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War Crimes

    February 27, 2011

    Saturday's Security Council referral of Libya to the International Criminal Court marks a historic moment in accountability for crimes under international law, Amnesty International said today.

    The Security Council's vote came after a plea for action from Libya's own UN delegation, which had announced that it no longer represented Col al-Gaddafi.

    "This is a welcome and historic precedent," said Steve Crawshaw, director of international advocacy at Amnesty International. "Libyan leaders and all others who may commit crimes under international law must now take heed that they will be called to account."

    "For the people of Libya, this decision is a signal that the international community will not avert its eyes from the human rights abuses that they continue to suffer."

    Amnesty International urged the UN Human Rights Council, the Arab League and the African Union, all of which have announced investigative missions to Libya, to urgently proceed with their missions and to hand over their findings to the ICC prosecutor as soon as possible.

    The organization also called on the Security Council to consider similar action elsewhere.

    February 25, 2011

    Amnesty International has today called on the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Libya to the International Criminal Court and impose an immediate arms embargo, ahead of a planned session in New York on 25 February.

    "Colonel al-Gaddafi and his chain of command have to understand they will answer for their actions," said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International's Secretary-General. "They need to see that investigation and prosecution are a reality they will face."

    "This should act as a wake-up call to those issuing the orders and those who carry them out: your crimes will not go unpunished."

    "Members of the Security Council must act now to stop the outrageous abuses taking place on the streets of Tripoli and elsewhere in Libya."

    The organization repeated its call of 23 February to the Security Council to immediately impose an arms embargo on Libya preventing transfer of equipment and personnel, and to implement an asset freeze against Colonel al-Gaddafi, those associated with him, and anyone else involved in human rights abuses.

    February 22, 2011

    Amnesty International has today called on the UN Security Council and the Arab League to launch an immediate mission to Libya to investigate events that have left hundreds of protesters dead.

    The call for the investigation, which could lead to prosecutions at the International Criminal Court (ICC), comes as both the UN Security Council and the Arab League meet today for special sessions to discuss the spiralling violence in the country.

    The organization also called on the UN Security Council to impose a total arms embargo on Libya, amidst reports that security forces are continuing to deploy a range of weaponry, munitions and related equipment to use lethal force against protesters.

    “Colonel al-Gaddafi and his government appear to be prepared to kill as many people as it takes to stay in power. The international community needs to act now to put a stop to this.” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary-General.

    January 21, 2011

    Amnesty International is again urging the Croatian authorities to investigate war crimes committed during the 1991-1995 war following a key European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling that could allow thousands of victims seek justice internationally. The ECHR yesterday found that the Croatian authorities were responsible for the lack of adequate investigations into the disappearance and deaths of two war crimes victims in 1991, despite the country only becoming part of the European Convention on Human Rights in 1997.

    “This judgement creates a significant precedent, allowing victims of war crimes committed during the wars in the former Yugoslavia to seek justice before the ECHR if states do not carry out adequate investigations into those crimes.” said Marek Marczynski, Amnesty International’s expert on Croatia.

    The ruling centred around two cases, including that of a woman whose husband was shot by the Yugoslav army in 1991 in Vukovar.

    Despite some evidence being gathered by the authorities, no meaningful progress was made in the investigation and 2010 proceedings were terminated under an Amnesty law.

    The Allard Prize for International Integrity and The Centre for Feminist Legal Studies at the Peter A. Allard School of Law, UBC will host a film screening and panel discussion on combatting crimes of sexual violence, featuring “Fighting the Silence,” a globally acclaimed documentary about sexual violence against women in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    “Fighting the Silence” tells the story of ordinary Congolese women and men who are struggling to change their society. Rape survivors and their families speak out openly about the suffering they endured because their culture considers women second class citizens and rape a taboo.

    The panel discussion following the screening will focus on issues raised by the film and discuss the broader context of seeking accountability for crimes of sexual violence, both internationally and domestically.  A reception will follow.

    Panelists:

    A child is digging in the rubble of the destroyed al-Dalu family house in Gaza City © Amnesty International

    The following is a firsthand account by Donatella Rovera, Senior Crisis Response Adviser, reporting from Gaza. The ceasefire came into effect at 9pm on November 21 November.

    The children are playing outside again, despite the torrential rain. They were stuck indoors during eight days of relentless Israeli bombardments.

    By the time that ended in excess of 160 people were dead - including more than 30 children and scores of other unarmed civilians.

    For the duration of the onslaught they were stuck indoors - at home, seeking refuge with relatives or in schools which the UN refugee agency turned into temporary shelters for thousands of families forced from their houses by the bombings.

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