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War Crimes

    September 16, 2015
    War crimes: Boko Haram shoots, burns and slits throats of hundreds of people Authorities detain more than 1,000 people - dozens die in inhumane conditions More than 130 men and boys disappeared at hands of security forces New satellite images show destruction of civilian property by security forces

    Boko Haram has slaughtered nearly 400 civilians in northern Cameroon, while a heavy-handed response by security forces and inhumane prison conditions have led to dozens more deaths, Amnesty International said in a report launched today.

    Based on three research missions in 2015, the report, Human rights under fire: attacks and violations in Cameroon's struggle with Boko Haram, documents how Boko Haram has killed at least 380 civilians since January 2014.

    August 26, 2015

    US authorities must ensure that the re-opened investigation into the alleged killing of some 18 Afghan civilians by US Special Forces is rigorous and thorough, Amnesty International said. The Afghan victims and family members must obtain the justice and reparations they deserve.

    Media reports indicate that the US military has renewed an inquiry into a Special Forces Unit believed to have been responsible for extrajudicial killings, torture and enforced disappearances between November 2012 and February 2013. The unit allegedly killed up to 18 people in Wardak province’s Nerkh and Maidan Shahr districts.

    “This is a welcome but overdue move by US military authorities. It is shocking that the Afghan victims’ family members are still waiting for justice, despite overwhelming evidence that the Nerkh and Maidan Shahr killings amounted to war crimes,” said Richard Bennett, Amnesty International’s Asia Director.

    August 19, 2015

    The undersigned organizations call on the United Nations Human Rights Council to create an international commission of inquiry to investigate alleged serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law by all relevant parties since September 2014 when the Houthi armed group took control of Sana’a, the Yemen capital. 

    On March 26, 2015, a Saudi-led coalition launched an air campaign against the Houthi forces. Since then, parties to the conflict have committed serious violations of international law, some of which may amount to war crimes.

    The Saudi-led coalition has conducted indiscriminate airstrikes in violation of international humanitarian law that have killed scores of civilians and hit civilian objects and infrastructure. On July 24, for example, coalition airplanes repeatedly struck two residential compounds of the Mokha Steam Power Plant. These strikes alone killed at least 65 civilians, including 10 children. 

    August 17, 2015

    Posted at 0001hrs BST  18 August 2015

    Saudi Arabia-led coalition airstrikes and attacks by pro and anti-Huthi armed groups in Ta’iz and Aden in Yemen have killed scores of civilians - including dozens of children – and could amount to war crimes, Amnesty International has revealed in a new briefing published today.

    August 11, 2015

    Posted at 0001hrs BST   12 August 2015

    Relentless aerial bombardment and shelling by Syrian government forces is magnifying the suffering of civilians trapped under siege and facing an escalating humanitarian crisis in Eastern Ghouta, said Amnesty International in a new report published today.

    ‘Left to die under siege’: War crimes and human rights abuses in Eastern Ghouta, Syria reveals damning evidence of war crimes and describes the Syrian government’s siege on Eastern Ghouta and unlawful killing of its besieged civilians, occurring as part of a widespread as well as systematic attack on the civilian population, as amounting to crimes against humanity. The report also highlights the agonizing struggle to survive of more than 163,000 people living under siege in Eastern Ghouta, as well as exposing abuses by non-state armed groups in the area.

    August 11, 2015

    Evidence collected by Amnesty International in a fact-finding mission indicates that multiple Turkish government airstrikes killed eight residents and injured at least eight others – including a child - in a flagrantly unlawful attack on the village of Zergele, in the Kandil Mountains in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

    The airstrikes on 1 August were part of a military campaign launched by Turkey against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) but according to information gathered by Amnesty International these residents were not affiliated with the PKK. The organization is calling on the Turkish government to launch an independent, impartial and effective investigation into the airstrikes and to publicly release the findings of their investigation.

    “The recent attacks in Kandil maimed, killed, and displaced residents, destroying homes and terrifying locals in an area where no military targets appeared to be present,” said Lama Fakih, Senior Crisis Advisor at Amnesty International who visited the area.

    August 07, 2015

    A UN Security Council resolution passed today, paving the way for establishing an independent team of experts to identify the perpetrators of chlorine and other chemical weapon attacks, offers hope for accountability for war crimes in Syria, said Amnesty International.

    “Chlorine and other chemical weapon attacks have brought death, anguish and terror to the civilian population in Syria. This resolution offers a much needed ray of hope in the darkness that presides over this conflict. If properly implemented, it could offer an opportunity to break the cycle of impunity for the countless war crimes being committed on a daily basis there,” said Said Boumedouha, Acting Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.

    Hundreds of civilians have been killed in chemical weapons attacks since the crisis in Syria began more than four years ago. The use of chemical weapons is prohibited by international humanitarian law.  

    August 07, 2015

    Around 230 people are reported to have been abducted in central Syria by the armed group that calls itself Islamic State (IS) after heavy fighting in the town of Al-Qaryatain last night.

    “The abhorrent abduction in Syria of more than 200 people by Islamic State highlights the dreadful plight of civilians caught up in the conflict in the country,” said Neil Sammonds, Amnesty International’s Syria researcher.  

    “Every effort must be made to identify the perpetrators of these crimes and bring them to justice. The group must respect the rules of war and immediately release these civilians unharmed.”

    A separate group of around 250 Syrian Christians were taken by IS in the Khabour river area in February. Nineteen have since been released whilst the fate of the rest remains unknown.

     

    For further information contact John Tackaberry, Media Relations
    (613)744-7667 #236   jtackaberry@amnesty.ca

    August 04, 2015

    Amnesty International's new report documents:
    •        targeting of civilians, schools, hospitals and local relief organizations
    •        indiscriminate aerial bombardments and ground offensives
    •        use of cluster munitions and prohibited weapons

    > Download and Read the full report (pdf, 2.7 mb)

    Government forces in Sudan have committed war crimes against the civilian population of South Kordofan, Amnesty International has definitively confirmed for the first time in a new report published today. 

    July 07, 2015

    Posted at 0001hrs BST   8 July 2015

    An investigative online tool mapping Israeli attacks in Gaza during the conflict of July and August 2014 has been unveiled by Amnesty International and Forensic Architecture today. Its purpose is to help push for accountability for war crimes and other violations of international humanitarian law.

    The Gaza Platform enables the user to explore and analyze data about Israel’s 2014 military operation in Gaza. The preliminary data currently plotted on the Platform, which will be updated over the coming months, already highlights a number of patterns in the attacks by Israeli forces that indicate that grave and systemic violations were committed.  

    “The Gaza Platform is the most comprehensive record of attacks during the 2014 conflict to date. It allows us to piece together more than 2,500 individual attacks, illustrating the vast scale of destruction caused by Israel’s military operations in Gaza during the 50-day war last summer,” said Philip Luther, Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.

    June 25, 2015

    Security Council members should use a meeting with NGOs at the United Nations on 26 June to agree upon steps they will take to enforce Security Council resolution 2139, which calls for an end to indiscriminate and direct attacks against civilians in Syria, said Amnesty International.  

    The organization is urging the Security Council to impose an arms embargo on the Syrian government and targeted sanctions against individuals on all sides responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Such measures could help end barrel bomb and hell-canon attacks against civilians as well as any use of chlorine and other toxic chemicals as weapons.

    “A year and a half ago the Security Council made a commitment to take further steps if resolution 2139 was violated by parties to the conflict. The fact that indiscriminate attacks and other violations have continued unabated across Syria since then shows that it has been consistently and flagrantly flouted,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International. 

    June 24, 2015

    By Netsanet Belay, Africa Director, Research and Advocacy at Amnesty International. Follow Netsanet on Twitter @NetsanetDBelay

    As the International Criminal Court (ICC) opens its Assembly of States Parties – the periodic gathering of all the countries who have ratified the Court’s statute – in The Hague today, it does so with a bloody nose.

    The Court was yet again met with contempt this month by South Africa’s failure to cooperate with its arrest warrants for one of its longest running fugitives, President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan.

    On 15 June, South Africa’s government failed to obey an order from its own high court to prevent al-Bashir from leaving the country. The order had been made while the court decided whether to compel the government to fulfil its international and constitutional obligations to uphold two ICC warrants for the arrest of Sudanese President al-Bashir. The Sudanese leader, who was visiting Johannesburg for an African Union Summit, faces seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, as well as three counts of genocide in Darfur.

    June 22, 2015

    Victims of war crimes and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed by both sides in the 2014 armed conflict in Gaza could be a step closer to justice, Amnesty International said upon today’s publication of the findings of the United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry into the war.

    “This report marks an important step towards accountability for all the victims and their families. It’s a welcome independent validation of Amnesty International’s own extensive research into last year’s Gaza/Israel conflict, which found that both sides carried out a litany of appalling violations of international human rights and humanitarian law,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Program Director at Amnesty International.

    “The evidence is overwhelming and now the members and observer states of the UN Human Rights Council must give the Commission’s findings and recommendations serious consideration,  refrain from politicizing the Commission or its report, and ensure that the Council takes all appropriate measures necessary to ensure accountability. 

    June 09, 2015

    Posted at 0001hrs BST 10 June 2015

    The full extent of the horror that has unfolded across Iraq over the past year is revealed in an interactive story map published by Amnesty International today, detailing the plight of Iraqi civilians caught in a deadly spiral of horrific crimes by the armed group calling itself the Islamic State (IS) and brutal revenge attacks by the now dominant government-backed Shi’a militias and government forces.

    Within the story map, the organization is publishing two briefings, which contain its findings on two massacres carried out in January 2015 apparently to avenge IS crimes: the massacre at least 56 – possibly more than 70 - Sunni Arab men in Barwana, a village in Diyala province, by Shi’a militiamen and government forces, and the killing of 21 Sunni Arab villagers in the Sinjar region by members of a Yezidi militia.

    June 04, 2015

    By Christoph Koettl, Founder and editor of Amnesty's Citizen Evidence Lab. Follow Christoph on Twittwr @ckoettl

    With citizen journalism and the availability of new technologies growing exponentially, human rights investigators are able to locate and review evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity at a speed never before imagined. Amnesty International’s Christoph Koettl explains how it’s done.

    In March 2014 a grainy cell phone video came across my desk that seemed to show a Nigerian soldier murdering an unarmed man in broad daylight. It took me a day and a half to pinpoint the location of this apparent war crime to a specific street corner in Maiduguri, the state capital of Borno and a city of more than 500,000 people.

    Confirming the location of an incident is a crucial step in the authentication process, so finding this fact was highly relevant to reference the footage in a report we published on 31 March 2014, exposing war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Nigerian military and Boko Haram.

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