Important step in the Lafarge/Syria case: French Court nominates investigative judges

13 June 2017 - France has launched a judicial inquiry into the Syrian activities of cement and construction group LafargeHolcim. The judicial investigation entrusted to three judges since 6 June 2017 follows a criminal complaint filed by a number of former Syrian Lafarge employees together with ECCHR and French NGO Sherpa in November 2016. The formal opening of the investigations in the Lafarge/Syria case is an important step towards showing that corporations are not beyond the law and must be held to account.

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Torture: CIA deputy Gina Haspel must face arrest on travelling to Germany or Europe

7 June 2017 – An arrest warrant for CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel: that’s the aim of a new dossier from the ECCHR submitted to the German Federal Public Prosecutor (Generalbundesanwalt) in Karlsruhe. Haspel was appointed to the position by US President Donald Trump in February 2017. The information submitted by ECCHR on 6 June 2017 documents Haspel’s role in the torture of detainees while she was serving as head of a secret CIA prison in Thailand. In the dossier, ECCHR argues that Haspel oversaw the daily torture of detainees at the black site in 2002 and failed to do anything to stop it. The dossier on Haspel is a follow-up to ECCHR’s criminal complaint on the US torture program filed with the Federal Public Prosecutor in December 2014.

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Greek hotspots: EU Ombudsman probes work of European Asylum Support Office (EASO)

6 June 2017 – The European Ombudsman will examine practices by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) at “hotspots” (reception centers) in Greece. The move comes in response to a complaint about the inadmissibility decisions taken under the EU-Turkey agreement. ECCHR file the complaint in April 2017 argueing that the work of EASO not only lacks a legal basis, it also fails to respect core standards of fairness. The Ombudsman has now declared the complaint admissible.

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German prosecutor paves the way for first Syrian cases under universal jurisdiction laws

11 May 2017 - Criminal complaint in March, witness hearings in May: the German Federal Prosecutor has responded promptly to the first criminal complaint filed in Germany on torture in Syria. This week the complainants – nine Syrian torture survivors now living in Germany – gave witness evidence in Berlin. These nine women and men, including lawyers Anwar al-Bunni and Mazen Darwish witnessed or were themselves subjected to torture in Syrian military intelligence run prisons. ECCHR worked with them to file a criminal complaint in Karlsruhe in March 2017 under the principle of universal jurisdiction against senior officials in Bashar al Assad’s government.

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