How to hold governments and corporate actors accountable?
Despite an abundance of documented human rights violations in Yemen, many countries including Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and France continue to export arms, components and spare parts to the military coalition lead by Saudi Arabia and the UAE. European arms companies are profiting, but their wares are fueling the conflict. On 12 December, we will discuss in The Hague together with our partners how to hold arms companies and governments to account.
On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of Japan's invasion of the Mapanique district in the Philippines, ECCHR and CenterLaw filed a complaint with the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women on 25 November 2019. On behalf of 28 members of the Malaya Lolas, a survivor organization, ECCHR and CenterLaw are demanding compensation from the Philippines.
Assad’s senior intelligence officers accused of torture
Five torture survivors filed criminal charges, including crimes against humanity, against 17 senior officials of Assad's security apparatus on 11 November 2019 in Oslo. The crimes detailed in the complaint were committed in 14 detention facilities throughout Syria. Like in other European countries, the legal action in Norway is based on the principle of universal jurisdiction. The aim of the legal action initiated by the claimants, ECCHR, and its Syrian and Norwegian partners is for the Norwegian judiciary to investigate the 17 intelligence officials and issue international arrest warrants.
With the first criminal trial worldwide on torture in Syria, German courts to set international precedent
Mid-October 2019, the German Federal Public Prosecutor filed charges against two former officials of President Bashar al-Assad's Syrian General Intelligence Directorate at the Higher Regional Court in Koblenz. The first trial worldwide on state torture in Syria is expected to start in Germany in early 2020 – an important message in the fight against impunity. Anwar R. is suspected of involvement in the torture of at least 4,000 people in the Al-Khatib Branch, a detention center in Damascus. Eyad A. has been charged with torture in at least thirty cases.
Complaint against German certifier TÜV SÜD
In January 2019, a dam burst at a mine near Brumadinho, killing more than 270 people. Only four months earlier, German certifier TÜV SÜD's Brazilian subsidiary confirmed the dam's safety. In order to clarify the German company's responsibility, those affected together with ECCHR submitted complaints against TÜV SÜD and one of its employees to the public prosecutor in Munich on 15 October.
No indictment for complicity in crimes against humanity
On 7 November 2019, the Investigation Chamber of the Paris Court of Appeals revoked the indictment of French company Lafarge for complicity in crimes against humanity committed in Syria in particular by the IS. However, the judges upheld the indictment for deliberately endangering the lives of others, financing terrorism and violating a trade embargo. Charges remain against eight former executives. ECCHR and Sherpa will appeal at the French Supreme Court – an opportunity to examine this case, which has crucial repercussions for fighting the impunity of multinational companies that fuel human rights violations in armed conflicts.