Thema

Crimes against Humanity

Crimes against humanity – defined as a systematic attack on a civilian population – tend to be planned or at least condoned by state authorities: heads of government, senior officials or military leaders. In some cases, companies also play a direct or indirect role in their perpetration.

The term "crimes against humanity" was first defined during the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials. Under this definition the Nazis' mass extermination of the Jewish population in Europe and other groups was a genocide but it also constituted a crime against humanity as a whole.

When crimes against humanity – which can include ethnic cleansing, enslavement or deportation of a population – are perpetrated today, those responsible for them can be prosecuted before the International Criminal Court (ICC) or in certain national jurisdictions under the principle of universal jurisdiction. All too often, however, those responsible enjoy absolute impunity.

ECCHR works to end impunity for crimes against humanity. Together with affected persons, civil society organizations and an international network of partner organizations and lawyers, ECCHR undertakes legal interventions to bring those responsible to justice. 

documents

Argentina

Mercedes Benz supported the Argentine military dictatorship

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

Bahrain

Alleged crimes against humanity in Bahrain: Serious investigations must be initiated

Arab Spring

ECCHR sent an advisory opinion to the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry. The statement seeks to draw the commission's attention to the cases of two persons who suffered severe injuries when they were shot at by Bahraini security forces before being forcibly removed from hospital, imprisoned, and abused.

Berlin

Memory and Justice

Memory

The symposium 'Memory and Justice' at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin created a platform for interdisciplinary debates – spanning various epochs and regions – on legal proceedings, inquiries and other state responses to grave crimes and the extent of civil society participation in these processes.

Democratic Republic Congo

Groundbreaking trial in Germany

Armed Conflict

The Higher Regional Court in Stuttgart handed down convictions in the trial of two Rwandan leaders of the Hutu militia group FDLR, Ignace Murwanashyaka and Straton Musoni. The FDLR are alleged to have utilized sexualized violence against the Congolese civilian population and to have in numerous cases plundered, killed and inflicted grievous bodily injuries.

Colombia

Violence against human rights defenders

Armed Conflict

ECCHR submitted a communication to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court requesting action on violence against trade unionists as human rights defenders in Colombia.

Colombia

The Padilla Case and Crimes against Humanity

Armed Conflict

General Padilla was General Commander of the Colombian Military Forces when the practice of 'falsos positivos' escalated. He is presumably responsible for international crimes committed by his subordinates, he neither prevented nor punished the wrongdoers.

Colombia

Sexualized violence in the Colombian conflict

Armed Conflict

The Colombian state is denying women the protection against sexualized crimes and access to justice that it is obliged to guarantee under national and international law. In response, ECCHR has submitted a criminal complaint against Colombia to the International Criminal Court.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka – War crimes and gender-based sexual violence

Armed Conflict

Ever since the final stages of the Sri Lankan civil war in 2009, issues of the criminal accountability for war crimes, crimes against humanity and the ongoing sexualized violence against women have been part of ECCHR's work.

Sri Lanka

Sexualized Violence in Sri Lanka

Armed Conflict

Sri Lanka must comply with its international obligations in the fight against gender-based discrimination. The country should bring its law in line with the UN Convention on Women.

Syria

German authorities issue arrest warrant against Jamil Hassan, head of the Syrian Air Force Intelligence

Torture

Senior officials of Bashar al-Assad's government are responsible for the international crimes committed at Air Force Intelligence branches. A criminal complaint supported by ECCHR is directed against ten named high-ranking officials from the National Security Bureau and the Air Force Intelligence.

Syria

Saydnaya Military Prison – Objective is to physically and psychologically break detainees

Torture

Syrian prisons have been places of systematic degradation, unimaginable torture and mass executions for several years. ECCHR supported a criminal complaint that was filed in Germany against seven high-ranking Syrian military officials.

Syria

"Caesar" Photos Document Systematic Torture

Torture

The group around the former Syrian military police employee 'Caesar' took for the first legal action by filing together with ECCHR a criminal complaint against senior officials from the Syrian intelligence services and the military police concerning crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Syria

Lafarge in Syria – Accusations of complicity in grave human rights violations

Armed Conflict

Eleven former Syrian employees of French company Lafarge submitted a criminal complaint against Lafarge. By having business relations with the terrorist group ISIS in Syria, the company may have taken part in the financing of the group, being therefore complicit in war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Syria

Torture under the Assad Regime

Torture

The Syrian government led by president Bashar al-Assad is responsible for systematic and widespread torture. ECCHR together with seven Syrian torture survivors as well as the Syrian lawyers al-Bunni and Darwish submitted the first criminal complaint against six high-level officials of the Syrian military intelligence service to the German Federal Prosecutor.

Syria

The path to justice leads through Europe – e.g. Austria

Torture

They survived torture and detention in Syria and fled to Europe, where they now hope to obtain justice. Austrian authorities should follow the example set in Germany, Sweden and France and initiate investigations into systematic torture under Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

Uzbekistan

Criminal complaint against Zakir Almatov

Torture

A criminal complaint against former Uzbek minister of interior Zakir Almatov, the Uzbek head of secret service Rustan Inojatov, and others was filed to the Federal Public Prosecutor on behalf of eight Uzbek citizens because of torture and crimes against humanity.