Justice for Sergei Magnitsky: Bill Browder to Give Damning Testimony On the Criminality of the Putin Regime to UK Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee

8 November 2016 – Bill Browder, author of the best-selling book, “Red Notice: How I Became Putin’s Number One Enemy,” and leader of the global Magnitsky Justice campaign, will testify in the British parliament today, 8 November 2016, at 3:45 pm.

 

The hearing entitled “Critics of the Kremlin give evidence” is part of an inquiry on the UK’s relations with Russia and is organized by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons.

 

Mr Browder will speak about his personal experience of dealing with Russian authorities, who have declared him a threat to national security; his campaign’s recent discoveries connecting illicit funds stolen from the Russian people directly to President Putin’s cronies; the role of Western enablers in attempting to protect Russia’s kleptocrats in the UK, and the implications for UK-Russia policy.

 

Mr Browder will talk about the fate of his young Russian lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, who uncovered the theft of US$230 million from the Russian treasury by a criminal enterprise involving Russian officials, and who was killed in Russian police custody at the age of 37.
After Magnitsky’s death, Russian authorities posthumously accused him of the crime he had uncovered and exonerated all officials.

 

The Global Magnitsky Justice campaign has uncovered illicit funds connected to the US$230 million laundered in multiple jurisdictions, including the UK, and a number of proceedings around the world have been initiated as a result.

 

The Global Magnitsky Justice campaign also calls for targeted visa and financial sanctions on those connected to Sergei Magnitsky’s death and the crime he had uncovered. A law imposing such sanctions was introduced in the USA in 2012. A similar legislation has been initiated in the UK.

 

The testimony by Mr Browder on UK-Russia relations will take place at Boothroyd Room, Portcullis House, and will start at 3.45pm on Tuesday, 8 November 2016.

 

Mr Browder will be preceded by Russian dissident Mikhail Khodorkovsky who will also give evidence to the committee.

 

For more information, please contact:

 

Justice for Sergei Magnitsky

+44 207 440 1777

e-mail: info@lawandorderinrussia.org

www.lawandorderinrussia.org

billbrowder.com

twitter.com/Billbrowder

 

Announcement of the hearing on UK-Russia relations at the Commons Select Committee:

https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/foreign-affairs-committee/news-parliament-2015/russia-critics-evidence-16-17/

The UN Calls for the Release of Activist Milagro Sala

By Cintia Garcia

Impunity Watch Reporter, South America

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA—The United Nations demanded the release of Milagro Sala, an indigenous activist, claiming the Argentine government arbitrarily detained her.  Milagro Sala was detained on January 16, 2016 while protesting reforms implemented by Jujuy’s provincial government.

Milagro Sala was detained by the Argentine government. (Photo Courtesy of The Argentina Independent)
Milagro Sala was detained by the Argentine government. (Photo Courtesy of The Argentina Independent)

Milagro Sala was arrested for “inciting criminal acts” in connection to the protests she has led against the government, specifically her attempt to block roads around the municipal buildings in San Salvador de Jujuy. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention report identified “a system of consecutive accusations and court cases that maintain Sala’s detention indefinitely and violate judicial independence.” The report continues by stating that there is no legal justification for her detention and “it has not been demonstrated that there is a risk of escape or of obstruction of the investigation.” A judge had ruled for Sala’s release on January 29th, but three days before her release, she was charged with extortion, fraud, and conspiracy. In addition, the report claims that the State blocked her right to defense by not informing her of the charges or the crimes accused of.

The United Nations is demanding the immediate release of Sala and for an investigation of the violations of her rights. The UN has asserted her detention was based on her exercising her human rights.

Milagro Sala is the head of the 70,000 member Tupac Amaru organization, as well as a representative in Parlasur, the parliamentary institution of the Mercosur trade bloc for South America. Sala has protested against President Mauricio Macri’s government since he took office. Sala is his administration’s first political prisoner. She was a supporter of former President Cristina Fernandez, who was accused of mismanaging money by constructing lower income housing in Jujuy province.

Many in Argentina have protested President Macri’s cuts in education, jobs, revisions to the tax and tariff rate, and the expansion of privileges for commercial exporters at the cost of farmers.

For more information, please see:

The Argentina Independent—UN Work Group Demands Milagro Sala’s Release—28th October 2016.

Telesur—UN Demands Argentina release Indigenous Leader Milagro Sala—28 October 2016.

Washington Post—UN Panel Tells Argentina to Release Activist Milagro Sala—28 October 2016.

La Nacion—La Carta de Milagro Sala en la que Pidió Jurar Como Diputada de Parlasur Desde la Cárcel—03 November 2016.

Syria Deeply Weekly Update: ‘Excuse Me If We Smash You’


WEEKLY UPDATE
November 4, 2016

Dear Readers,Welcome to the weekly Syria Deeply newsletter. We’ve rounded up the most important stories and developments about Syria and the Syrians in order to bring you valuable news and analysis. But first, here is a brief overview of what happened this week:The battle for Aleppo is expected to become even more intense this weekend, as Russia’s Friday deadline for rebels to leave the eastern side of the city passed. “We asked you to leave. You did not leave. So excuse me if we smash you,” Aleppo parliament member Fares Shehabi told the BBC.Russia announced on Wednesday that rebels would be able to bring their weapons with them and must evacuate through two unobstructed exit corridors by Friday evening. Six additional corridors were set up for civilians and the sick and wounded to evacuate, according to the Russian defense ministry.On Thursday, Syrian rebels rejected the demand to evacuate. Zakaria Malahifji of the Fastaqim rebel group told Reuters, “This is completely out of the question. We will not give up the city of Aleppo to the Russians and we won’t surrender.”Earlier this week, rebels launched phase two of their operation on the western, government-held part of the city in an attempt to break the three-month-long siege of eastern Aleppo. Rebel fire killed at least 12 people between Thursday and Friday morning. On Friday, at least three commanders from the Soqor al-Sham rebel group were killed in clashes.Government forces advanced in the Damascus countryside this week. On Wednesday, pro-regime forces took control of two hilltop villages in Eastern Ghouta, an area that has been under siege since early 2013. On Friday, Syrian army units advanced inside the town of Khan al-Sheeh. The advance comes after more than 50 days of fighting with Jaish al-Islam, the largest rebel faction in the area.Meanwhile, the U.S.-led coalition is preparing for their battle against the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) in the group’s Syrian stronghold of Raqqa. Turkey and Syrian Kurdish YPG forces were expected to participate in the operation, but on Thursday, the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said they would not accept Turkish involvement.

Weekly Highlights:

Long Read: The U.S. Has Intervened in Syria, But Not In The Way You Think

The United States intervened militarily in Syria under the premise of the “war on terror” and the fight against ISIS, but their presence is actually helping the Syrian government.

Smoke rises from the Syrian city of Kobani, following an airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition, seen from a hilltop outside Suruc, on the Turkey-Syria border. AP/Vadim Ghirda, File

When It Comes to Humanitarian Aid, Syrians Must Play the Numbers Game

Mohamad Katoub, a former doctor who escaped from Eastern Ghouta, was quick to point out that Syria’s daily toll of deaths and casualties were more than just numbers – until he saw the power those statistics had. Here, he explains why he changed his mind.

Syrian children on the first day of Eid al-Adha visiting the graves of family lost during the Syrian Civil War, in Douma, Eastern Ghouta, on September 12, 2016. Samer Bouidani/NurPhoto

Lessons from Russia’s Intervention in Syria

Atlantic Council experts Faysal Itani and Hossam Abouzahr have analyzed hundreds of Moscow’s Syria-related actions in order to piece together an analysis of the “Russia problem” facing the next White House administration.

Russian president Vladimir Putin, left, shakes hands with U.S. secretary of state John Kerry at this year’s G20 meeting. Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

Additional Reading:

Top image: The scene outside the Russian embassy in London where 25 activists from two campaign groups The Syria Campaign and Syria Solidarity UK scattered over 800 limbs around the gates of the building in a protest at the bombing of civilians in east Aleppo. Dominic Lipinski /PA Wire

Bahrain Government Imposes Travel Ban on Wife and Child of Human Rights Activist

by Yesim Usluca
Impunity Watch Reporter, Middle East

MANAMA, Bahrain — The wife and infant son of a London-based human rights activist were prevented from departing Bahrain, and detained and questioned for several hours.

Human rights activists’ wife and son were subjected to a travel ban following protests in London (Photo courtesy of The Guardian)

Bahraini immigration officers prevented Mrs. Duaa Alwadaei and her 19-month-old son from boarding a flight to London. Mrs. Alwadaei’s husband, Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, who is the Director of Advocacy at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, was arrested hours before her travel ban for protesting a visit by the king of Bahrain in London.

Mr. Alwadaei claimed that his wife was subjected to a seven-hour interrogation, during which a senior official told her that she was being subjected to a “travel ban” because of his work. He alleged that Bahraini police questioned his spouse on his appearance at the protest, his organization, and her life in London. He stated that the officials told his wife they are “coming after my family, asked her about my brothers, sister and parents.” He claimed that his wife’s interrogator threatened to charge her with assaulting a police officer, which carries a prison sentence of three years, if she spoke out about her treatment. He further alleged that his wife was left “terrified” after being dragged across the airport floor, and that she was beaten by two female police officers when she refused to accompany them into custody.

In response, the Bahraini embassy in London released a statement which indicated that Mrs. Alwadaei was “briefly detained for questioning, searched and released.” The embassy further noted that “at no time was she abused or mistreated by authorities.” The Bahrain government noted that Mrs. Alwadaei had been released after her questioning “to make her onward destination.”

Bahrain has faced international criticism over its human rights crackdown which has led to the arrest of opposition figures, the stripping of citizenship, and the dissolution of the main opposition party. The country is now being censured by human rights groups for imposing travel bans and arresting its opponents. A researcher for the Human Rights Watch stated that the Bahraini authorities’ act was a “contemptible and cowardly attempt” to take vengeance against the family of a “prominent U.K.-based Bahraini exile and activist.” A director of the human rights group, Reprieve, stated that the organization is “seriously concerned” about the country’s retaliations against Mr. Alwadaei’s family for his peaceful protest in the U.K. The director further noted that although Bahrain may have banned freedom of expression, the U.K. government could not permit Bahrain to punish individuals who demonstrate in the U.K. against human rights abuses such as torture. She called upon the Bahraini government to allow Mrs. Alwadaei and their son to return to their home in London.

Mr. Alwadaei is a “fierce critic” of the Bahrain government and has addressed dozens of events in the U.K., U.S. and Europe. He protests the government of Bahrain on a regular basis since he was imprisoned and tortured for his role in Bahrain’s 2011 pro-democracy protests. In 2015, he was stripped of his Bahraini citizenship after claiming asylum in the U.K. in 2012.

For more information, please see:

Middle East Eye—Wife and baby of Bahraini rights activist on ‘travel ban’ after London protest—30 October 2016

Reuters—Bahrain blocks exit of activist’s wife: rights group—30 October 2016

The Guardian—Bahrain prevents family of dissident from flying to London to join him—29 October 2016

Daily Mail—Family of activist who jumped on Bahrain king’s car targeted—29 October 2016

 

 

The Gambia Becomes the Third African Nation to Pull Out of the International Criminal Court

By Samantha Netzband 

Impunity Watch,  Africa Desk Reporter

BANJUL, The Gambia– The Gambia joined two other African nations this week when it promised to withdrawal from the International Criminal Court.  Both Burundi and South Africa have also decided to leave the International Criminal Court.  All three countries have withdrawn over concerns that the International Criminal Court has focused solely on African crimes while ignoring those committed by other nations around the world.

Current ICC prosecutor Bensouda is a former Gambian justice minister [Jerry Lampen/EPA]

Current ICC prosecutor Bensouda. (Photo Courtsey of Al Jazeera)

The International Criminal Court was created in 2002 by the Rome Statute.  Currently there have been ten full investigations, one involving the former state of Georgia (which was a part of the former USSR), and the other nine involving African states.  The three countries that are seeking to withdrawal all cite Africa’s focus as one of the reasons for their withdrawal.  However, critics are quick to point out that out of the nine investigations that have been done at the International Criminal Court involving African, six were self referred by states and two were referred by the Security Council.

Many worry that the withdrawal of a country like South Africa will cause the collapse of support for the International Criminal Court in Africa.  South Africa has been a major player in the development of the International Criminal Court, but is seeking withdrawal after a tiff involving Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.  Al-Bashir is wanted for war crimes and as a member of the International Criminal Court South Africa was required, when Al-Bashir entered into their jurisdiction, to detain him for prosecution for those war crimes.  South Africa argued that this would be getting involved in another nation’s conflicts and thus be a violation of state sovereignty.

Whether or not The Gambia, South Africa, and Burundi’s withdrawal will have a domino effect on other African countries remains to be seen.  Kenya and Namibia have threatened withdrawal, but have not actually taken any official action.  The issue of withdrawal from the International Criminal Court is set to be discusses with the members of the African Union in early 2017.

 There are withdrawal procedures for states that want to get out of the International Court that are found in article 127 of the Rome Statute.  As of now Burundi and The Gambia have not followed any of these specific procedures for withdrawal.   For now things will remain the same.  The International Criminal Court will continue its work.

For more information, please see:

Al Jazeera – Gambia Withdraws from the International Criminal Court – 26 October 2016

Fox News – International Court hit by Planned Exit of 3 African States – 30 October 2016

USA Today – Gambia Latest African Nation to Withdraw from the International Criminal Court – 26 October 2016

Ukrainian Politicians Declare Vast Wealth

By Sarah Lafen

Impunity Watch Desk Reporter, Europe

KIEV, Ukraine — As part of an anti-corruption reform, thousands of senior Ukrainian political officials were required to declare expensive possessions and assets held in their own and their families’ names in a public online database, revealing much higher levels of wealth than expected.  The system for declaring these assets was developed based on the guidelines of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Yegor Sobolev, a lawmaker and head of the Ukrainian parliament's committee on fighting corruption, points to the e-declaration system on a computer screen (Photo Courtesy of Reuters)
Yegor Sobolev, a lawmaker and head of the Ukrainian parliament’s committee on fighting corruption, points to the e-declaration system on a computer screen (Photo Courtesy of Reuters)

Officials claimed everything from Fabergé eggs, to a fleet of luxury cars, to a collection of expensive watches, to large pieces of land.  One official claimed to own his own personal church, and another claimed ownership over 1,780 bottles of wine.  The Ukrainian Prime Minister, Volodymyr Groysman, declared $1.2 million.  24 members of the Ukrainian cabinet have a combined $7 million in cash alone.  The average salary in Ukraine is just over $200 per month.

Current Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko, is a billionaire himself however has promised to set forth a more transparent type of politics.  Poroshenko called the public declarations of wealth “a truly historic event of openness and transparency.” Anders Fogh Rasmussen, adviser to Poroshenko, believes that the declaration “is of paramount importance and all of Europe should take notice and applaud this important step.”  Kristina Berdynskyh, a journalist who specializes on corruption among the elite, said that it is amazing how much information has been released.

Critics of the declaration and Poroshenko’s goal say that the reform of the Ukrainian political system has stalled, and the government has made little effort to actually transform Ukrainian politics.  One Ukrainian reporter referred to the Ukrainian officials as “moral degenerates.”  Roman Donik, a volunteer soldier to the Ukrainian troops, expressed in a Facebook post that he “had no illusions about our political and official elite. But all the same, what’s come out is beyond the pale.”

Now that the declarations have been disclosed, the anti-corruption agency will begin to verify and investigate.  Many will look to see how the authorities will handle the results, however, as over 100,000 forms were submitted.  The Ukrainian UNDP director Janthomas Hiemstra assured that “[t]he international community, including the U.N., will be behind Ukraine in these next steps because the e-declaration is only the first step. What comes after is maybe even more difficult.”

 

For more information, please see:

The Guardian — Ukraine Stunned as Vast Cash Reserves of Public Elite are made Public — 31 October 2016

Reuters — Ukrainians Shocked as Politicians Declare Vast Wealth — 31 October 2016

RT — Politicians in Debt-Stricken Ukraine Reveal Lavish Fortunes, Spark Public Outcry — 31 October 2016

The Washington Post — Ukrainian Officials Disclose their Wealth in e-Declarations — 31 October 2016

ISIS Using Thousands of Civilians as “Human Shields”

by Yesim Usluca
Impunity Watch Reporter, Middle East

BAGHDAD, Iraq — The UN stated that ISIS has executed over 200 people near the city of Mosul and has taken thousands of individuals hostage to use as “human shields” against Iraqi forces.

ISIS is using thousands of civilians as “human shields” (Photo courtesy of ABC News)

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights stated that ISIS carried out the mass execution as revenge against individuals who refused its orders to join them. The UN further noted that it fears the group intends on using those held hostage as “human shields” against the advance of Iraqi forces on Mosul.

High numbers of civilian deaths have been reported over the last week as ISIS attempts to gather people into its last major stronghold in Iraq. Over 7,500 families have reportedly been abducted by ISIS at gunpoint from surrounding Iraqi cities and have been moved to “strategic locations where ISIS fighters are located.” The civilian death toll is expected to grow exponentially once ISIS enters Mosul, which is Iraq’s second largest city.

The use of human shields is banned under international humanitarian law. The UN refugee agency stated that it is considered a violation of the right to not be arbitrarily deprived of life. The Deputy Director for Research at Amnesty International further stated that using a civilian to “shield yourself from attack is a war crime.”

An increasing number of civilians have been fleeing their homes as the fighting around Mosul intensifies. The International Organization for Migration reported that the operation in Mosul has displaced over 16,000 people thus far. UNICEF warned of an impending, “unprecedented humanitarian crisis” due to the millions of civilians that are expected to escape the city in the upcoming days and weeks.

Some civilians who were able to flee indicated that ISIS fighters had deliberately prevented them from escaping conflict areas. One civilian recounted an attack in which ISIS fighters based in a neighbor’s house shot his brother. Due to the ongoing crossfire, they were unable to escape their home for two days, during which his brother lost consciousness from severe blood loss. He was only able to carry his brother to a hospital after an air strike created an opportunity for escape. Another civilian reported that he lost his wife after she was struck by a mortar because ISIS fighters would not let them leave their house. He further stated that the fighters shot at neighbors who tried to escape.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights indicated that ISIS’ “depraved, cowardly strategy” is to use the presence of civilians to render certain areas immune from military operations by effectively using thousands of men, women and children as “human shields.” The Commissioner urged those fighting ISIS to withhold revenge attacks. He further called on the government of Iraq to ensure the application of international humanitarian law.

For more information, please see:

ABC News—ISIS Using Tens of Thousands as ‘Human Shields’ as Iraqi-Led Forces Advance on Mosul—28 October 2016

Daily Mail—ISIS slaughters more than 200 people and abduct nearly 8,000 families to use as human shields as it retreats into the centre of Mosul—28 October 2016

Amnesty International—Iraq: new testimony shows ISIS taking human shields in battle for Mosul—27 October 2016

CNN—ISIS ‘executes’ 232 near Mosul, takes thousands as human shields, UN says—28 October 2016

The Guardian —Islamic State using hostages as human shields in Mosul – UN—28 October 2016

Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect: Atrocity Alert: Central African Republic, Iraq, Syria and Eritrea

Atrocity Alert is a weekly publication by the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect highlighting and updating situations where populations are at risk of, or are enduring, mass atrocity crimes.

Central African Republic

On 28 October clashes between ex-Seleka and anti-Balaka militias near Bambari resulted in 15 people killed. The following day at least 10 people, including 6 gendarmes and 4 civilians, were also killed in an ambush outside Bambari. These attacks are part of a growing trend of violence that is threatening to destabilize the Central African Republic (CAR) and reignite widespread violence throughout the country. Despite the growing risk to vulnerable civilians, on 31 October France concluded Operation Sangaris, withdrawing 2,000 French troops that had supported the UN Mission in CAR throughout the conflict. The UN Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, is currently on a two-day mission to CAR to meet with the new government, visit camps for internally displaced persons and receive updates on demobilization, disarmament and reintegration programs.

MINUSCA: The UN Deputy Secretary-General and Special Representative of the Secretary General to CAR meet with President Touadera

Iraq

On 28 October the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) announced that as coalition forces advance on Mosul, there have been credible reports that the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is moving civilians to strategic locations to be used as human shields. Initial reports suggested nearly 8,000 families had been abducted from districts around Mosul, and at least 232 civilians were killed by ISIL on 26 October alone. OHCHR subsequently reported that ISIL had attempted to forcibly transfer another 25,000 civilians, but these efforts were largely unsuccessful. On 1 November Iraqi forces breached Mosul’s city limits – the first time government forces have entered the city in over 2 years. At least 17,748 people have been internally displaced since the start of the offensive on 17 October, and thousands more are expected to flee as the fighting intensifies. It is essential that all parties participating in the battle for Mosul take effective measures to ensure the protection of all civilians in accordance with international humanitarian law.

Syria

Following two attacks on schools in Idlib governorate and western Aleppo last week that resulted in over 25 children killed, the UN Security Council issued a Press Statement on 28 October condemning the attacks and calling for impartial investigations. Meanwhile the Syrian opposition has launched another offensive to break the siege of eastern Aleppo. Both the UN Secretary-General and his Special Envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, condemned the use of indiscriminate weapons by armed opposition groups. Some groups have indiscriminately attacked the suburbs of western Aleppo, damaging civilian infrastructure and resulting in the deaths of more than 30 civilians, including at least 10 children, since 29 October.

Eritrea

On 28 October the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea briefed the UN General Assembly and asserted that since 1991 populations have endured crimes against humanity perpetrated by the government. The Special Rapporteur was presenting the final report of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea, which found that “the crimes of enslavement, imprisonment, enforced disappearances, torture, other inhumane acts, persecution, rape and murder have been committed as part of a widespread and systematic campaign against the civilian population.” Noting that the government lacks the political will and capacity to prosecute these crimes, the Commission strongly recommended that the UN Security Council refer the situation in Eritrea to the International Criminal Court.

UN Photo: UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea.

Syrian Network for Human Rights: 1106 Civilians Killed in October 2016

I. Introduction
The report includes only the death toll of civilians that were killed by the main six influential parties in Syria:
– Government forces (Army, Security, local militias, Shiite foreign militias)
– Russian forces
– Self-management forces (consisting primarily of the Democratic Union Party forces, a branch for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party)
– Extremist Islamic groups
– Armed opposition factions
– International coalition forces
– Unidentified groups

Gay Pardon ‘Turing Bill’ Filibustered in Parliament

By Sarah Lafen

Impunity Watch Desk Reporter, Europe

 

LONDON, England — A bill put forth in Parliament which would have currently and posthumously excused gay men convicted of same-sex offenses when homosexuality was illegal in the United Kingdom was prevented from progressing to a vote after a member filibustered the proposed bill.  The bill, named the ‘Turing Bill’ after Alan Turing, was proposed by John Nicolson MP.  The Turing Bill would have granted a blanket pardon for approximately 65,000 men – 15,000 of which are alive today.

 

Conservative Sam Gyimah MP filibusters the Turing Bill in Parliament (Photo Courtesy of Surrey Mirror)
Conservative Sam Gyimah MP filibusters the Turing Bill in Parliament (Photo Courtesy of Surrey Mirror)

 

Sam Gyimah, Justice Undersecretary of the Conservative party in the UK, spoke for 25 minutes, which took up the allotted time allowed for voting on the bill.  Gyimah argued that the bill did not protect against men who engaged in sexual relations with a minor, or those who engaged in non-consensual sex.

The government countered Nicolson’s bill by proposing an amendment to the Policing and Crimes Bill, which would posthumously pardon those men who were wrongfully convicted, and allow those who are still alive go through a “disregard process” in order to clear their names.  The government stated that it does not support the Turing Bill because they believe it might lead to people being cleared of offenses that are still considered crimes.

LGBTQ-rights organization Stonewall UK voiced their disappointment in the filibuster, however vowed to work with the government and Nicolson to build on the government’s proposed bill and “reach the best possible outcome for those wrongly accused and convicted men.” Iain Stewart, a conservative MP, stated that while he would support the government’s amendment, he believed it would not do enough for those affected.

One of the signatories to the bill was Turing’s great niece, Rachel Barnes.  Barnes told reporters that her family has “always considered that it is totally unjust that only Alan was given a pardon.  There were 50,000 other homosexuals who were convicted and not given a pardon. We would really like this to be put right now.”

Debate on the Turing Bill will start again in December, however many are skeptical as to how far the bill can progress without support from the government.

 

For more information, please see:

NBC — Comprehensive Gay Pardon Law Filibustered in UK — 22 October 2016

BBC — ‘Turing Bill’ for Gay Pardons Fails in Parliament — 21 October 2016

The Guardian — Conservative Minister Obstructs Progression of Gay Pardon Law — 21 October 2016

Newsy — Filibuster Kills the UK’s Gay Pardon Bill — 21 October 2016

Clashes between Protestors and Venezuelan Security Forces

By Cintia Garcia

Impunity Watch Reporter, South America

CARACAS, Venezuela—Venezuelan opposition protestors clashed with security forces on Wednesday. One police officer was shot and killed. At least 20 people have been injured, including 3 that were shot, and an estimated 208 arrests occurred nationwide.

Venezuelan opposition protestors marched across the nation. (Photo Courtesy of Reuters)
Venezuelan opposition protestors marched across the nation. (Photo Courtesy of Reuters)

Hundreds of thousands of opposition protestors took to the streets throughout Venezuela after a referendum was blocked. A referendum is being pushed by the opposition to remove president Maduro from office by hosting elections. The opposition was able to gather 1.8 million signatures demanding a referendum; 400,000 signatures were validated by the electoral authorities that would have authorized the election. If an election is held, the opposition would need to get over 7,587,579 votes to oust president Maduro. The referendum was halted after officials ruled that there was identity fraud. In the National Assembly, which is dominated by the opposition, voted to launch a political trial against President Nicolas Maduro. But the Supreme Court has overruled every decision made by the National Assembly since it became the majority. In addition, opposition leaders have called for a 12-hour national strike and a march on November 3 to the presidential palace if the referendum does not go forward. A protestor stated, “If they don’t want to let us choose in an electoral voting process, they are going to have to listen to us as we march in the streets peacefully, overwhelmingly, and tirelessly until they meet the demands of the Venezuelan people.”

The Vatican has announced it will serve as a neutral party to mediate talks between the opposition and the government—but many do not believe this will work. President Maduro on a televised address, stated that the opposition leaders are seeking a coup with the support of the US. He stated, “They are desperate, they have received the order form the north to destroy the Venezuelan revolution.” He also called for a dialogue and peace.

Venezuela has suffered an economic crisis due to falling crude oil prices. This has lead to a food shortage and inflation. The opposition has blamed President Maduro for the crisis and President Maduro has blamed the opposition.

For more information, please see:

Aljazeera—Policeman Dies After Being Shot at Venezuela Protests—27 October 2016.

BBC—Venezuela Anti-Maduro Protests: Policeman Shot Dead—27 October 2016. 

CNN—Venezuela Protests: Officer Killed, Dozens Reported Injured—27 October 2016.

Reuters—Venezuela Protests Against Maduro Escalate, Dozens Injured—27 October 2016.

The Guardian: Dakota Access pipeline protests: UN group investigates human rights abuses

 Jailed protesters say they were temporarily kept in cages that felt like ‘dog kennels’, but officials say the allegations of poor treatment are untrue. Photograph: Morton County correctional center
Jailed protesters say they were temporarily kept in cages that felt like ‘dog kennels’, but officials say the allegations of poor treatment are untrue. Photograph: Morton County correctional center

A United Nations group is investigating allegations of human rights abuses by North Dakota law enforcement against Native American protesters, with indigenous leaders testifying about “acts of war” they observed during mass arrests at an oil pipeline protest.

A representative of the UN’s permanent forum on indigenous issues, an advisory group, has been collecting testimony from Dakota Access pipeline protesters who have raised concerns about excessive force, unlawful arrests and mistreatment in jail where some activists have been held in cages.

“When you look at what the international standards are for the treatment of people, and you are in a place like the United States, it’s really astounding to hear some of this testimony,” said Roberto Borrero, a representative of the International Indian Treaty Council.

Borrero, a Taino tribe member who is assisting the UN forum in its interviews, told the Guardian on Sunday night that the activists’ stories of human rights violations raised a number of serious questions about police response. “A lot of it was just very shocking.”

The pipeline protests have become increasingly intense over the last two weeks as construction has moved closer to the Missouri river and as police have aggressively responded to activists’ demonstrations with arrests, pepper spray, riot gear and army tanks.

The Standing Rock camps first emerged in April and have since drawn thousands of Native Americans and climate change activists from across North America and beyond to rally against the $3.7bn oil pipeline, which would carry crude oil from the Bakken oil field to a refinery near Chicago.

Native American dancers perform during a peaceful demonstration near the Dakota Access pipeline site on 29 October.
Native American dancers perform during a peaceful demonstration near the Dakota Access pipeline site on 29 October. Photograph: STRINGER/Reuters

The tribal leadership’s attempts to block construction in court have been unsuccessful, and the pipeline operator, Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, has moved forward at a rapid pace, building on lands that indigenous leaders say contain sacred burial grounds.

Despite the 22 October arrests of more than 120 people, activists set up new camps on the sites where construction is planned, not far from the river that they fear could be contaminated by the pipeline.

The Morton County sheriff’s office responded on 27 October by surrounding the protesters and arresting 141 people.

Officials have accused activists and journalists of a range of charges, including criminal trespassing, rioting, and a number of serious felonies. Law enforcement have also set up strictly enforced traffic blockades protecting the pipeline site from protesters and the general public.

Native Americans recently released from jail, including elderly women and young activists, have since shared stories with the Guardian of the treatment they faced behind bars, which they said was cruel and inhumane.

Jailed protesters said it seemed clear that police weren’t prepared to handle hundreds of people at once in their local correctional facilities. A day after their release, many still had numbers and charges written on their arms in marker – which advocates said was an unusual and dehumanizing way for police to track inmates – and some were temporarily kept in cages that they said felt like “dog kennels”.

On Monday, Borrero and Grand Chief Edward John, a Native American member of the UN permanent forum, met with police officials in the local town of Mandan and visited the controversial cages.

The Guardian was planning to join the UN on the visit, and a police spokesman initially told a reporter, “We have nothing to hide.”

But sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, the controversial law enforcement official leading the response to the protests, later refused to let the media in, saying allegations of poor treatment were “not true”, before shutting a door on a reporter.

Another official with the sheriff’s office also appeared to be hostile toward the UN representatives when they arrived. In the presence of a Guardian videographer, that police official told Borrero and John it seemed as if they weren’t neutral and had already made up their minds that police had mistreated protesters.

A spokeswoman later sent photos of the holding cells, adding in an email that the “temporary fenced cubicles” were “at least” 10 by 14ft. The images show a windowless room with a number of parallel cages with ceilings of fencing.

Temporary holding cells have been installed at the Morton County correctional center to deal with the mass arrests.
Temporary holding cells have been installed at the Morton County correctional center to deal with the mass arrests. Photograph: Morton County Correctional Center

The spokeswoman also claimed that while in the cells, the inmates have access to bathrooms, food, water and medical attention.

But several arrested protesters said they had to wait for basic necessities.

Johanna Holy Elk Face, a 63-year-old woman arrested last week, told the Guardian that she is diabetic and had very high blood sugar while behind bars. Police were slow to respond to her request for help, she said.

“I was scared,” she said, adding that she was worried she was going to have a seizure.

Phyllis Young, a member of Standing Rock Sioux tribe, also provided testimony to the UN representatives on Sunday inside a small tent that shook as strong winds blew outside.

Young said she intended to help the tribe file a lawsuit against North Dakota law enforcement, saying the police’s violent acts against native people were “not only conditions of colonialism, but conditions of war”.

“We embarked upon a peaceful and prayerful campaign,” she said. “They were placed in cages. They had numbers written on their arms very much like concentration camps.”

The UN forum, which has previously urged the US to allow the Sioux tribe to have a say in the pipeline project, plans to issue a report and possible recommendations after its inquiry is complete.

Kandi Mossett, a 37-year-old protester and member of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara nation, got emotional while standing in the rain recounting the mass arrests last week.

“The government is allowing the police force to be used as a military force to protect an oil company,” she said.

Mossett said she would like to see the sheriff investigated and major reforms instituted in the department to stop the violent response to peaceful demonstrators.

“This started out as defending water, but now it’s so much more.”

Young said she was particularly disturbed to hear police talk of shielding pipeline property from activists, considering the long history of abuse against Native Americans in North Dakota and across the US.

“When they tell us we should protect property, they need to eat their words. Who is the thief here?”

War Crimes Prosecution Watch: Volume 11, Issue 17 – October 31, 2016

Case School of Law Logo

FREDERICK K. COX
INTERNATIONAL LAW CENTER

Founder/Advisor
Michael P. Scharf

War Crimes Prosecution Watch

Volume 11 – Issue 17
October 31, 2016

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Editor-in-Chief
Kevin J. Vogel

Technical Editor-in-Chief
Jeradon Z. Mura

Managing Editors
Dustin Narcisse
Victoria Sarant

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. To subscribe, please email warcrimeswatch@pilpg.org and type “subscribe” in the subject line.

Opinions expressed in the articles herein represent the views of their authors and are not necessarily those of the War Crimes Prosecution Watch staff, the Case Western Reserve University School of Law or Public International Law & Policy Group.

Contents

CENTRAL AFRICA

Central African Republic

Sudan & South Sudan

Democratic Republic of the Congo

WEST AFRICA

The Gambia

Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)

Lake Chad Region — Chad, Nigeria, Niger, and Cameroon

Mali

EAST AFRICA

Burundi

Uganda

Kenya

Rwanda (International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda)

Somalia

NORTH AFRICA

Libya

SOUTH AFRICA

South Africa

MIDDLE EAST AND ASIA

Syria

Yemen

Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

Special Tribunal for Lebanon

Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal

War Crimes Investigations in Burma

Israel and Palestine

North Korea

TOPICS

Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Terrorism

Piracy

Gender-Based Violence

Commentary and Perspectives