ICC urged to finally investigate detainee abuse by UK forces
On 31 July 2019, ECCHR filed a follow-up submission to the International Criminal Court concerning war crimes by UK forces in Iraq. ECCHR is calling upon the Court to finally commence a formal investigation. To date, the UK has entirely failed to address the extent to which the abuse was the result of systemic issues as well as to prosecute those most responsible for the crimes.
ECCHR mourns the loss of Simon Rau. Our colleague Simon had just recently turned 30: far too young to die, and yet that is what happened. A few weeks ago, on a Tuesday morning in June. He was laid to rest on 5 July 2019 in Marburg, where he grew up. On 1 July 2019, friends and colleagues joined Simon’s family in his adopted hometown of Berlin to mourn his death. Struggling to come to terms with what had happened, we were all at a loss. May his all-too-premature death be a reminder to us to follow his example, to treat each other and all those we meet with same kindness, openness and empathy that Simon showed. Our thoughts are in particular with Simon’s mother, his family, and his close friends.
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.
Investigations against sect doctor Hopp closed
In 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. ECCHR partner lawyer Petra Schlagenhauf appealed the decision to close the proceedings.