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War Crimes

    May 22, 2018
    New evidence gathered inside Rakhine State points to gruesome massacre of Hindus Men, women and children rounded up and killed, execution-style Access for UN, independent investigators urgently needed

    A Rohingya armed group brandishing guns and swords is responsible for at least one, and potentially a second, massacre of up to 99 Hindu women, men, and children as well as additional unlawful killings and abductions of Hindu villagers in August 2017, Amnesty International revealed today after carrying out a detailed investigation inside Myanmar’s Rakhine State.

    Based on dozens of interviews conducted there and across the border in Bangladesh, as well as photographic evidence analyzed by forensic pathologists, the organization revealed how Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) fighters sowed fear among Hindus and other ethnic communities with these brutal attacks.

    April 10, 2018

    The last few days have seen the deaths of dozens of Syrian civilians in what appears to be yet another sickening chemical attack – almost two years to the day since a shockingly similar attack took place, which claimed the lives of an entire family.

    Once again, the world watched on horrified as footage emerged over the weekend of children and adults struggling to breath, and others who had already lost their fight to survive.

    "I lost consciousness. I couldn't breathe any more; it was like my lungs were shutting down." https://t.co/DQtvWnB1uE

    — Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) April 9, 2018

    January 25, 2018

    Responding to reports that yesterday Mahmoud al-Werfalli, former Field Commander of the Special Forces Brigade (Al-Saiqa) affiliated to the Libyan National Army (LNA) and a war crimes suspect wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), extrajudicially executed 10 people in Benghazi, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director, Heba Morayef, said:

    “The video currently circulating on social media appears to be a demonstration of the horrifying consequences of the rampant impunity that exists in Libya. As long as indicted war crimes suspects feel they can carry on committing grave violations without facing justice, the prospects for establishing rule of law in Libya will remain grim.”

    “The onus is now on the General Commander of the Libyan National Army, Khalifa Hafter and the Libyan authorities to ensure that Mahmoud al-Werfalli is handed to the ICC, making it clear that those who commit war crimes and other serious violations will be brought to justice.”

    Background

    November 29, 2017
    Following the final verdict by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe Director said:   “Today – a week after landmark sentencing of Ratko Mladic - judges at the ICTY have brought down their gavel for the last time ending an historic endeavour in international justice. It is now vital that the national courts take the baton from the ICTY and step up their efforts to bring remaining perpetrators to justice.   “The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has helped bring a measure of justice to thousands of victims of the armed conflicts in former Yugoslavia and demonstrated what is possible when the international community comes together.   “The court has been a beacon sending out a powerful message around the world that impunity cannot and will not be tolerated.”   For more information please contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332 bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca
    July 24, 2017
      Responding to the deaths of 24 people and the wounding of 42 when a car packed with explosives rammed into a bus in western Kabul this morning, in an attack claimed by the Taliban, Amnesty International’s Afghanistan Researcher, Horia Mosadiq, said:   “This horrific attack deliberately targeted civilians and constitutes a war crime under international law. It was just yesterday that the people of Kabul were marking the one year anniversary of one of the deadliest attacks in the city’s history. Today, they are forced to mourn further deaths.   “Nearly 16 years after the conflict in Afghanistan began, civilians are increasingly paying the greatest price. A record number of civilians have been killed in the first half of this year, with women and children being the worst affected. And neither the Afghan government nor the international community is paying enough attention to their plight.  
    June 14, 2017

    Released  05:30GMT/12:00 noon MMT on 14 June 2017

    Civilians from minority ethnic groups suffer appalling violations and abuses, including war crimes, at the hands of Myanmar’s military and ethnic armed groups in the country’s Kachin and northern Shan states, Amnesty International said today in a new report based on three recent trips to the conflict area.

    ‘All the Civilians Suffer’: Conflict, Displacement and Abuse in Northern Myanmar details how soldiers from the Tatmadaw, as Myanmar’s Armed Forces are known, mete out torture and extrajudicial executions, shell civilian villages indiscriminately and place punitive restrictions on movement and humanitarian access.

    Meanwhile, some ethnic armed groups at times abduct civilians seen to support an opposing party, forcibly recruit men, women and children into their fighting forces and impose “taxes” on impoverished villagers trapped in the conflict.

    April 04, 2017

    By Syria campainger Leen Hashem

    Today, ministers and representatives of over 70 countries and humanitarian organisations are attending the “Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region” conference in Brussels. The conference focuses on gathering additional funds and assistance for Syrians inside Syria and in neighboring countries and discussing the reconstruction of Syria “once a genuinely inclusive political transition is firmly underway”.

    It is reassuring to see the international community come together to support Syrians who fled the violence in Syria and sought refuge in neighboring host countries. However, Syrian refugees continue to face serious challenges including restrictive access to health services, employment and protection. The international community should ensure the rights of Syrian refugees through meaningful responsibility-sharing by guaranteeing funding for refugee protection; and by significantly increasing the number of resettlement places and other admission pathways.

    April 03, 2017

    Senior Crisis Adviser Donatella Rovera blogs from Mosul, Iraq. Follow Donatella on Twitter @ DRovera.

    When they heard that there would be airstrikes on their neighborhood in eastern Mosul, Wa’ad Ahmad al-Tai and his family did exactly as they were told.

    “We followed the instructions of the government, which told us, ‘Stay in your homes and avoid displacement,’” he said. “We heard these instructions on the radio. … Also leaflets were dropped by planes. This is why we stayed in our homes.”

    Shortly afterward, the bombs came raining down. As the terrified al-Tai family huddled together, the house next door collapsed on them. Six people were killed there on the morning of Nov. 7, 2016, including Wa’ad’s 3-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son.

    As I traveled through eastern Mosul earlier this month, I heard versions of this story again and again from families who had lost relatives in airstrikes carried out by the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State. Filled with rage and grief, Mosul residents described how they were expressly told to stay in their homes and were then bombed inside them.

    January 17, 2017

     

     

    The Sudanese government must end politically-motivated and sometimes deadly attacks on Darfuri students at universities across the country, said Amnesty International today as it released a report covering a wave of attacks spanning three years.

    “Dozens of students have been killed, injured and expelled from universities since 2014 for organizing around and speaking out against human rights violations in Darfur,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “This continues an appalling pattern that continues to see Darfuri students being subject to arrest, detention, as well as torture and other ill-treatment, since the conflict in Darfur broke out in 2003, often compromising their continued access to higher education.”

    “These deliberate and shameful attacks on students are totally unacceptable and must be brought to a speedy end.”

    December 22, 2016

    In response to the United Nations General Assembly resolution establishing an independent international mechanism to ensure accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Syria since March 2011, Anna Neistat, Amnesty International’s Senior Director of Research said:

    “With this resolution, the General Assembly helps overcome the Security Council's deadlock on accountability and is the first step toward justice for thousands of victims.

    “The situation in Syria continued to be one of the most heart-breaking tragedies of our time. It is also a clear example of the failure of the broken international system that was established – with the Security Council at its centre -- to prevent the atrocities that shock the conscience of humanity.

     

    “By passing this resolution, the international community is standing up against the Security Council’s utter inability to act in the face of gruesome atrocities being committed before the eyes of the entire world. This is a crisis that, over five years, has cost hundreds of thousands of lives and caused unimaginable suffering to the people of Syria."

     

    December 13, 2016

    Shocking reports from the UN that scores of civilians have been extrajudicially executed by advancing Syrian government forces in eastern Aleppo point to apparent war crimes, said Amnesty International. The organization is making an urgent plea for all parties to the conflict to protect the civilian population.

    The UN human rights office said it had reliable evidence that up to 82 civilians were shot on the spot by government and allied forces who entered their homes, or at gunpoint in the streets, over the past few hours. 

    “The reports that civilians - including children - are being massacred in cold blood in their homes by Syrian government forces are deeply shocking but not unexpected, given their conduct to date. Such extrajudicial executions would amount to war crimes,” said Lynn Maalouf, Deputy Director for Research at the Beirut Regional office.  

    July 27, 2016

    President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s decision to make Gen. Wiranto Indonesia’s most powerful security official a mere day after Indonesia ordered the execution of 14 death row prisoners shows contempt for human rights, Amnesty International said today.

    “This is adding insult to injury. A day after ordering a fresh round of executions, Jokowi has now decided to hand control of the country’s security apparatus to someone was indicted for crimes against humanity by a UN sponsored tribunal,” said Josef Benedict, Deputy Director for South East Asia and the Pacific.

    On 27 July 2016, Gen. Wiranto was appointed to the position of Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law, and Security Affairs.

    Gen. Wiranto was also publicly named as a suspect in the inquiry initiated in 1999 by Indonesia’s National Commission on Human Rights (Komisi Nasional Hak Asasi Manusia, Komnas HAM), but was never charged in Indonesia.

     

    July 21, 2016

    Airstrikes by the Libyan National Army are endangering the lives of scores of detainees who are being held captive in Benghazi, said Amnesty International.

    The organization raised the alarm as new video evidence emerged showing three men who were among an estimated 130 people abducted by the armed group Ansar al-Sharia from a military prison in Benghazi in October 2014. In the video, the first time they’ve been seen since they went missing, the men call for an end to the airstrikes which they say have injured several people and are putting lives at risk.

    “Scores of people who were abducted and are being held captive in Benghazi are trapped under fire with no way out. Carrying out airstrikes in a manner that ignores their presence violates international humanitarian law. Those carrying out attacks must take all feasible precautions to avoid or at least minimise harm to people who are not directly participating in the fighting,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, interim Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International. 

    May 24, 2016

    This speech was delivered at the World Humanitarian Summit on 24 May 2016 by Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty. 

    Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen:

    When thinking of how best to use my time here today, one option I seriously considered was to observe a three minute silence to mourn the demise of international norms and humanitarian law.

    These are arguably the darkest times since the formation of the United Nations. Conflict is driving displacement and wreaking devastating consequences on civilians who are literally caught in the crossfire.

    I come to this Summit straight after seeing and hearing first-hand the horrific tales of displaced people in Iraq and south-east Turkey – two windows into a shameful worldwide story.

    The stark truth is that from Syria to Nigeria, Afghanistan to South Sudan, Burundi to Ukraine, conflict zones have become a free-for-all. The norms put in place to protect us are treated with complete and utter disdain.

    April 18, 2016

    Posted at 0001hrs  GMT   19 April 2016

    The terrifying reality of the Syrian government’s relentless barrel bombing of the besieged city of Daraya, outside Damascus, is made brutally clear in a new video released by Amnesty International today amid the latest round of peace talks in Geneva.

    Warning: Video contains graphic content

    The organization hopes the harrowing eyewitness footage will spur the international community to re-double its demands on the Syrian government to grant immediate lifesaving humanitarian access to Daraya and all areas still under siege.

    Although no barrel bombs have been dropped on Daraya since the partial “cessation of hostilities” came into effect on 26 February, there have been attacks with other weaponry and thousands of civilians who remain in the city continue to suffer from severe food and medical shortages and no electricity.

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