For the first time, the Croatian government must answer in court for its practice of pushing back migrants to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). On 25 May, the European Court of Human Rights published a communication on the individual complaints brought by three Syrian refugees. The applicants – one of whom was an unaccompanied minor at the time – were were summarily and collectively expelled from Croatia to BiH in October 2018. They are supported by ECCHR and Pro Asyl and represented by ECCHR partner lawyer Carsten Gericke.
Human rights due diligence in times of (economic) crises
COVID-19 has also led to a significant disruption of world trade. Faced with this crisis, transnational textile companies fall back on exactly what their supply chains are designed for: externalizing costs, outsourcing economic risk, and shifting the responsibility for workers’ social rights to suppliers. They leave behind corporate social responsibility as well as human rights obligations. ECCHR’s policy paper explores how proper human rights due diligence by textile companies and retailers should have looked like in the last years and how companies should act now to protect workers in the current situation.
On 23 April 2020, the first trial worldwide on state torture in Syria started at the Higher Regional Court in Koblenz, Germany. The defendants are Anwar R and Eyad A, two former officials in of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s General Intelligence Service. ECCHR supports 17 torture survivors in the proceedings, seven of whom are joint plaintiffs and represented by ECCHR partner lawyers. Read our monitoring of the al-Khatib trial here.
On 18 May, Anwar R, main defendant in the first trial worldwide on state torture in Syira gave a statement. He is charged with being an accomplice in torturing at least 4000 people, murdering 58 people, as well as rape and aggravated sexual assault in the al-Khatib prison. “Anwar R is trying to downplay his role by saying he obeyed orders. That is common practice in such trials. But he allegedly issued, not merely received and followed, them” said ECCHR general secretary Wolfgang Kaleck.
European arms exports to Saudi Arabia
On 26 March 2015, the armed conflict in Yemen escalated when a Saudi and UAE-led military coalition started a bombing campaign in support of Yemeni President Hadi. Europe plays a part in this – some countries, including France, the UK and Germany, as well as European corporations profit from the war by exporting weapons and weapons components to countries conducting the attacks in Yemen.
ECtHR heard case on 26 February
In September 2009, two US fighter jets, acting on the orders of German Army Colonel Georg Klein, bombed a large group of people on a sandbar in the Kunduz River (Afghanistan). More than 100 people – mainly civilians – were killed or injured. On 26 February 2020 – ten years later – the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg heard the case before its Grand Chamber.