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War Crimes

    July 08, 2014
      Both sides to the conflict committing war crimes and crimes against humanity More than 1 million internally displaced and 400,000 forced to flee the country 3.9 million people face an alarming risk of food insecurity as fears of famine loom Arms flow into South Sudan as conflict continues

    Since the conflict began in December 2013, more than 1 million people have been displaced, with 400,000 fleeing to neighbouring countries. Around the country 3.9 million people face an alarming risk of food insecurity, as fears of an impending famine loom.  More than 100,000 people are in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps at UN bases – some have been trapped in these compounds for months, afraid they will be attacked if they leave.

    One local human rights defender told Amnesty International: “What is there to celebrate when I don’t feel free?”

    July 01, 2014

    Amnesty International has spoken to recently released detainees from the Yezidi community who were captured by the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in Iraq, as well as to family members of those still held by the group.

    At least 24 Iraqi border guards and soldiers were captured by ISIS last month in north western Iraq. Some were later released; the rest are being held by ISIS across the border in north eastern Syria. The captives are among scores of minorities who have been targeted in a spree of sectarian detentions and abductions carried out by ISIS in recent weeks. In a video issued by the group on 29 June entitled “The End of Sykes-Picot” the men are referred to as “devil worshippers.”

    “A clear pattern is emerging whereby ISIS is deliberately targeting Iraq’s minorities as well as others suspected of opposing the group, singling them out for detention and abduction,” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser currently in northern Iraq.  

    June 27, 2014

    Amnesty International has gathered evidence pointing to a pattern of extrajudicial executions of detainees by government forces and Shi’a militias in the Iraqi cities of Tal ‘Afar, Mosul and Ba’quba. 

    Surviving detainees and relatives of those killed gave graphic accounts that suggest Iraqi forces had carried out a series of vengeful attacks against Sunni detainees before withdrawing from Tal ‘Afar and Mosulf in northern Iraq. Both are now controlled by the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). In Ba’quba, central Iraq, government forces and Shi’a militias have been fending off attempts by ISIS to capture the city. 

    “Reports of multiple incidents where Sunni detainees have been killed in cold blood while in the custody of Iraqi forces are deeply alarming. The killings suggest a worrying pattern of reprisal attacks against Sunnis in retaliation for ISIS gains,” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser, who is currently in northern Iraq. 

    June 24, 2014

    Attacks on civilian areas, including indiscriminate aerial bombardments by Sudan’s government forces, have resulted in increased destruction in Southern Kordofan and may constitute a war crime, Amnesty International said in a new briefing published today.

    The armed conflict – which began three years ago – has intensified following the launch of a new military operation by Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) on 14 April. Satellite images secured by Amnesty International during that period offer further evidence of indiscriminate aerial bombardments and correspond to reports that homes, markets, hospitals and schools have been bombed.

    June 16, 2014

    Posted at 0001hrs BST 17 June 2014

    The European Union (EU) must do everything it can to ensure Serbia addresses the culture of impunity for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide, committed by Serbian police, military and paramilitary forces during the wars of the 1990s, said Amnesty International in a new report published today.

    Serbia: Ending Impunity for Crimes under International Law details how and why thousands of victims – across Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Kosovo - have been denied access to justice. Few have received any reparation or compensation for the violations they endured.   

    “The next few years are crucial in tackling the climate of impunity in Serbia. Time is passing, witnesses are dying and memories are fading. Perpetrators of war crimes must urgently be tried to ensure victims receive justice before it is too late”, said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe and Central Asia.

    May 08, 2014

    Following today’s publication of new Amnesty International research on horrific atrocities amid the conflict in South Sudan, the United Nations has released its own comprehensive report echoing calls for accountability for all those responsible for crimes against humanity, war crimes and other serious violations.

    The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) report came out just hours after Amnesty International released Nowhere Safe: Civilians Under Attack in South Sudan following a recent mission to the country.

    “These reports document how individuals up and down the chain of command on both sides of the conflict have been responsible for perpetrating, ordering or acquiescing to a litany of grave abuses,” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Eastern Africa.

    Both reports document extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, rape and other acts of sexual violence, arbitrary arrests and detention, targeted attacks against civilians not taking part in hostilities, and attacks on hospitals, churches and humanitarian workers – including those from the UN.

    May 07, 2014

    Posted at 0001hrs BST 8 May 2014

    A new investigation into the conflict in South Sudan has revealed horrific atrocities committed by both parties to the conflict, with targeted attacks on civilians due to their ethnicity and perceived political affiliations, constituting war crimes and crimes against humanity, Amnesty International said in a report released today.

    April 30, 2014

    The UN Security Council must take concrete action, including threatening targeted sanctions, against parties in Syria that are brazenly flouting the terms of a unanimous UN resolution calling for immediate humanitarian access and an end to human rights abuses, said Amnesty International.

    The Council is due to discuss Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s second report on the implementation of the UN resolution today.

    “The humanitarian situation in Syria is beyond catastrophic. More than two months after a UN resolution to alleviate the suffering of civilians and end war crimes was adopted, the situation there has only worsened,” said José Luis Díaz, head of Amnesty International's UN office in New York.

    “If the Security Council is to salvage what credibility it has left on Syria it has to ensure its unanimous decision is respected, including by making good on its intention to take further steps to get the different parties to comply. Additional measures, including sanctions, must be taken against those responsible for violating the terms of the resolution.”

    March 30, 2014

    Released 00.01 GMT on 31 March 2014

    An increase in attacks by Boko Haram and uncontrolled reprisals by Nigeria’s security forces has seen the death toll in North East Nigeria rise to at least 1,500 people, more than half of whom are civilians, in the first three months of 2014, Amnesty International said in a briefing published today.

    At a Glance:

    March 09, 2014

    Posted at 0001 GMT 10 March 2014

    A new report by Amnesty International reveals that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been carried out on Palestinian and Syrian civilians in Yarmouk, on the outskirts of Damascus, which is under brutal siege by Syrian government forces.

    The report, Squeezing the life out of Yarmouk: War crimes against besieged civilians, published ahead of the third anniversary of the crisis in Syria, highlights the deaths of nearly 200 individuals since the siege was tightened in July 2013 and access to crucial food and medical supplies was cut off. According to Amnesty International’s research, 128 of those who have died starved to death in the catastrophic humanitarian crisis that has emerged.

    “Life in Yarmouk has grown increasingly unbearable for desperate civilians who find themselves starving and trapped in a downward cycle of suffering with no means of escape,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.

    “Civilians of Yarmouk are being treated like pawns in a deadly game in which they have no control.”

    March 07, 2014

    The International Criminal Court has convicted Germain Katanga, a rebel leader from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for his part in a vicious attack on a village in eastern Congo where civilians were massacred.

    “The verdict will provide victims with a measure of some justice and we hope that this will spur the DRC to tackle other cases that have so far escaped justice,” said Stephanie Barbour, Head of Office, Amnesty International’s Centre for International Justice.

    Katanga was convicted of murder as a crime against humanity, murder as a war crime, deliberately directing an attack on a civilian population, destruction of property as a war crime and pillage as a war crime.

    However, he was also acquitted of five counts of rape and sexual slavery as a crime against humanity and a war crime and the use of children under the age of 15 taking direct part in hostilities as a war crime.

     

    February 14, 2014

     An 11 year old Muslim girl has been found hiding alone in a village west of Bangui surrounded by bodies and without any food or water following a massacre four days ago.

    The traumatised girl had been in hiding since the brutal killing of her parents and neighbours. Nearby, dogs were feeding on some of the corpses. The bodies of more than 20 villagers who had been left lying on the streets.

    Amnesty International’s team found the girl in the village of Bouguere, west of Bangui, in the Central African Republic. She has been taken to a secure location.

    “The girl was crouching in a corner in an abandoned, ransacked house. She was terrified and could barely speak. She had been hiding there since the massacre, four days before,” said Donatella Rovera, Senior Crisis Response Adviser at Amnesty International.

    “She had not drunk or eaten anything and was too weak to even stand up. She was the only Muslim survivor in the village. The others had either fled or been killed.

    February 14, 2014

    Emmanuel Jal is touring Calgary with his We Want Peace Educational Tour: Calgary in partnership with Amnesty International from Feb 19th to Feb 25th, 2014 (see schedule below).  His personal message of peace resonates particularly with young people to overcome adversity and become active global citizens.

    Born in the war-torn region of Southern Sudan, Emmanuel Jal grew up as a child soldier.  Through unbelievable struggles, Emmanuel managed to survive and emerge as a recording artist, achieving worldwide acclaim for his unique style of hip hop with its message of peace and reconciliation born out of his personal experiences.   ”Amnesty International is extremely pleased to partner with Emmanuel Jal to raise awareness of human rights and to encourage youth to take action, to protect and promote human rights in their school, their community, and around the world,"  said Shauna Maclean, youth program coordinator at Amnesty International. The organization already has a vibrant national youth program with tens of thousands of young activists in schools and communities across the country.

    February 11, 2014

    The USA must charge or extradite a former Guatemalan soldier involved in a massacre in his home country, Amnesty International said.

    Jorge Vinicio Sosa Orantes was sentenced to 10 years in prison for omitting to mention his membership of an army unit which killed more than 200 people in the town of Dos Erres in 1982, while applying for citizenship in the USA.

    “In addition to immigration violations, Sosa Orantes has a case to answer for war crimes. The US authorities must extradite him to Guatemala or prosecute him in the USA for crimes against international law,” said Sebastian Elgueta, Guatemala researcher at Amnesty International.

    “Governments across the world have a responsibility to ensure those suspected of having committed human rights abuses face justice, wherever they are.”

    Sebastian Elgueta, Amnesty International’s researcher on Guatemala, is available for interviews in English and Spanish.

    For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Amnesty International’s press office: +44 207 413 5566, press@amnesty.org

    January 24, 2014

    New evidence of the slaughter of women, children and the elderly gathered by Amnesty International underscores the extreme dangers faced by the Muslim minority in the Central African Republic. The organization is calling for a more robust peacekeeping effort to protect civilians outside of the capital.

    More than 50 Muslims were killed in two attacks investigated by Amnesty International in villages north-west of the capital, Bangui. The victims include at least six children, five women, and three old men. Two girls, aged seven and 18 months, were the youngest victims; the oldest was 70.

    “International peacekeeping forces are failing the Muslim community,” said Joanne Mariner, Amnesty International’s senior crisis advisor in Bangui. “Scores of people were left unprotected from vicious anti-balaka reprisals at a time when such attacks were entirely predictable.”

    Both attacks were carried out by Christian anti-balaka militias, which now wield effective power in many of the towns and villages northwest of the capital.

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