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War Crimes

    October 06, 2014

    Originally Released  00:01 BST 6 October 2014

    New legislation which would overturn an amnesty law that has been shielding perpetrators of human rights violations committed during Pinochet’s brutal regime is a monumental step forward against impunity, said Amnesty International today.

    “For many years this law acted as a shield, hiding those responsible for serious human rights abuses from justice. Victims have been forced to live knowing those that tortured and killed were enjoying impunity for their crimes,” said Guadalupe Marengo, Deputy Director Americas Programme, Amnesty International.

    “The overturning of the law would be an historic moment for Chile and would bring the country one step closer to addressing the crimes of the Pinochet regime, as well as sending a clear message that Chile does not protect those responsible for human rights violations.”

    The Amnesty Decree Law, passed in 1978, exempts all individuals who committed human rights violations between 11 September 1973 and 10 March 1978 from criminal responsibility.

    September 23, 2014

    Any further intervention in the Middle East must include plans to address the suffering of Syrian civilians, a global coalition of 39 leading human rights and humanitarian organizations said today.

    Ahead of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York, the #WithSyria coalition, comprised of Save the Children, Amnesty International and others, is urging world leaders, whoever they support in the conflict, to make clear that they are on the side of civilians. This means by using their power to ensure that international law is respected and attacks on civilians including schools, hospitals, and shelters are stopped. According to the UN, direct, indiscriminate, and disproportionate attacks by groups on all sides are responsible for the majority of civilian deaths, as well as making it impossible in some areas for humanitarian agencies to reach those in desperate need.

    September 08, 2014

    (Kyiv) In a meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk today, Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty urged the Ukrainian government to stop abuses and war crimes by volunteer battalions operating alongside regular Ukrainian armed forces.

    “The Ukrainian authorities must not replicate the lawlessness and abuses that have prevailed in areas previously held by separatists,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International Secretary General from Kyiv.

    “The failure to stop abuses and possible war crimes by volunteer battalions risks significantly aggravating tensions in the east of the country and undermining the proclaimed intentions of the new Ukrainian authorities to strengthen and uphold the rule of law more broadly.”
     
    The call came as Amnesty International published fresh research collected on the ground in the northern Luhansk region, Abuses and war crimes by the Aidar Volunteer Battalion in the north Luhansk region, documenting a growing range of abuses by the Aidar Volunteer battalion.  

    September 06, 2014

    Released   00.01 BST (GMT+1) 7 SEPTEMBER 

    Ukrainian militia and separatist forces are responsible for war crimes, Amnesty International said today. The organisation accused Russia of fuelling separatist crimes as it revealed satellite images indicating a build-up of Russian armour and artillery in eastern Ukraine.

    With cease-fire talks still uncertain and the situation on the ground perilous, Amnesty International calls on all parties, including Russia, to stop violations of the laws of war.

    September 03, 2014

    The beheading of US journalist Steven Sotloff by Islamic State militants is the latest in a series of war crimes being committed by the armed group across Syria and Iraq, Amnesty International said today.

    A video published online yesterday by the armed group calling itself the Islamic State (IS) showed Steven Sotloff, who was abducted in northern Syria in August 2013, being killed in the same manner as fellow US freelance reporter James Foley last month.

    “The execution of Steven Sotloff is a war crime, and it follows a pattern of other shocking atrocities carried out by the Islamic State in recent months,” said Philip Luther, Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

    “The world has rightly condemned the brutal deaths of Steven Sotloff and James Foley. These unjustifiable killings are, though, merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to abuses by the IS in Syria and Iraq.”

    The killing of Sotloff, which US authorities today said they had “authenticated”, follows summary killings by the IS of hundreds, if not thousands, of others in the region this year.

    August 20, 2014

    “The Israeli authorities appear to have been playing bureaucratic games with us over access to Gaza, conditioning it on entirely unreasonable criteria even as the death toll mounts” said Anne FitzGerald, Amnesty International’s Director of Research and Crisis Response.

    Israel should immediately allow access to Gaza for Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other international human rights organizations so they can investigate allegations of serious violations of international humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today,

    “The victims' and the public's right to know about what happened during the hostilities requires the Israeli authorities to ensure full transparency about their actions and to refrain from hindering independent and impartial research into all alleged violations.”

    August 20, 2014

    The apparent execution-style killing by the Islamic State (IS) armed group of a US reporter who went missing in Syria in 2012 constitutes a war crime and highlights the urgent need for all states with influence in the region to ensure other missing journalists are safely released, Amnesty International said today.

    A video published online by the Islamic State (formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham, ISIS) purports to show freelance reporter James Foley being beheaded, apparently in retaliation for US airstrikes against the IS in northern Iraq.

    “This shocking video, if genuine, is devastating for the loved ones of James Foley and chilling for the family, friends and colleagues of those journalists who are still missing in Syria and northern Iraq, feared captured by IS militants,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.

    “It is a war crime and both those who carried out the killing and those who ordered it must face justice.

    August 11, 2014

    The families of thousands of Afghan civilians killed by US/NATO forces in Afghanistan have been left without justice, Amnesty International said in a new report released today. Focusing primarily on air strikes and night raids carried out by US forces, including Special Operations Forces, Left in the Dark finds that even apparent war crimes have gone uninvestigated and unpunished.

    “Thousands of Afghans have been killed or injured by US forces since the invasion, but the victims and their families have little chance of redress. The US military justice system almost always fails to hold its soldiers accountable for unlawful killings and other abuses,” said Richard Bennett, Amnesty International’s Asia Pacific Director.

    “None of the cases that we looked into – involving more than 140 civilian deaths – were prosecuted by the US military. Evidence of possible war crimes and unlawful killings has seemingly been ignored.”

    August 07, 2014
    There has been mounting evidence that the Israel Defense Forces launched apparently deliberate attacks against hospitals and health professionals in Gaza.© EPA/OLIVER WEIKEN

    An immediate investigation is needed into mounting evidence that the Israel Defense Forces launched apparently deliberate attacks against hospitals and health professionals in Gaza, which have left six medics dead, said Amnesty International as it released disturbing testimonies from doctors, nurses, and ambulance personnel working in the area.

    “The harrowing descriptions by ambulance drivers and other medics of the utterly impossible situation in which they have to work, with bombs and bullets killing or injuring their colleagues as they try to save lives, paint a grim reality of life in Gaza,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.  

    August 06, 2014

    Amnesty International is calling for all sides to immediately stop the indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas in Tripoli and Benghazi where clashes in recent weeks have evolved into two separate armed conflicts. Such indiscriminate attacks that result in death or injury to civilians amount to war crimes. 

    Intense fighting between rival armed groups and militias in both cities has killed 214 people and injured 981, according to the Ministry of Health, as well as causing damage to civilian property. Medical workers reported that the dead and injured included civilians, in particular women and children. 

    “The warring parties in Tripoli and Benghazi have displayed a wanton disregard for the safety of ordinary civilians who have found themselves mercilessly pinned down by indiscriminate shelling with imprecise weapons that should never be used in populated areas,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.  

    “All sides in both these conflicts have an absolute obligation under international law not to target attacks against civilians.” 

    August 01, 2014
    Amnesty International has collected compelling evidence of war crimes and other crimes under international law committed by Israel, Hamas and Palestinian armed groups.© EPA/ANP/TOUSSAINT KLUITERS/lln mda

    The UN Security Council, the Palestinian Authority and Israel must do everything within their power to enable the International Criminal Court (ICC) to bring to justice those responsible for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in the current and past Israeli-Palestinian conflicts, said Amnesty International. 

    Since 8 July, more than 1,400 Palestinians have been killed in the ongoing hostilities. According to the UN, the majority of those killed have been Palestinian civilians, including at least 252 children. Three civilians in Israel have been killed by indiscriminate rockets or mortars fired from Gaza, and 61 Israeli soldiers have also been killed. There is mounting evidence that war crimes have been committed by all parties.

    July 31, 2014

    The US government must immediately end its ongoing deliveries of large quantities of arms to Israel, which are providing the tools to commit further serious violations of international law in Gaza, said Amnesty International, as it called for a total arms embargo on all parties to the conflict.

    The call comes amid reports that the Pentagon has approved the immediate transfer of grenades and mortar rounds to the Israeli armed forces from a US arms stockpile pre-positioned in Israel, and follows a shipment of 4.3 tons of US-manufactured rocket motors, which arrived in the Israeli port of Haifa on 15 July.

    These deliveries add to more than US$62 million worth of munitions, including guided missile parts and rocket launchers, artillery parts and small arms, already exported from the USA to Israel between January and May this year.

    July 30, 2014

    An attack overnight on the Jabaliya elementary school in Gaza, where more than 3,000 displaced civilians had sought refuge, is a possible war crime and should be independently investigated, said Amnesty International today. The attack killed at least 20 people and injured dozens more at the school, which is located inside the very densely populated Jabaliya Refugee Camp.

    An initial assessment by UNRWA – the UN relief agency for displaced Palestinians and refugees - who analyzed fragments and damage at the site, indicates the school was hit by Israeli artillery despite the fact that UNRWA shared its coordinates with the Israeli army 17 times. The strike is the sixth attack on a UN-run school in Gaza since Operation “Protective Edge” began on 8 July.

    July 21, 2014

    The continuing bombardment of civilian homes in several areas of the Gaza Strip, as well as the Israeli shelling of a hospital, add to the list of possible war crimes that demand an urgent independent international investigation, said Amnesty International.

    The third floor of the Al-Aqsa hospital in Deir al-Balah was struck by Israeli shelling, killing four people and wounding dozens, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health spokesperson.

    “Today’s attack on the Al-Aqsa hospital is the latest in a series of attacks on and near medical facilities in Gaza, which have been struggling to cope with thousands of injured people since the Israeli offensive began on 8 July,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.

    “There can be no justification for targeting medical facilities at any time. Attacks on medical facilities underline the need for a prompt, impartial international investigation mandated by the UN.”

    Last week, the al-Wafa rehabilitative hospital in Shuja’iyyeh was severely damaged after being attacked twice by Israeli forces.

    July 13, 2014

    Released 00:01 GMT Monday 14 July 2014
     

       
    Report: Northern Iraq - Civilians in the line of fire
     

    A new briefing by Amnesty International sheds light on a growing pattern of sectarian killings and abductions by the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) since the group seized Mosul, Iraq’s second-biggest city, and other parts of north-western Iraq last month.

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