To counter injustice with legal interventions – this is the aim and daily work of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR).
ECCHR is an independent, non-profit legal and educational organization dedicated to enforcing civil and human rights worldwide. It was founded in 2007 by Wolfgang Kaleck together with other international human rights lawyers, in order to protect and enforce the rights guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as other declarations of human rights and national constitutions, through legal means.
Together with affected persons and partners worldwide, ECCHR uses legal means to end impunity of those responsible for torture, war crimes, sexualized violence, corporate exploitation and fortressed borders.
ECtHR to hear airstrike case
On 4 September 2009, the Kunduz air strike in Afghanistan killed more than 90 civilians. On the 10th anniversary of the bombing, Andreas Schüller, Program Director of International Crimes and Accountability at the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), is releasing the following statement. ECCHR assists Abdul Hanan, an Afghani father who lost his two sons, aged eight and twelve, in the attack.
"In solidarity with those affected by the Kunduz bombings, we have called for a full legal assessment of the German military’s role in the airstrikes since 2010. We are pleased that in late August, after three years of written proceedings, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg decided to hear the case before its Grand Chamber. The case stems from the father’s claim against Germany, which ECCHR initiated.
The German authorities’ investigations were inadequate, leading the German Federal Prosecutor to prematurely discontinue them in 2010. A further claim to compel German authorities to bring criminal charges was rejected, leaving Mr. Hanan without access to justice. This is why we needed to appeal to the ECtHR.
The bombing, in which German Army Colonel Georg Klein played a crucial role, must be thoroughly assessed for human rights violations. In future cases, it is critical that independent investigations be carried out in a timely manner, and that those affected have easy access to complaint mechanisms. Unfortunately, neither has been the case for victims of the Kunduz bombings. Insufficient prosecution is a sign that those in the military who are responsible for human rights violations remain unaccountable for alleged crimes.
Mr. Hanan is hopeful that the independent European Court’s review of the German Federal Prosecutor and the German courts’ decisions will uphold his rights."
The 27 August 2019 ECtHR decision is available here.
On 4 September 2009, two US fighter jets, acting on the orders of German Army Colonel Georg Klein, bombed a large group of people and two tanker trucks on a sandbar in the Kunduz River in Afghanistan. More than 100 people were killed or injured. ECCHR is assisting Abdul Hanan, a father who lost his two sons, aged eight and twelve, in the attack.
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