Yemen - War crimes - Europe

European arms in Yemen

Communication to the ICC

In order to investigate the role of corporate and state actors for alleged war crimes in Yemen, ECCHR and international partners submitted a Communication to the International Criminal Court in The Hague on 11 December 2019. The Communication focusses on arms firms like Airbus, Leonardo and Rheinmetall.

Residential area in the Old City of Sana'a (Yemen) after an airstrike allegedly conducted by the Saudi/VAE led coalition © Mwatana

Syria - Torture - Norway

Syrian torture survivors file criminal complaint in Norway

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.

Philippines - Sexualized Violence - Japan

World War II: Survivors of Sexual Slavery call for compensation

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.

The surviving Malaya Lolas are between 75 and 95 years old today © Hannah Reyes Morales / MAPS

Syria - Torture - Charges

Charges against former high-ranking Assad government official

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.

Brazil - Dam failure - TÜV SÜD

The deadly safety business

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.

Many of the destroyed houses were not reconstructed, their inhabitants still live in hotels © Photo: ECCHR

Syria - Armed Conflicts - Lafarge

Lafarge/Syria case to go to the French Supreme Court

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.