Over 11,000 Children Killed During Syrian Conflict

By Darrin Simmons
Impunity Watch Reporter, Middle East

DAMASCUS, Syria-A new report has been released, uncovering the overwhelming death count of children in Syria, especially those who have been killed by sniper fire.  Titled Stolen Futures – the Hidden Toll of Child Casualties in Syria, the report examines data from March 2011 to August 2013, in the midst of the Syrian conflict.

A Syrian child waits in line to be registered by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, after fleeing Syria (photo courtesy of Huffington Post)

Details of the report confirm that during the conflict there have been 11,420 victims aged 17 and under with 389 of them being killed by sniper fire.  Nearly 764 of the victims were executed, and more than 100, including infants, were tortured.

Hana Salam, a co-author of the report, said the method of the child killings was horrifyingly disturbing, stating they were “Bombed in their homes, in their communities, during day-to-day activities such as waiting in bread lines or attending school.  Shot by bullets in crossfire, targeted by snipers, summarily executed, even gassed and tortured.”

Hamit Dardagan, another co-author, stated, “This study shows why explosive weapons should never be used where children live and play, how older children quickly become ttargets ina war and even the youngest suffer its worst abuses.”

“This grim and terrible record also shows why a sustainable peace, not more bombs and bullets, is the only way to guarantee the safety of children.  All conflict parties need to take responsibility for the protection of children, and ultimately find a peaceful solution for the war itself,” Dardagan further said.

In creating the report and drawing official figures, Salam and Dardagan used Syrian databases of casualty reports obtained by the United Nations.  They also looked closely at the age of the victims and the way they were killed and stressed that it might be incomplete due to the difficulties in receiving accurate data during times of conflict.

The report further stated that among the dead, boys outnumbered girls almost two to one.  Boys aged 13 to 17 were the most likely victims of targeted killings. The report concludes saying that the conflict has created a catastrophic effect on Syrian children and all sides must refrain from targeting civilians and buildings such as schools, hospitals, and places of worship.

Aleppo, the Syrian city with the highest child deaths, had 2,223 children killed mainly by bombs or shells in their own neighborhoods.  More than 120 children were killed during a chemical weapons attack in the city of Ghouta on August 21st.

The United Nations has estimated that more than 100,000 people have been killed during the Syrian Conflict.

For more information, please see the following: 

Global Dispatch-Over 11,000 Children Killed In Syria’s Civil War, Hundreds Targeted By Sniper-25 November 2013

Global Post-11,000 children killed in Syrian conflict, hundreds targeted by snipers, report says-24 November 2013

Huffington Post-11,000 Syrian Children Killed In Bombings, Sniper Fire, Or Executed, Report Finds-24 November 2013

BBC News-Syria conflict: Children ‘targeted by snipers’-23 November 2013

 

SNHR: Urgent Appeal for the Release of Prisoners of Conscience and all Detainees in Syria

Urgent appeal for the release of prisoners of conscience and all detainees in Syria. The undersigned organizations expresses their utmost concerns for the fate of tens of thousands of detainees in Syria, and urges all parties to guarantee in all circumstances their physical and psychological integrity and release those arbitrarily detained.
For more than 2 years and a half, the Syrian government has been carrying out large scale campaigns of arbitrary arrests and has jailed tens of thousands of civilians including peaceful protestors, civil society and political activists, aid workers and journalists, physicians and lawyers without sparing women, children, and people with disabilities and serious medical conditions. Corroborative reports issued by Syrian human groups indicate that thousands of detainees died inside governmental detention centers where detention conditions fall short of minimum human rights and humanitarian standards.

The whole criminal procedure fails to comply not only with international standards, but also with the Syrian Constitution and domestic regulations. Detainees in governmental detention facilities face on a daily basis the most severe human rights violations including the widespread and systematic use of torture during pre-trial and post-trial periods, widespread policy of starvation and deliberate neglect of health of some detainees leading in many cases to their death.

Detainees in State security detention centers, military prisons and central prisons remain held “incommunicado” for months, and often for years, in violation of domestic provisions. Thousands are detained in inhumane conditions in underground secret branches and civilians are routinely detained in military detention facilities. At this date, dozens of thousands are subjected to enforced disappearance. Civilians, including peaceful activists are systematically presented before jurisdictions that fail to comply with the most basic guarantees for the respect of principles of fair trial, including military field courts and anti- terrorism courts.

Our organizations are also extremely concerned by the fate of hundreds of persons detained by armed groups, notably extremist Islamic groups, which are increasingly gaining power in areas outside the control of the Syrian government. Some of these groups forcefully impose a new social system in regions under their control, preventing the civilian population from practicing their basic rights. Hundreds of cases of kidnapping of those opposing their authority including by peaceful means have been reported, along with other serious human rights abuses. Local “Shariaa” courts that do not meet any basic guarantee of fair trial have also been established.

The undersigned organizations remind that the Syrian government is bound by the international human rights principles, even in time of war, and that all parties in an armed conflict are compelled to abide by International Humanitarian Law principles. All parties responsible of and involved in international crimes must be held accountable and prosecuted by independent and impartial competent jurisdiction that fully comply with international standards, either at domestic or international level.

The Syrian government should not use the expansive powers of the country’s Anti-Terrorism Law or any other law to target human rights defenders, journalists, humanitarian workers and other peaceful activists. The Syrian government should also guarantee in all circumstances that human rights defenders in Syria are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.

Our organizations hold the Syrian authorities and all parties involved in the conflict responsible for the physical and psychological integrity of the persons they detain. They must immediately take steps to release all persons illegally detained and grant access to independent monitoring mechanisms and in particular the International Committee of the Red Cross to all detention centers in the country. Courts that do not present any guarantees to protect the right of the accused detainees should be abolished without delay whether field courts, anti-terrorism courts or Sharia courts.

At a time of renewed attempts for a political compromise that would end violence in Syria, the undersigned organizations urge all parties involved directly and indirectly in the conflict to grant absolute priority to the release of all persons arbitrarily detained.

Signatories

Alkarama Foundation
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN)
Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR)
HIVOS
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR)

Palestinian Human Rights Organization (PHRO)
Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
World Organization Against Torture (OMCT)

Al Kawakibi Organization for Human Rights
Arab Organization for Human Rights in Syria
Assyrian Human Rights Network (AHRN)
Center for Civil Society and Democracy in Syria
Citizenship Movement
Coalition of Syrian Women for Democracy
Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies (DCHRS)
Equal Citizenship Center
Equality Organization
Etana Press
Fardous League
Kurdish Organization for Human Rights in Syria (MAF)
Kurdish Committee for Human Rights (RASED)
Kurdish Organization for Public Freedoms and Human Rights in Syria (DAD)
Lawyers for Democracy
Legal Center for Documentation of Violations Al Raqeeb
National Organization for Human Rights in Syria
Syrian Center for Human Rights (SCHR)
Syrian Center for Legal Studies and research
Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM)
Syrian Democratic Institute
Syrian Human rights Committee
Syrian Human Rights League (SHRL)
Syrian Journalists Association
Syrian League for Citizenship
Syrian Organization for Human Rights – Sawasyah
Syrian Women Network Shams
Syrian Women League
Syrian Women Organization for State of Citizenship
Syrian Women Platform for Peace
Tawasol Movement
The Day After
Violations Documentation Center in Syria (VDC)

This statement is open for signatures by Human Rights Organizations willing to support the campaign for all detainees in Syria. In order to contribute, please contactfreedetaineescampaignsyria@gmail.com

Scottish Government Releases Plan for an Independence From United Kingdom Ahead of 2014 Referendum

by Tony Iozzo
Impunity Watch Reporter, Europe

GLASGOW, Scotland – Scotland’s “white paper”, a legal argument for the country’s independence, was unveiled earlier this week in Glasgow.

The “white paper” was released in Glasgow on Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of The Scotsman)

The 670-page document, released by Scotland’s first minister Alex Salmond, set forth the democratic, social, and economic reasons for Scotland to leave the United Kingdom. The white paper arrives a year before a referendum on the issue to be held next year.

“Scotland’s future is now in Scotland’s hands,” Salmond said on Tuesday, during the launch in Glasgow. “It won’t be decided by me, it won’t be decided by our opponents, it won’t be decided by the media. It will be decided by the people.”

Salmond stated that the much-anticipated white paper will enable the dismantling of the United Kingdom. Under the plan, Scotland would continue using the pound as its currency, would retain the queen as its head of state, and the country would retain its membership in the European Union. However, Scotland would have its own defense force and collect its own taxes.

The white paper also sets out detailed plans for currency, taxation, childcare, welfare and other issues that may face an independent Scotland. Salmond stated that there would be no need to increase taxes once Scotland seceded from the U.K. Salmond also said that Scottish taxes would not be spent on nuclear programs and the United Kingdom’s nuclear missiles, currently stored in Scotland, would be relocated elsewhere.

“We know we have the people, the skills and resources to make Scotland a more successful country. Independence will put the people of Scotland in charge of our own destiny,” Salmond stated. He added that he wanted to tackle a “legacy of debt” stemming from Scotland’s union with England.

The plan calls for Scotland’s oil and gas reserves to presumably boost Scotland’s economy for the next 50 years, but the country will look to renewable energy thereafter.

Meanwhile, the UK government is campaigning to retain the more than 300-year-old union between England and Scotland. The referendum is to be held on September 18 of next year, 2014.

For more information, please see:

The Scotsman – As it Happened: Scottish Government’s White Paper Launch – 27 November 2013

Al Jazeera – Scottish Nationalists Launch Independence Bid – 26 November 2013

BBC News – Scottish Independence: Voter’s Views on White Paper – 26 November 2013

The Guardian – Scotland: Assertions of Independence – 26 November 2013

Human Rights Group Says 6,000 Women Raped During Syrian Conflict

By Thomas Murphy
Impunity Watch Reporter, Middle East

DAMASCUS, Syria – A report issued by the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network estimates that 6,000 women have been raped since the beginning of the Syrian conflict. The report adds that women are being targeted by snipers and used as human shields.

The report documented 6,000 cases of rape with many more likely unreported. (Photo Courtesy of AP)

The report states the capture, torture, and rape of women is used as strategy to leverage prisoner exchanges and exact revenge on the opposition. Often times women will be abducted in effort to force their male relatives to surrender.

“They are being used as privilege, not in the sense that they are favored, but because sometimes of their relationship to opposition members or government-related members,” EMHRN spokeswoman Hayet Zeghiche told the BBC.

Many of the rape victims are socially stigmatized and forced to leave their families or fear returning to their families because of possible retribution. The social stigma attached to rape victims leaves them alone and isolated.

“Syrian women exposed to sexual abuses subsequently found themselves victimized not only by the crime itself, but also by enduring the silence that surrounds the crime and the social pressure related to it,” the report said.

The findings were backed up by Lauren Wolfe, an award-winning journalist who has focused on rape in conflict for several years. She is currently the director of Women Under Siege, a group that has been mapping reports of sexual violence in Syria over the past year.

“The general rule that I go by, and a lot of public health researchers go by, is for every one woman who speaks out, there are up to 10 more that remain silent,” Wolfe said.

Seventy-percent of the documented rape victims report that they were raped by government or pro-government forces. This is not uncommon in scenarios where, like in Syria, rebel fighters rely heavily on civilian support.

The report said rape was documented in seven provinces, including Damascus, mostly “during governmental raids, at checkpoints and within detention facilities.”

On Monday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced that first peace talks during the conflict would begin on January 22. He added that it would be “unforgivable not to seize this opportunity to bring an end to the suffering and destruction.”

For further information, please see:

BBC – Syria conflict: Women ‘targets of abuse and torture’ – 26 November 2013

Global Post – 6,000 cases of women raped during Syrian conflict, human rights group says – 26 November 2013

Gulf News – ‘Rape used as women of war against Syria women’ – 25 November 2013

Reuters – Syrian women suffer inside their country and out – 11 November 2013

Saudi Court Sentences US Jeddah Consulate Attacker to Death

By Thomas Murphy
Impunity Watch Reporter, Middle East

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – A Saudi court has sentenced one man to death and nineteen others to jail in connection with the 2004 US Consulate attack in the Red Sea city of Jeddah. The nineteen others received sentences ranging from eighteen months to twenty-five years.

The attack on Jeddah US consulate in 2004 killed nine people in total. (Photo Courtesy of AP)

The lone man sentenced to death was one of the attackers that stormed the building in the December 6 attack. The others were convicted of being part of a “deviant group” (Al-Qaeda) and supporting the Jeddah attack and another attack on a petrol facility that same year.

In the Jeddah attack, five militants attacked the US consulate with bombs and guns, managing to make their way inside while taking hostages at gunpoint. The whole ordeal last three hours and resulted in the death of five locally hired consulate workers. Three of the five attackers were killed by Saudi security forces in the raid and two were captured, but one later died of his injuries.

The attack was one in a series that year, perpetrated by Al-Qaeda in an effort to oust the ruling Al-Saud family. They were aimed at Western targets and left dozens of foreigners and Saudi citizens dead. The Al-Saud family, who previously had not thought much of Al-Qaeda, changed their attitude as the attacks mounted. The campaign to overthrow the Al-Saud family was crushed in 2006 and resulted in the detainment of more than 11,000 people.

The detainment and retaliation against Al-Qaeda resulted in controversy as many of the detained and their family claimed unfair treatment the hands of the regime. Some of the claims in include indefinite detention without charges and torture.

The Saudi Press Agency has reported that after the execution the body of the attacker will be put on public display to demonstrate the folly of such actions. This is the ultimate form of punishment in the Saudi kingdom.

Thirty-five more men will face hearing later this week and are also charged with being part of the same “deviant group.” All those convicted are given thirty days to appeal.

For further information, please see:

Al Jazeera – Saudi court sentences man to death – 26 November 2013

BBC – Saudi Arabia sentences US consulate attacked to death – 25 November 2013

Fox News – Saudi Arabia order execution over 2004 attack on US consulate – 25 November 2013

Reuters – Jeddah US consulate attacker sentenced to death, others jailed – 25 November 2013

Egypt Passes Law Restricting Public Protests

By Darrin Simmons
Impunity Watch Reporter, Impunity Watch

CAIRO, Egypt-A new restrictive “protest law” requiring Egyptians to seek approval days in advance before organizing demonstrations has been signed by Egypt’s interim president, Adly Mansour.

Police monitor protesters in Cairo (photo courtesy of Voice of America)

Rights groups tried to encourage Mansour to reject the law with a joint statement from 19 Egyptian organizations. The statement read, “The draft law seeks to criminalize all forms of peaceful assembly, including demonstrations and public meetings, and gives the state free hand to disperse peaceful gatherings by use of force.”

The law has undergone numerous revisions, but may rights groups are claiming that the latest version requires protesters to obtain approval from police three days in advance of holding a protest.  The interior ministry is also allowed to block rallies that could “pose a serious threat to security or peace.”

The widespread latitude to use force that the police will have could give the government a pretext for a widespread crackdown.  The law will take effect later this week upon the final text being published in the official state register.

The law distinguishes between types of protests requiring that election campaign event have a 24-hour notification period and processions of more than ten people are only allowed for “non-political purposes.  Violators could face fines of up to $4,360.

“They could have stuck to earlier versions, where if the interior ministry wants to ban a protest, the onus is on them to go to court and seek a ban.  Instead they’ve done the opposite.  The end result is that we could see an increase in violent crackdowns on peaceful protests,” said Heba Morayef, the Egypt director for Human Rights Watch.

Other restrictive laws are being brought to the table for discussion and debate.  One such law would criminalize “abusive graffiti” while another less descriptively worded would deal with “anti-terrorist” to further clamp down on peaceful political activism.

The cabinet claims that these restrictive laws are needed to help regulate near-daily protests in Cairo and across the country, especially those protests with the potential to turn violent.

Last week, authorities removed a three-month state of emergency and night-time curfew imposed following a clearing of two Cairo sit-ins which were filled with supporters of overthrown president Mohamed Morsi.  The following two days resulted in the death of more than a thousand people.

For more information, please see the following: 

Al Jazeera-Egypt passes law restricting public protests-24 November 2013

Deutsche Welle-Egypt passes new laws restricting protests-24 November 2013

Reuters-Egypt’s interim president signs law restricting protests-24 November 2013

Voice of America-Egypt’s Interim President Signs Law Restricting Protests-24 November 2013

 

Ukraine Mourns Eightieth Anniversary of Famine That Killed Millions

By Ben Kopp
Impunity Watch Reporter, Europe

KIEV, Ukraine –Ukrainians gathered to remember the 1933 famine that killed millions. President Yanukovych urged citizens not to politicize the tragedy in the light of recent events.

Nina Karpenko told BBC of her experience during the Ukrainian famine. (Photo courtesy of BBC)

In 1933, famine killed millions of Ukrainians in what many called genocidal death by hunger, or “the Holodomor.” Some citizens were able to survive by gathering cheap cornmeal, wheat chaff, dried nettle leaves, and weeds. While some historians believe the number of those who died was approximately 3.3 million, others estimate much higher numbers.

Many survivors believed that Joseph Stalin wanted the Ukrainian peasants starved into submission, so that he could force them onto collective farms. When the Kremlin demanded more grain than the farms had, Bolshevik forces pillaged villages for anything edible.

“The brigades took all the wheat, barley – everything – so we had nothing left,” said survivor Nina Karpenko. “Even beans that people had set aside just in case. The brigades crawled everywhere and took everything. People had nothing left to do but die.”

Many villagers migrated to the cities in search of food, but often died before finding sustenance. As corpses began littering the roadsides, reports of cannibalism piled up. As entire villages died off, some of the most fertile land in the world became silent wastelands.

Soviet authorities eventually closed Ukraine’s borders, which prevented Ukrainians from traveling abroad to retrieve food.

“The government did everything it could to prevent peasants from entering other regions and looking for bread,” said Oleksandra Monetova, from Kiev’s Holodomor Memorial Museum. “The officials’ intentions were clear. To me it’s a genocide. I have no doubt.”

“There was a deathly silence,” said Karpenko. “Because people weren’t even conscious. They didn’t want to speak or to look at anything. They thought today that person died, and tomorrow it will be me. Everyone just thought of death.”

By the time children returned to the schools in 1934, over half the seats in each room were empty.

Russian authorities deny that the Holodomor was intentional, stating that other Soviet regions suffered around that time. Further, Russia has declared that “genocide” is a nationalistic interpretation of what happened.

Since 2006, Ukrainians have marked the fourth Saturday of each November as Holodomor Remembrance Day.

On 23 November 2013, thousands marched through central Kiev to protest Ukraine’s decision to snub the EU in favor of Russia.

In response, Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych denounced “the politicization of tragic historical events.”

Yanukovych said, “Today we must discard the political debate and unite. On this sad day, we are all united by the memory about our dead compatriots. This day [the Holodomor Remembrance Day] should be out of politics.”

For further information, please see:

Bloomberg Businessweek – Ukraine Marks Tragic Date amid Setback on EU Hopes – November 23, 2013

International Business Times – Ukraine Commemorates Millions Who Died in Stalin’s Holodomor Reign of Terror – November 23, 2013

Interfax Ukraine – Yanukovych Says Politicization of Tragic Events Is Unacceptable – November 23, 2013

BBC – Holodomor: Memories of Ukraine’s Silent Massacre – November 22, 2013

SNHR: Syrian Universal Children’s Day: More than 12,000 Children Killed, Including 92 Tortured to Death, and 10 who were starved to death. Almost 300,000 Wounded Children, and 9,000 Children Detained

Report prepared by Syrian Network for Human Rights

Date of the report: 20/11/2013

 

Rule 135. of Customary IHL

Rule 135. Children affected by armed conflict are entitled to special respect and protection.

 

Introduction:

In mid – February 2012 , The nature of the Syrian conflict was described as a non international armed conflict, meaning that each party to the conflict should be bound to apply Common Article 3 to the four Geneva Conventions as well as Customary Norms of International Human Rights Law relating to non international armed conflicts.

Security council resolution 1325/2000: emphasizing all member states to implement  fully international humanitarian law and human rights , based violence during conflicts.

International criminal law provides means to implement international sanctions for serious violations against customary law , international law and international human rights law Where these crimes are seen as an individual commitment .As noted the international criminal law trial persons accused of such crimes : genocide ,crimes against humanity , aggression crimes and war crimes  .

As of February 2013, 122 states are states parties to the Rome Statues of International Criminal Court , although Syrian Arab Republic had signed the Rome Statue of International Criminal Court , but has not ratified the treaty yet

According to Article 13 of ICC

(Exercise of jurisdiction)

(b)     A situation in which one or more of such crimes appears to have been committed is referred to the Prosecutor by the Security Council acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations; or

The Security Council can refer the Syrian file to the Prosecutor of the ICC for investigation.

 

Violations committed by Syrian Government

 

1- Unlawful killing

2- Wounded children

3- Arresting and torturing children

4- Sexual violence

5- Refugee children

6- Child recruitment

==================================

First: Unlawful killing:

Documenting the death toll killed by Syrian Government Forces

SNHR: By the daily monitoring from over 100 of our members deployed in all of the Syrian provinces and their direct connection to the events that took place on the Syrian territory, we have documented since 18/3/2011 until 20/11/2013, at least the killings of 12,027 children by Government Forces. The annex below documents our file names, photos, date and place of their martyrdom.

3,614 are female child-victims , 8,413 male-child victims

 

Among the 12,027 child victim there are:

  1. At least 560 field executed, either slaughtered by knifes as in Hwola village massacre, Karm Alziton neighborhood massacre, and Rifaai neighborhood massacre in Homs, finally Raas Alnabaa and Biyda village massacre in Baniyas, or shot as what happened in many places and villages all around Syria:
  2. 2,344 children below 10 years
  3. 391 are infants

 

Different and multiple ways that children were killed:

1-    Shelling

2-    Sniping

3-    Raiding and field executions

4-    Starving to death: 10 children starved to death including 9 in the Western Damascus countryside and 1 in Yarmouk refugee camp south of Damascus

5-    Shockingly: Among at least 215,000 Syrian detainees; more than 9,000 are children (under 18). Syrian governorates armed forces used very violent torture methods against them that barley differ from methods they use against adults. They don’t differentiate between children and adults in detention. Many of those who were released told us that they herd the crying of the children scream, “we want our mother, we want to get out.” 92 of them were tortured to death.

Please find all the aforementioned details, documented carefully in the following annex (it contains information to 4/6/2013, but the numbers are updated to 20/9/2013)

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B9Bj18tlYYKBZ0VEanJ6djR4MGM/edit

———————————————-

Syrian Network for Human Rights’ director Fadel Abdulghani said: “Syrian government always claims that they are fighting Al-Qaeda, Afghan, and terrorisms, but the attacks are deliberately, systematically and widespread directed against civilians, so considered as war crime according to article 8 of  the Rome Statute, it led to the kill thousands of children in all of the Syria governorates, so they are systematically and widespread, and therefore amount to crimes against humanity according to the article 7 of Rome Statute.”

 

Testimony of  Rashid Farouk Otfah, brother of the female victim Lujain Otfah, and uncle of two female child-victims: Leen and Laila

You can communicate with the witness by Skype account:

rasheedgaf

“Wednesday: 2/10/2013, almost 12 o’clock at noon, the family consists of father Khalid Otfah, his wife Lujain, and her two daughters Leen and Laila, went out towards Lebanon, to attend the wedding of my second sister ( sister of Lujain ), when they arrived to Qabo area, they called us and told us that they arrived to Qabo area and after a while we will enter the Lebanese border , then the communication was cut, we have tried to connect them many times but all the phones were out of the coverage area, after two days military hospital of Homs called Khaled’s brother, and asked him to come to the hospital to identify the bodies, there, they told him that the residents found the bodies shot and burned in agricultural land, he could recognize Lujain from her face that didn’t  burn so much, on twin sisters Leen and Laila from her clothes, after two days the military hospital of Homs again, and told them there was another body almost 5 minutes away by walk from the other bodies, this body was fully distorted , cut and near a car without registration plate  and empty of everything except water bill with the name of Khaled Otfah, Khalid’s brother went and identify his brother from his shoes, belt, and a piece of his shirt.”

———————————-

Testimony of Mra. S A from Daraa, refused to reveal her identity, to SNHR about the injury of her fetus cause of shelling, 23/9/2013.

” I was in my house, and pregnant in the week 32, at the end of the eight month, when I injured with shrapnel cause of MIG shelling, penetrated my abdomen from the right side to the left side, it led to hurt Abdominal viscera, including womb, the shrapnel hit the head of  the fetus inside the womb with 7 cm long wound, I was transported to the hospital, the fetus was extracted by Caesarean section, conducted the necessary first aid, they told me that I have Ruptured intestines, and injury in Ureter

The infant was send to the hospital, lost half of his blood, sewing the wound, and repair the broken skull, then transferred red blood cells to the child, and I named him Abdullah

I had broke of pelvis, injury in viscera, and underwent a ureter transplant in the field hospital.”

Photo of the infant Abdullah:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4PBLuuH0DW_bHBhMTBHS0hhUTg/edit?usp=sharing

—————————————————

Proportion of the killed children

Civilians make up the greatest number of victims killed by Syrian Government Armed Forces. Their proportion is 88% and the proportion of killed armed rebels is less than 12%. This rate exceeds the proportion of civilian victims that were killed in World War I and II, which was 57 %.

The proportion of children killed is 12%, which is a very, very high and shocking rate and strict proof of civilians being targeted by the Syrian government’s Armed Forces through the systematic shelling by Scud missiles, deliberate and barbaric random shelling with TNT by warplanes shelling over the heads of civilians indiscriminately.

====================================

Second: Wounded Children

According to research conducted by Syrian Network for Human Rights about wounded and injured victims, since the beginning of the fights in Syria, they exceeded one million wounded. 30% of them are children, meaning more than 300.000 children are injured. Some of them had severe injuries, and others had slightly severe or mild wounds they healed from. A sniper who knew exactly that he was targeting children caused most of these injuries. According to the investigated report of the wounded, among the wounded children, there are at least 1,300 amputees, and 800 cases where children died from infected wounds.

————————————–

Testimony of the injured child Ahmad about the details of his injury:

” I am Ahmad Alissa, 13 years old, student at Darkosh elementary school, grade seven, my mother sent me to buy some widgets to the house, from the shops in the public square of Dardakosh, it was the morning of Monday 14/10/2013, the day before Aladha Eid, at 8:30 am.

I entered a shop that selling meat, then I heard the sound of very big explosion , I thrown away because of it, and then entered a coma, wake up later in a Turkish hospital.

My right hand was broken, minor burns in legs, some fragments in various parts of my body, the most difficult was next to my left eye

My family lost me in the incident, because one of the residents transferred me to the hospital, where they found me hardly the next day

I stayed in the hospital for four days and then back to my home, I’m recovering after they take out the shrapnel, splint the fractures, and heal the burns, I go to the hospitals in Darkosh every two days, to change bandages and monitor my health situation.

Thanks God, my luck was better than from those who totally burned or lose some of their parts”

Darkosh of Idlib countryside 24/10/2013

=======================================

Third : Arrest and detention of children

SNHR estimates at least 9,000 children inside security branches and prisons, were arrested during the raids. Many of them arrested to exert pressure on their relatives.

Many surviving children told the story of their suffering and how the same cruel methods of torture against adult men were used against them.

SNHR documented the most common torture methods used against children during their detention in Security Branches or prisons. According to testimonies of children who survived the prisons:

1-    The use of all methods of physical abuse performed on all body parts with different tools such as stakes and electric cables, called colloquially (Robai), to beat the soles and the tread of their heads.

2-     Completely uprooting fingernails.

3-    Removing hair from different parts of the body.

4-    Cutting out flesh by forceps from sensitive organs.

5-    Cutting out some parts of the detainee’s body; such as fingers, flesh, or stabbing them in the back or stomach.

6-    Burning detainee’s skin with chemical acids or cigarettes.

7-    Exposing the detainee after being forced to take off all his or her clothes and to extremely cold temperatures.

8-    Completely depriving the detainee from medical care as there is a lack of medical care in large number of prisons.

9-    Preventing the detainee from using the toilet more than once or twice a day, forcing him/her sometimes to urinate on himself/herself. If the detainee is allowed to use the toilet, the period may not exceed a minute. The detainee is also prevented from taking showers, and going out for a breath of fresh air.

10- Pouring cold water over the body after being hit and wounded.

11- Cracking ribs.

12- Insufficient amount of water and food, where a quarter of detainees lack access to sustenance already.

13- Pouring boiling oil or water over legs.

14- Cutting the ear with clippers used to trim trees.

15- Beating detainees’ ears and noses with a mallet.

16- Electric shock, especially on breasts, knees, and elbows.

These torture methods led to the death of more than 92 children documented by name, date, photo, and video.

All those detained children are deprived of education and stopped their studies with at least another 150,000 children because of the destruction, shelling, and damage done to almost 3,200 schools. Many other schools were broken into.

==============================

Fourth: Sexual Violence

By conducting multiple interviews with sexual violence victims, we found that there have been dozens of minors (under 18) who were raped. We can’t give accurate statistics, but there are many cases that we couldn’t document because other concerned persons declined to talk about it, but our estimations refer to more than 400 rapes against minor girls in various Syrian Governorates.

Girls under 15 in Refai, Karm Alzaitoun and Baba Amr neighborhoods in Homs were raped by Syrian government armed forces. In many similar cases that took place against other minor girls in Damascus countryside, Idlib (precisely in Jisr Alshagour), Daraa, Hama, Lattakia, and other areas, these are extensive, systematic methods that reflected negatively and terribly on the psyches of those girls since they never had sex. Some of them didn’t even know what sex was. Many of them collapsed when they were talking about what happened to them, most of the documented rape cases occurred during raids, and others in detentions.

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Fifth: Child Recruitment

Syrian Government Forces used children in some case as guards at barriers in some neighborhoods of Damascus.

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Sixth: refugee Child

According to the last statistic conducted by SNHR: the  number of Syrian refugees is at least 3.150.000, including 1.6 million children below 18 years old.

Testimony of 12 years old refugee child in Turkey Mohamad Nazem Al-Ibrahim, from Kafar Nubal

He told us “the first demonstration that I participated alone was in 22/8/2013, I injured by missile fragment, cause they shell a place near the demonstration, after a while in 5/11/2012, my mother killed in warplane shelling on our house, now I am refugee in Turkey without my mother”

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Attachment and annexes :samples of the extensive  systematic violations took place in all the Syrian governorates against children of the Syrian people

Aleppo Governorate :

–       Aleppo – Albab , 13-9-2012 ,  child tell about the shelling of his house by government forces

–       Aleppo – Bustan Alqasr , 20-8-2012 , child t tell how he injured cause of shelling on his house

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knuJRUquKUQ

 

Dier Alzoor Governorate

–       Dier Alzoor , 31-7-2012 , child tell how government forces shelled his house

 

Lattakia  Governorate :

–       Lattakia countryside , Hafa , 31-12-2012 , child explain how Shabiha killed his mother

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dB8Lhh0bXik

 

Daraa Governorate :

–       Daraa , Daael , 29-4-2012 , child tell how he shot by a sniper bullet

 

Hama Governorate

–       Hama countryside, Lattamna , 13-4-2012 , child tell the details of Latamna massacre conducted by government forces.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Azdk85wtKAM

 

Damascus and countryside Governorate  

–       Damascus countryside – Doma , 3-3-2013 , child tell the story of shelling his house by government forces

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GezSqhhBVxM

–       Damascus countryside – Arbin , 27-1-2013 , child speak about his suffering from shelling by government forces

–       Damascus – Kafar Batna , 8-11-2012 , wounded child talk about the kill of his brother cause of shelling

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-6K81VaNqE

 

Idlib Governorate

–       Idlib – Maarat Masrin , 4-12-2012 , girl child talk about her injury cause of shelling her town by government forces.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgtE2OJbryk

 

Homs Governorate

– Homs- Hwla, 17-1-2013, Child narrate the story of shelling his house by government forces

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Legal conclusions:

The Syrian Government violated both International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law.

Syrian Government Forces committed extensive systematic war crimes and crimes against humanity by unlawful killings, torture, sexual violence according to Article 7 and Article 8 of Rome Statue , and many other rules of  Customary IHL (rules No. 89-90-93-97-120-135)

 

Violations committed by Armed Rebels:

 

1-    Most common violations committed by Armed Rebels is the use of children under the age of 18 in dangerous non-combat roles (such as: support fighters, medical support, correspondence, espionage, cooking, and other services etc….), and in some rare conditions, fighting and carrying weapons.

2-    SNHR documented the deaths of at least 22 children, most of them killed during shell by armed opposition against areas loyal to Syrian’s regime.

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B9Bj18tlYYKBWnVVdi1EZ3RJM0E/edit

3-     SNHR didn’t document any cases of torture or rape committed by armed rebels.

 

==================================

Conclusions:

1-    SNHR is watching the use of children in dangerous non-combat roles and other rare cases in combat roles and carrying weapons, although it is not extensive, with concern.

2-    ICC considers the conscripting and enlisting of children under the age of 15, and using them to participate in hostilities as war crimes.

3-    SNHR didn’t document any case of carrying weapons for children under 15, but there is evidence and documented cases where children participated in  non-combat roles.

 

Condemnation and responsibilities:

Responsibility of states for internationally wrongful acts, similarly Customary IHL provides that states that the state is responsible for all acts committed by a members of  its military and security forces , thus  the states is responsible of wrongful acts committed by its military and security forces including crimes against humanity

 

Prohibition crimes against humanity are among the rules of jus cogens or peremptory , and punish such crimes is compulsory according to the General principles of international law. Moreover, the crimes against humanity are the height violations of basic human rights, such as the right to life and prohibition of torture or other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. In accordance with the principles of State responsibility in international law, Syrian Arabic Republic hold responsibility for such crimes and violations, the duty to ensure punishment of the perpetrators individually and the duty to provide compensation to victims

 

SNHR hold all violations committed by Syrian Government Armed Forces to the Syrian government and the  General Commander of the army and the armed forces, Bashar Al-Assad, and to all the officials of security branches , and to all  financially and morally supporters to those forces, with the legal judicial and material consequences to the victims and their families in addition to all the reactions that will come by the families  or their friends

 

We also condemn violations committed by some armed rebel factions and demand interim government to take its responsibility in this regard

 

 

Recommendations:

 

Human right council

1-    Call upon security council and relevant organizations to take upon their responsibility towards what’s happening Syrian children from killing , rape , rape and displacement

2-    Exert pressure on the Syrian government to stop torturing , demanding the release of all children and stop pressure on their parents through detention and torture them

3-    Hold the allies and supporter of the Syrian government : Russia , Iran , China ,  moral and physical responsibility towards what’s happening Syrian children

4-    Serious attention of this case and give it high priority and , and try to take care of torture victims families

 

 

Security Council :

1-    Decision to refer all the criminals and the involved to ICC

2-    Warn the Syrian Government Troops  of the repercussions of using brutal methods and systematic killing and send clear messages about

Arab League  :

1-    Demand Human Right Council and United Nations to give this serious issue the right attention and follow up

2-    Serious attention of this case and give it high priority, and try to take care of torture child victims and mentally , physically , educationally rehab them

3-    Political and diplomatic pressure on the Syrian Government Troops’ main allies – Russia, Iran and China – to prevent them from continuous providing cover and international and political protection for all the crimes committed against the Syrian people and hold them moral and physical responsibility for all the excesses of the Syrian Government Troops

 

Transitional Government:

1-    Media and Political deserved attention of this case,  and continuously raised in Syrian Friends Conferences

2-    Demand Human Right Council and United Nations to give this serious issue the right attention and follow up

3-    Form specialized committees to follow up the conditions of detainees families and care of them financially and morally

4-    Form specialized committees to provide moral and psychological support to rehab children and what’s happening to them from killing , rape , rape and displacement

5-    Condemnation , accounting and follow up torture committed by opposition armed factions

West Wonders When Ukraine Will Consider EU Integration Again

By Ben Kopp
Impunity Watch Reporter, Europe

KIEV, Ukraine – Eastern European Ukraine postponed hopes of stronger ties with Western Europe, hoping to become closer to Russia. In doing so, Ukraine President Yanukovych’s party dropped legislation that would have been required under its trade deal with the EU.

Ukraine decided to drop its consideration of releasing Tymoshenko after its Parliament turned away from the EU integration deal. (Photo courtesy of TIMES World)

On 21 November 2013, Ukrainian authorities declared that it would put EU integration on hold while it builds closer ties with Russia. At the same time, Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych’s party refused to vote on opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko’s release so she could seek surgical treatment in Germany. The EU considers Tymoshenko a political prisoner, and the Ukraine decision destroyed hope of her receiving freedom in exile.

To sign a trade and cooperation deal with the EU, the bloc required Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych to release his political rival. The deal would have transformed the political map of Eastern Europe.

Tymoshenko supporters at the party headquarters in north Kiev feared this outcome for several weeks. “I’m not going to be at peace until I see her in a hospital in Germany,” said Tymoshenko’s daughter, Evgenia. “I know that anything can go in the opposite direction.”

Demonstrations for Tymoshenko’s release lasted longer than US “Occupy” protests. Years of dirt and car exhaust turned the activists’ tents brown. More than uniting with Europe, activists wanted to leave the camp for winter.

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt tweeted, “Ukraine government suddenly bows deeply to the Kremlin. Politics of brutal pressure evidently works.”

Yanukovych allies claimed that Kiev risked sanctions beyond the trade Russia cut off in August. In just four months, the blockade devastated Ukraine’s economy by $5 billion. Also, Russian natural gas provider, Gazprom demanded repayment of Ukrainian debts—nearly $800 million.

Implementing EU laws would cost another $104 million.

Russian official Viktor Suslov promised that Moscow “will not impose any more sanctions or limit trade” as long as Ukraine holds off on partnering with Europe.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Boiko said, “The country cannot afford this. That is why this decision was made.”

In 2004, the Orange Revolution, led by Tymoshenko, brought her to power while it ousted Yanukovych. In 2009, Yanukovych narrowly defeated Tymoshenko in the presidential election that brought his pro-Russian allies back to power. Ukrainian authorities prosecuted Tymoshenko for several crimes, such as abuse of office. Chronic back pain has forced Tymoshenko into guarded hospital wards for the majority of her sentence.

Russia dominates a free-trade bloc that includes Kazakhstan and Belarus. Ukraine hopes Russia will allow the country back into that bloc by lifting current sanctions.

By 23 November 2013, Tymoshenko’s party plans to begin a major rally in Kiev’s Maidan Square, which has strong ties to the Orange Revolution.

While Russia hinted that Ukraine should postpone their deal with the EU, it appears that any deal for EU integration requires a long wait.

For further information, please see:

BBC News – Ukraine Suspends Preparations for EU Trade Agreement – November 21, 2013

Bloomberg – Putin’s Low Blows Drive Ukraine away from Europe – November 21, 2013

Reuters – Ukraine Drops Plan to Go West, Turns East – November 21, 2013

TIME World – Putin Wins Again as Ukraine Snubs EU, Keeps Opposition Leader in Prison – November 21, 2013

Iran to not Back Down on Nuclear Rights

By Darrin Simmons
Impunity Watch Reporter, Middle East

TEHRAN, Iran-Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, has declared that his country will not back down from its nuclear rights as nuclear rights talks have again begun in Geneva.  The heated speech was delivered in Tehran, denouncing two of the six countries whose representatives are scheduled to meet with Iran’s foreign minister.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in preparation to deliver his speech concerning Iranian nuclear rights (photo courtesy of The Telegraph)

“France was guilty of kneeling before Israel, while America considered itself superior to mankind.  Israel meanwhile was led by people unworthy of the title human,” stated Khamenei.  “I insist on stabilizing the rights of the Iranian nation, including the nuclear rights.  I insist on not retreating one step from the rights of the Iranian nation,” he further said.

His remarks arrived hours before diplomats from the U.S., Great Britain, France, China, Russia, and Germany started another new round of talks in Geneva with Iranian negotiators, the third set in little over a month

A French government spokesman called these remarks “unacceptable” and warned that they would only “complicate negotiations.”  However, Khamenei softened the blow by saying that Iran wanted “friendly relations with all nations, even the United States.”

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, met with Katherine Ashton, the European Union’s high representative for foreign affairs, in Geneva yesterday.  Ms. Ashton chairs the “P5 plus 1,” a committee formed to handle Iran’s nuclear program, consisting of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council: U.S., Great Britain, France, Russia, and China.

Iran has signed the non-proliferation treaty affording nations the right to civilian nuclear technology in exchang for not acquiring nuclear weapons.  However, the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, has ruled Iran in breach by not disclosing its activities and not allowing full inspections.

In response to their breach, the U.N. Security Council has imposed sanctions on Iran that have crippled its economy.  Recent talks in Geneva have been aimed at relaxing these sanctions in response to Iran’s compliance in termination of it uranium harvesting which is nearing a “weapons-useable” threshold.

“We will maintain the sanctions as long as we are not certain that Iran has definitely and irreversibly renounced it military program to obtain nuclear weapons,” French President Francois Holland said in Israel on Monday.

The previous meeting in Geneva discussing the sanctions imposed on Iran was attended by the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry along with Will Hague, the Foreign Secretary, and their French and German counterparts when agreement seemed near in the future.

For more information, please see the following: 

Al Jazeera-Khamenei vows no retreat on nuclear programme-21 November 2013

Hurriyet Daily News-Khamenei vows no retreat in Iran talks-21 November 2013

Sky News-Iran vows no retreat in nuclear talks-21 November 2013

Telegraph-Iran’s Supreme Leader vows ‘no retreat’ as nuclear talks begin-21 November 2013

North Korea Detains American Korean War Veteran

By Brian Lanciault
Impunity Watch Reporter, Asia

PYONGYANG, North Korea– The United States’ top envoy to North Korea urged Pyongyang to free two detained American citizens. The call came after reports this week that in addition to holding a U.S.-Korean Christian missionary, Kenneth Bae, North Korea detained an 85-year-old U.S. citizen, and former Korean War veteran.

U.S. Ambassador Glyn Davies speaks to reporters in Beijing, China, and urges North Korea to release all American detainess in custody. (Photo Courtesy of AP).

According to media reports, Merrill Newman was taken from a plane late last month as he was about to depart from North Korea.

The U.S. government has not specifically confirmed the detention, citing privacy concerns, and North Korea has issued no comment on the matter.

In an interview with reporters in Beijing Thursday morning, U.S. Special Representative for North Korea, Glyn Davies, urged Pyongyang to exercise deep consideration about the two cases, noting the fate of Americans abroad was a critical concern of U.S. foreign policy.

“We of course are calling on North Korea, as in the case of Mr. Kenneth Bae, who has now been there for over a year, to resolve the issue, and to allow our citizens to go free,” Davies said.

The envoy is touring Asia this week amid a renewed push to restart the stunted talks on ending North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs.

He did not draw a clear line between the cases and the international community’s broader efforts. The cases are among several examples of issues frustrating the resumption of nuclear talks with the North.

Davies says his talks in Beijing with his Chinese counterpart, Wu Dawei, were fulfilling. But there was no strong signal that a return to the six-party talks that include the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States would resume any time in the near future.

“This really is up to North Korea,” noted Davies. “It’s North Korea who seems not seriously interested in making meaningful progress on the nuclear issue. And until we see a manifestation of North Korean seriousness, it’s very difficult for me to know what the prospects are for getting back to Six Party.”

Recently North Korea has been talking about restarting some of its nuclear programs, while at the same time it has suggested new proposals for its return to the six-nation talks on ending atomic programs. The North has also been stressing a dual policy of nuclear and economic development.

North Korea pulled out of the six-nation talks in 2009 and says it is willing to return to the table as long as there are no pre-conditions.

In the past, Pyongyang was accused of using foreign detainees as bargaining chips in negotiations with Western countries over its controversial nuclear weapons program.

North Korea has detained at least six Americans since the talks ended in 2009. While some were given harsh prison sentences, all have subsequently released. Generally their release followed visits to the North by high-ranking former or current U.S. officials.

Merrill Newman’s son told CNN that it was his father’s “life-long dream” to see the North and its culture, after serving in the South as a U.S. infantry officer in the 1950s. He said his father arranged the trip through a North Korea-approved Chinese tour company and had “all the proper visas.”

Newman’s detention comes approximately one year after the arrest of Kenneth Bae, who was detained last November. He was subsequently convicted of “state subversion” and sentenced to 15 years hard labor. He was detained after entering North Korea as a tour operator.

For more information, please see:

Time– North Korea Detains 85-Year-Old American Korean War Vet–21 November 2013

Voice of America–US Envoy Urges N. Korea to Release Detained Americans–21 November 2013

CNN–California man pulled off plane in North Korea, detained, son says–21 November 2013

San Jose Mercury News–Palo Alto man, 85, removed from plane, detained in North Korea–20 November 2013

Washington Post–American vet, 85, detained in North Korea–21 November 2013