Slain Radio Host Latest in Journalist Murders

By Kaitlyn Degnan
Impunity Watch Reporter, South America

BRASÍLIA, Brazil — Two gunmen entered the studio of Radio Liberdade FM in Camocin, Brazil where Gleydson Carvhalo was hosting his radio show live on the air and shot him 3-5 times. He was shot during a musical interlude. They had subdued the receptionist and ordered another in the room under the table. Carvhalo died on the way to the hospital.

Slain Radio Journalist Gleydson Carvhalo. [Photo courtesy of the Latin Times]

The gunman and an accomplice fled the station on motorcycle. Police say that they have identified the gunman and are searching for him in the surrounding area. Two other people have been arrested in connection with the murder.
Carvhalo was known for criticizing the government on his show and on social media. He gained fame for exposing corruption in the local government.
He is the fourth journalist to have been killed in Brazil this year, and the 16th killed since 2011. Friends say that Carvhalo had received death threats on air for his opinions in the past.
These killings of journalists are often marked by extreme brutality – a Brazilian journalist killed in May was found decapitated. Another was found shortly after with an eye gouged out.
Most of the killings have taken place in smaller towns and villages in Brazil – away from the bigger cities and away from the mainstream media.
Multiple organizations have spoken out against the attacks. Maria Laura Canineu, Human Rights Watch Director for Brazil said that “Attacks against journalists for their work threaten freedom of expression and the very fabric of democracy. It is crucial for authorities to ensure full accountability for the killing of journalists to guarantee that reporters in Brazil can work without fearing for their lives.”
The National Association of Newspapers has called Brazil a “climate of impunity”. The senior Americas program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists has called on the Brazilian government to take measures to prevent this kind of violence. Particularly, the Committee has proposed legislation that would make such crimes fall under federal jurisdiction.
Brazil is ranked as number 11 on the Committee’s 2014 Global Impunity Index. According to the Committee, 65% of journalists murdered in Brazil since 2011 were reporting on corruption. Government officials are suspected in 52% of cases.

For more information, please see:

CTV – Brazilian gunmen kill radio host while on air – 07 August 2015

Human Rights Watch – Brazil: Radio Host Slain – 07 August 2015

Journalism in the Americas blog – Brazilian radio host shot while on air is the fourth journalist killed in the country this year – 07 August 2015

Latin American Herald Tribune – Muckraking Brazilian host slain on the air – 07 August 2015

Latin Times – Gleydson Carvahlo dies after being shot five times in radio booth – 07 August 2015

Mirror – Radio presenter shot dead by two gunmen during live show – 07 August 2015

New York Times – Murder of Brazilian Journalist Furthers Alarming Trend – 07 August 2015

VDC: Job Vacancy

Violations Documentation Center in Syria – VDC

Dear all, VDC is looking for an Executive Director, please see the Terms of Reference:

The Executive Director (ED) is fully responsible for running the VDC on the basis of an annual plan approved by the Board of Directors. The ED responsible in front of the Board of Directors of the VDC and presents them with an annual report on the performance, achievements and challenges that the VDC faces. He/she is responsible for the daily management of the VDC, and for representing it externally with various stakeholders and the media.

 Responsibilities of the ED:

Design, implement and report on the progress of the VDC’s annual work plan;
Manage VDC staff, ensure smooth inter-department coordination.
More specifically, working under direct guidance from the Board on issues related to overall strategy and mandate, the ED will:
Set weekly, monthly and quarterly objectives that will ensure the implementation of the annual plan in close consultation with relevant sections chiefs;
Hold weekly meetings with Section Chiefs, to plan weekly operations of the VDC and ensure progress on set objectives;
Be responsible for the delivery of objectives as planned. Alternatively, and in consultation with the Board and with Section Chiefs, the ED might deviate from the plan in order to respond to outstanding developments that need immediate reaction/reporting from the VDC;
Represent the VDC at various forums and as requested by the Board, be able to defend the VDC’s mandate and budget, be able to account for changes in the plans that may have repercussions on the established budget;
Help Section Chiefs solve internal disagreements related to the running of the VDC operations:
Gradually take on the responsibility of meeting and briefing donors and potential donors on the VDC activities and budget proposals:
Liaise with the Board, on behalf of the VDC, on all issues related to the implementation of objectives and changes in plans.


Syrian national;
Established experience (10 years minimum) in the field of rights and advocacy;
Established experience (minimum7 years) of progressive responsibility of managing a team;
Ability to clearly and eloquently articulate in writing and verbally communication (public and internal) related to the VDC, human rights, formal positions that the VDC’s takes on specific developments;
Excellent command of Arabic and English, French is a plus;
Excellent communication and inter-personal skills to allow for external representation and internal management;
While he/she might not be a jurist by profession or training, the ED is well versed generally in the human rights and IHL discourse, closely follows developments in these two fields, is comfortable referring to their principles/invoking them when looking at developments in and around Syria.

To apply: please email your CV and motivation letter to:

Syria Justice and Accountability Centre: UNSC Passes Historic Resolution but Overlooks Justice


United Nations Security Council

August 7, 2015

Earlier today, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 2235 establishing a Joint Investigative Mechanism to look into the use of chemical weapons, including chlorine gas, during the Syrian conflict. Following months of negotiations between the United States and Russia, this Resolution is the first UN Security Council mandate to assign blame for the violation of international law in Syria. According to a statement issuedby the United Nations, “Holding the perpetrators of the toxic chemical attacks accountable may hopefully alleviate the prolonged suffering of the Syrian people.”

Today’s Resolution is the second regarding chemical weapon use in Syria. The first was Resolution 2118 passed last summer, in which the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was mandated with the safe destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons. Since then, however, reports of the indiscriminate use of chlorine gas against civilians has remained widespread. Resolution 2235 calls on Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon to work with the Director-General of the OPCW to establish a Joint Investigative Mechanism, which will then regularly report to the UN Security Council and determine the individuals and groups responsible.

The Syria Justice and Accountability Centre (SJAC) welcomes this long overdue Resolution, but expresses concern that the Resolution’s language does not call for accountability in strong enough terms. A commitment to refer the case to the International Criminal Court or to establish a tribunal to prosecute the perpetrators would have sent a much stronger signal that the international community stands firmly on the side of the victims.

For more information and to provide feedback, please email SJAC at

Press Release: Senior Coroner Has Ruled That Hermitage Capital is an ‘Interested Person’ in the Perepilichnyy Inquest in Surrey

Press Release

For Immediate Distribution

Senior Coroner Has Ruled That Hermitage Capital is an ‘Interested Person’ in the Perepilichnyy Inquest in Surrey

6 August 2015 – Today, the Senior Coroner ruled that Hermitage Capital will be recognized as aninterested person in the Alexander Perepilichnyy inquest which took place in Surrey, England today. Hermitage Capital made the application because of specific facts which pointed to the possibilitythat Alexander Perepilichnyy was murdered in November 2012 in Surrey.

Hermitage Capital was forced to intervene in the coroners inquest because the Surrey police decided that Alexander Perepilichnyy’s death was ‘not suspicious’ and ‘did not involve third parties’. In written and oral applications submitted by Geoffrey Robertson QC and Henrietta Hill QC, Hermitage disclosed how Alexander Perepilichnyy had described fears over being murdered by members of the Russian organised crime connected to the Russian government.

“We cannot allow the Russian government to get away with murder in the UK. We will make sure that all the facts surrounding Alexander Perepilichnyy’s death, including any suggestion that it was linked with his involement in exposing the Russian organised crime connected to the Magnitsky case are elucidated in full at the inquest,” said William Browder, leader of Justice for Sergei MagnitskyCampaign.

In 2010, Alexander Perepilichnyy provided evidence to Hermitage Capital which lead to the freezing of accounts belonging to Vladlen Stepanov, husband of a senior Russian tax official held in Swiss banks. He twice testified to the Swiss prosecutors and subsequently received death threats by various elements inside the Russian government.

Alexander Perepilichnyy died on 10 November 2012 after returning from a trip to Paris. The British police closed the case but the French authorities have since opened a full murder investigation.

For more information, please contact:

Justice for Sergei Magnitsky campaign

+44 207 440 1777

The Robert H. Jackson Center- Industrialized Killing: Accountability and Justice for Syria

Industrialized Killing: Accountability and Justice for Syria

July 21, 2015

Chautauqua Institution will host David M. Crane, Robert H. Jackson Center Board Chair and the former Chief Prosecutor for Special Court for Sierra Leone David Crane,  for a lecture on industrialized killing and the Syrian Crisis. The Lecture will take place Tuesday July 21st, 2015 3:30 p.m. at the Hall of Christ, Chautauqua Institution.

David M. Crane, former Chief Prosecutor for the Special Court for Sierra Leone (2002-2005) has worked to gain and provide support to Syria. In conjunction with Syracuse University College of Law students, Crane heads the Syrian Accountability Project (SAP). Crane and SAP work with several international organizations to provide impartial analysis of open source materials. The goal of these collaborations is to fairly prosecute President al-Assad, his subordinates, and members of the Syrian Opposition for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and violations of the Syrian Penal Law.

Having David Crane on the Board at the Jackson Center has been a tremendous success.  So, we wanted to gain some insight into what his lecture might entail.  Below are introductory questions concerning Crane’s upcoming lecture “Industrialized Killing: Accountability and Justice for Syria”



Q: Why did you decide to title your lecture “Industrialized Killing”?

A: To raise awareness of the horror that is taking place in Syria. 



Q: What first interested you in finding justice for Syria?

A: The beast of impunity must be faced down wherever it raises its ugly head.  This is the 21st Century…mankind cannot turn its head and look away.



Q: What in your career led you to believe you could do something for the Syrian people?

A: As the founding Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone I developed a unique expertise to create a justice mechanism for oppressed peoples.



Q: How did you arrive at the idea for the Syrian Accountability Project (SAP) at SU Law?

A: Initially a seminar the project grew into an internationally recognized justice organization based on the techniques we used in successfully prosecuting a head of state and the leadership of the warring factions in West Africa.



Q: What are your goals for SAP?

A: Our goals are to develop a trial package for a future local, regional or international prosecutor to use in seeking justice for the Syrian people.



Q: How or where do you envision judicial action for Syria?  How can we avoid westernized justice once a Court is established?

A: Be aware that a justice mechanism is for and about the victims…the people of Syria.



Q: How do you think the IS problem affects the likelihood of justice in Syria?

A: The IS phenomenon complicates the entire process and may even permanently derail a justice mechanism, but that should not stop of us from our project.



Q: Does IS change the likelihood of President Assad stepping down?

A: I don’t see President Assad stepping down.  He may survive this.



Q: Do you have an opinion on the White House’s shift from demanding Assad’s removal to appeasing the Russians, focusing on IS, and stepping away from the Syrian Civil War for the time being?

A: The reality now is that Syria has become a sideshow in a larger geopolitical event and the administration has to deal with what is not what they would like it to be.



Q: Should the US be heavily involved in bringing the Syrian Conflict to a close, should the effort be global, or should the region be tasked with solving the issue?

A: The US is and has to be involved in this even though it is a reluctant participant.  The EU and the Arab States have to step up as well.

Lawmakers Demand Full Report Following State Department Human Trafficking Decision

By Samuel Miller
Impunity Watch Reporter, North America and Oceania

WASHINGTON, D.C., United States of America — U.S. lawmakers expressed concern Tuesday about whether the State Department’s annual global report on human trafficking may have been watered down due to political considerations and vowed to demand a full accounting at a Senate hearing this week. Last week, the U.S. State Department gave Malaysia, Cuba and Saudi Arabia upgrades from the lowest tier in its annual report on modern slavery.

A Malaysian Man Stands in a Suspected Rohingyan Burial Pit. (Photo Courtesy of Bloomberg)

The State Department denied that the country-by-country ratings in the latest report had been politicized.

A Reuters examination, based on interviews with more than a dozen sources in Washington and foreign capitals, showed that the State Department was pressured into inflating assessments of 14 countries in this year’s report. Analysts in the anti-trafficking office disagreed with U.S. diplomatic bureaus on ratings for 17 countries, the sources said.

The annual report examines 188 governments for their performance in the previous year in fighting exploitation, whether for sex, domestic labor, or work — from construction and fishing to farming and mining. Saudi Arabia, Cuba, and Malaysia were moved from Tier Three to Tier Two on the U.S. list of offenders because of their efforts to improve, according to the annual report on human trafficking.

The analysts, who are specialists in assessing efforts to combat modern slavery, won only three of those disputes, the worst ratio in the 15-year history of the unit. Among the countries that received higher rankings than recommended by the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons were Malaysia, Cuba, China, India, Uzbekistan and Mexico.

Human rights groups called for an investigation into why strategically important countries such as Malaysia, China, Mexico and Cuba were upgraded from the list of worst offenders in human trafficking.

With regard to Cuba, US Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Sarah Sewall said Cuba had made progress in combating sex trafficking. But she said concerns remained over the country’s failures to address forced labor.

“The Government of Cuba does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so.” reads the report. The report uses the same language for its assessment of Malaysia.

The US also decided to remove Malaysia from the list of countries failing to address human trafficking, a decision criticized by human rights groups. Critics have noted the importance of Malaysia’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership as a possible political factor which may have had influence over the State Department’s decision.

Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and 18 Senate colleagues wrote Secretary of State John Kerry this month opposing an upgrade in ranking.

“The administration has turned its back on the victims of trafficking, turned a blind eye to the facts, and ignored the calls from Congress, leading human rights advocates, and Malaysian government officials to preserve the integrity of this important report,” Menendez said in an e-mailed statement Monday. “They have elevated politics over the most basic principles of human rights.”

For more information, please see:

Reuters — Lawmakers to demand full accounting on human trafficking report – 4 August 2015

BBC News — Cuba removed from US human trafficking list – 27 July 2015

Bloomberg — U.S. Upgrades Malaysia, Cuba in Human Trafficking Report – 27 July 2015

Politico — U.S.-Cuba relations get another upgrade – 27 July 2015

USA Today — Malaysia, Cuba upgraded on human trafficking report – 27 July 2015

Washington Post — U.S. drops Cuba and Malaysia from human trafficking blacklist – 27 July 2015

Myanmar Pardons and Releases Nearly 7,000 Prisoners, Including Chinese Loggers

By Christine Khamis

Impunity Watch Reporter, Asia


 Myanmarese president Thein Sein has pardoned and released 6,966 prisoners, including 210 foreign prisoners. A statement on Myanmar’s information ministry website said that the prisoners were being released on humanitarian grounds and “in view of national reconciliation”.

Around 155 Chinese loggers, who had been detained just last week, were among those released. Most of them, arrested on suspicion of illegal logging in Kachin State in Northern Myanmar, had been given life sentences. The loggers have been deported back to China following their release, according to U Mong Gwang, a liason officer at the Kachin Independence Organization.

A freed Chinese logger. (Photo courtesy of Reuters)

Kachin State borders China’s Yunnan Province and has rich natural resources including jade and wood. Jade and wood are in high demand in China, and Chinese citizens are able to cross the border from Yunnan Province to Kachin State to take advantage of those resources. This has led to resentment in Myanmar and could have been one explanation for the life sentences given to the Chinese loggers.

China is a close economic and political ally of Myanmar. Myanmar’s ties with China are important for its trade, security, and energy programs. Recently, however, there has been tension between the nations due to conflict between Myanmar’s army and a rebel militia that has resulted in the deaths of Chinese citizens living near the China-Myanmar border. China had also protested against the loggers’ prison sentences and called for Myanmar to return them to China.

President Thein Sein was elected in 2010 when military-backed civilian government replaced military rule in Myanmar. During military rule, more than 2,000 journalists, activists and politicians were imprisoned, leading to Western sanctions against Myanmar. Those sanctions were lessened once civilian rule was established. Government reform has led to a series of amnesties in which most political prisoners held in Myanmar have been released.

A general election coming up in November could be one of the underlying reasons for the prisoners’ release. Also, U Bo Kyi of the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners has pointed out that the prisoners’ release occurred just days before Yanghee Lee, the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, was scheduled to visit. As the Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, Yanghee Lee reports on human rights and electoral reform in Myanmar.

It is unclear whether pro-democracy activists were among the prisoners released in Myanmar. Most of the prisoners released in Myanmarese amnesties have been common criminals. There are no official lists of released prisoners, so any names of those released are generally disclosed by the prisoners or their families.

For more information, please see:

BBC – Myanmar Frees 6,966 Prisoners Ahead of Polls – 30 July 2015

New York Times – Myanmar Frees Loggers From China Amid a Broader Amnesty – 30 July 2015

Reuters – Political Prisoners, Chinese Loggers Among Thousands Freed in Myanmar Amnesty – 30 July 2015

The Guardian – Chinese Loggers Among 7,000 Prisoners Released in Burma – 30 July 2015

United Nations Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights – Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar


Kosovo to Vote on Creation of War Crimes Courts

by Shelby Vcelka

Impunity Watch Desk Reporter, Europe


On August 3rd, the Kosovo Parliament will vote on a constitutional amendment that will create an ad hoc war crimes court to try former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army that allegedly committed crimes during the Kosovo War.  After facing escalating pressure from the United States and the European Union, officials believe that there is enough support to pass the amendments necessary for the court’s creation, after a failure to pass the amendments last month.

Kosovo’s Parliament will vote on amendments that will allow for the creation of ad hoc courts to prosecute war crimes committed during the 1998-1999 Kosovo War. The Kosovo government expects the amendments to pass, following mounting international pressure. (Photo courtesy of B92.)

No changes have been made to the amendments that were brought before Parliament last month, but President Isa Mustafa is confident that the amendments will pass.  At a recent cabinet meeting, Mustafa commented, “we have to be aware that we cannot build and develop this country if we are isolated by friendly countries. Voting for these changes in parliament will bring long-term benefit for Kosovo.”  The amendments, he believes, will be good for Kosovo and maintain powerful allies and ties the country has managed to obtain.

Veterans associations are opposed to the new amendments and the creation of the courts, as they find it insulting to the struggle for freedom against Serbian control of the region.  Many major parties are also opposed, as the creation of the courts would open investigations into party members.  However, members that were previously against the amendments are expected to vote in favor of the measures as international pressure mounts.

The court structure would entail the creation of special chambers to deal with specific allegations of atrocities committed by members of the KLA.  KLA members are accused of murdering, abducting, and illegally detaining Serbs, Roma and Kosovo Albanians who were believed to collaborate with the previous Serbian regime.  New allegations of atrocities are still coming to light, as more information is being uncovered.

US diplomats have warned the Kosovo government that the UN Security Council will set up the courts if Parliament fails to ratify the amendments.  Russia, Serbia’s ally and member of the Security Council, proposed the measure to the Council to protect Serbia’s interests in the region.

For more information, please see–

Balkan International Justice– Kosovo Govt Prepares New War Crimes Court Vote— 30 July 2015

Politico– Kosovo needs to show no one is above the law— 31 July 2015

B92– Kosovo: Draft resolution on genocide submitted to assembly— 31 July 2015

Balkan International Justice– Kosovo Sets Date for War Crimes Court Vote— 31 July 2015

Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty– Kosovo’s Government Urges Parliament To Set Up War Crimes Court— 31 July 2015

Reuters– Under Western pressure, Kosovo to put war crimes court to new vote— 31 July 2015


Peru Rescues 39 held in ‘Slavery’

By Kaitlyn Degnan
Impunity Watch Reporter, South America

LIMA, Peru —

About 120 Peruvian special forces successfully raided a camp belonging to group “Shining Path,” rescuing captives held there as slaves. Some of those held claim they have been captives of the group for almost 30 years.

Peruvian special forces evacuate captives. [Photo courtesy of the BBC]
The Peruvian military discovered the location of the captives after one of their numbers escaped the camp one month ago.

The camp was located in the valley of the Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro Rivers, an area known as Vraem. Over 200 tons of cocaine are reportedly produced there every year – one third of the production for the entire country. Shining Path has been known to work with drug traffickers.

39 people were rescued from the camp – 26 children and 13 adults. Some of the children were born in the camp while others were likely kidnapped from surrounding rural areas, where impoverished parents don’t report abductions out of fear.

At least one of the captives was part of a group of nuns kidnapped by the group 25 years ago.

It is thought that at least 100 people remain captive by Shining Path.

The camp was a “production camp,” where inhabitants are meant to “work and procreate.” Women held there were raped and expected to have as many children as possible, to give birth to more rebels. Both women and children were forced to work in the fields and perform domestic duties.

Peruvian Vice Minister of Defense Ivan Vega reported that those held at the camp were forced to work in fields and on farms growing food for Shining Path members.

Children in the camps are instructed in the group’s Maoist ideology. Once the children reached the age of 13, they were considered “recruits,” and eligible to participate in the group’s armed operations. The rescued children will be placed in the care of the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations.

Shining Path was started in the 1960s as a communist revolutionary group. The group in its heyday had about 10,000 members. The group, whose highest goal is to overthrow the Peruvian government, waged an insurgency that left 70,000 people dead or disappeared in its wake.

The fighting between the Peruvian government and Shining Path ended in 2000. Peru opened a museum to honor those killed in the conflict just last year.

Today their numbers are much smaller and the group engages in narcotics trafficking to fund its campaign. Shining Path caused a stir in 2012 when members of the group tried started a petition to form an official political party.

For more information, please see:

Council on Foreign Relations – Shining Path, Tupac Amaru (Peru, leftists) – 27 August 2007

The New York Times – Peru Forced to Confront Deep Scars of Civil War – 26 May 2012

BBC – Peru rescues 39 ‘slave workers’ from Shining Path Farm – 28 July 2015

Latin Post – Peru Rescues 39 People Held Captive by Shining Path Rebels, Some for 30 Years [Pics] – 29 July 2015

Peru this Week – Shining Path still holds 100 hostages in Vraem – 29 July 2015

Reuters – Peru forces raid coca region rebel slave camp, rescue 39 women, children – 29 July 2015

TeleSur – Peru: 39 People Rescued from Camp Run by Shining Path – 29 July 2015

Latin American Herald Tribune – 26 Children & 13 Women Abducted by Shining Path Rebels Rescued in Peru – 30 July 2015

Voice of Sudan and Sudan Democratic Forum – Vision of New Sudan

On July 29, 2015 Voices for Sudan & Sudan Democratic Forum held a Round table Discussion Forum on the “New Sudan”, and Reflections on the Legacy of Dr. John Garang De Mabior. The discussion focused on the vison of New Sudan, ten years after the death of Dr. John Garang De Mabior, Chairman of the SLPM/A, and the current situation in Sudan and South Sudan. Please clink on the link to hear the different points of views offered in the discussion.
Roundtable discussion on the Vision of New Sudan .The video of the event.Link

Though I’d been at one point quite well informed on Sudan/South Sudan, more recently I’ve been less engaged and thus less aware of the goings-on.  Yesterday’s (July 29, 2015) Voices for Sudan (VFS) “discussion forum”, which focused on what has happened to Dr. John Garang’s vision for Sudan on the 10th anniversary of his death, was extremely informative on the current situation in South Sudan.  A variety of perspectives was offered by an impressive roster of invited speakers, incuding a former SPLA and South Sudanese elected official, other members of the diaspora, humanitarian NGOs, and USAID.  I was particularly impressed with the presentation by the Sudanese woman from Darfur Niemat Ahmadai from Darfur Women Action Group, who had a clear understanding of and ability to explain the complexities within and among all the factors impacting this very sad situation. Great job, VFS! Please continue to hold forums like this one so we can remain informed and motivated to take action.
Paulette Lee.

    Voices for Sudan Inc.

1400 16th Street N.W # 430, Washington, DC 20036.
For more info e-mail us at