An amicus curiae brief is a written submission to a court in which an amicus curiae (literally a “friend of the court:” a person or organization who/which is not party to the proceedings) can set out legal arguments and recommendations in a given case.
In December 2019, the Dutch parliament passed a law to phase out coal. With this, the country on the North Sea wants to ban the burning of coal for power generation from 2030, also in order to comply with its obligations under the Paris Climate Agreement. Among other things, the law obligated the energy company RWE to stop burning coal at its Eemshaven power plant by the end of the decade. RWE therefore sued the Netherlands for 1.4 billion euros in damages.
In October 2010, ECCHR, along with Theo van Boven filed two amicus curiae briefs before Argentinean courts. The briefs support four different cases in the trials regarding sexualviolence in detention centers during the military dictatorship.
In the Mercedes Benz case ECCHR is assisting relatives of trade unionists who disappeared from a Mercedes Benz plant in Buenos Aires. A senior manager at the company stands accused of involvement in the disappearances and murders of trade union activists carried out by Argentine security forces.
In 2009, the States of Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat launched a research project for the vaccination against the human papilloma virus (HPV). In 2010, the Government of India suspended the program as several violations of ethical standards were reported.
Research & Academia
The criminal investigation into Lumumba’s assassination is part of a broader context of structural impunity for the crimes committed by European colonial powers during decolonization. While the long-term effects of colonization persist, direct accountability is rarely possible.
ECCHR criticizes the passing of a new law in context of peace negotiations with Colombian FARC. The law contains gaps, including those regarding military commanders’ effective control over their subordinate units.
ECCHR supports claimants in a case of corporate crime in front of the US Supreme Court. The proceedings are a continuation of the high-profile case taken against Shell. The claimants argue that Shell, through its Nigerian subsidiary, aided and abetted crimes, including torture and extrajudicial executions.
Transnational corporations responsibilities also extend to the working conditions in their subsidiary and supplier companies abroad. This position is supported by survivors and relatives of victims of the fatal fire at the Ali Enterprises textile factory in Karachi. Together with ECCHR, they filed a legal action for compensation against KiK.
Mining projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America often give rise to environmental problems and social conflict. Local communities near the Tintaya Antapaccay mine in Peru have raised concerns about heavy metals polluting the water and associated health problems. The mine is run by a Glencore subsidiary.
Border Timbers Limited, a company owned by European investors, challenged the Zimbabwe government’s expropriation of its timber plantations in national and international forums. Indigenous communities, supported by ECCHR, have tried to assert their rights in these proceedings.
ECCHR is supporting the lawsuit filed by South African victims of the apartheid regime against eight European and US corporations (among them Daimbler and Rheinmetall). The plaintiffs accuse the companies of either directly committing human rights violations in South Africa, or of facilitating and supporting state-sponsored human rights violations.
In March 2009, ECCHR partner lawyer Gonzalo Boye filed a criminal complaint against six former US officials of the Bush administration regarding their accountability for violations of international law, including war crimes and torture. The US officials became known as the “Bush Six.”
ECCHR sumbitted an amici curiae brief in order to support the compensation claim in the Arar case. Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen, was arrested and abducted by US officials in 2002 and brought to Syria. During his one-year detention he suffered torture and was imprisoned under inhumane conditions.
Moroccan citizen El Haski was convicted to imprisonment in 2004 in Belgium for several offences committed with regard to an alleged terrorist group. At his conviction, witness testimony from Morocco was used which, according to El Haski, was procured by torture.