesy of Deutsche Welle)

Proponents of the resolution argue that the endorsement vindicates a continuing international movement to end infringements on human rights based on sexual orientation. “This represents an historic moment to highlight the human rights abuses and violations that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people face around the world based solely on who they are and whom they love,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in a statement. Furthermore, proponents argue that the resolution demonstrates the universality of human rights.

Opponents question the legal aspects of the resolution. “We are seriously concerned at the attempt to introduce to the United Nations some notions that have no legal foundation,” said Pakistan’s Zamir Akram. In addition, speaking on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Pakistan said the resolution had “nothing to do with fundamental human rights.” A diplomat from the African state of Mauritania called the resolution “an attempt to replace the natural rights of a human being with an unnatural right.”

Asked what good the U.N. resolution would do in countries that opposed the resolution, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary Daniel Baer said it was a signal “that there are many people in the international community who stand with them and who support them, and that change will come. It’s an historic method of tyranny to make you feel that you are alone,” he said. “One of the things that this resolution does for people everywhere, particularly LGBT people everywhere, is remind them that they are not alone.”

The resolution requests that the High Commissioner for Human Rights prepare a study on violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and calls for a panel discussion to be held at the Human Rights Council to discuss the findings of the study in a constructive and transparent manner, and to consider appropriate follow-up. It is believed that a great number of crimes against gay, lesbian, and transgender people are concealed or minimized. The resolution seeks to bring to light these atrocities and human rights abuses.

For more information, please see:

Detroit Free Press – U.S. calls first UN gay rights resolution historic – 18 June 2011

The New Civil Rights Movement – Will the UN’s historic human rights resolution reduce ‘corrective’ rape? – 18 June 2011

Huffington Post – U.N. Gay rights protection resolution passes, hailed as ‘historic moment’ – 17 June 2011

IGLHRC – Historic decision at the United Nations: Human Rights Council passes first-ever on sexual orientation and gender identity – 17 June 2011

The Slatest – U.N. endorses gay rights for first time – 17 June 2011