The Higher Regional Court of Hamm rejected the application for legal aid filed by Pakistani plaintiffs in the case against German textile retailer KiK. In January 2019, the court dismissed the lawsuit, which aimed to clarify KiK's joint responsibility for fire safety deficiencies at a supplier factory in Pakistan, arguing the case was statute-barred. The plaintiffs applied for legal aid in order to appeal the verdict.
Swedish prosecution authorities responded promptly to the first criminal complaint filed in Sweden against torture in Syria. Since April 2019, four of nine Syrian torture survivors gave witness evidence to the War Crimes Unit. Together with ECCHR they had submitted a criminal complaint under the principle of universal jurisdiction in February 2019 against senior officials of the Assad government.
Milestones of our work in the past year
The new ECCHR Annual Report is out! With contributions from survivors of human rights violations, from our partners and from ECCHR staff it shows: legal efforts to challenge oppression, torture and exploitation are bearing fruit. The report sets out the milestones of ECCHR's work in 2018 and documents our legal interventions, publications and events over the past year. The report also features works by Argentine artist Marcelo Brodsky.
Wolfgang Kaleck, founder and General Secretary of ECCHR, was awarded the M.C. Bassiouni Justice Award 2019. The prize acknowldges his coureageous and vocal objection to the double standards in international criminal law, his efforts in strategic litigation and the founding of ECCHR.
Investigations against sect doctor Hopp closed
On 6 May 2019, a prosecutor in Germany closed investigations into Hartmut Hopp, former doctor of Colonia Dignidad, a German sect in Chile. This decision once again shows the inactivity of the German judiciary with regards to the serious crimes committed at the Colonia. Several survivors and witnesses of these crimes are willing to give evidence, including on the role of Hopp in the torture and murder of opponents of Chile's Pinochet regime. The prosecutor in Krefeld decided to ignore them. Survivors of Colonia Dignidad are shocked by the decision, their trust in the German justice system is shaken. Together with their lawyer Petra Schlagenhauf and ECCHR, they are exploring options for an appeal.
ECCHR, together with other organizers of the "Namibia: A Week of Justice," asks the German government to finally enter a dialogue with the descendants of those affected by the genocide against Ovaherero and Nama peoples (1904-08). So far, negotiations between the German and Namibian government to address the genocide and colonial injustices did neither lead to solutions nor an official apology.