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International Justice

    February 24, 2011

    Amnesty International has urged Serbia’s authorities to help bring to justice all those involved in the 1999 murder of hundreds of Kosovo Albanians and subsequent cover-up, following the conviction at The Hague of former police general Vlastimir Ðorðevic.

    Vlastimir Ðorðevic, 62, was convicted yesterday at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia of being responsible for the murder of at least 724 Kosovo Albanians, most of them unarmed civilians, and a cover-up operation involving the removal of nearly 900 bodies from Kosovo for burial in Serbia.

    “Amnesty International welcomes the conviction of Vlastimir Ðorðevic, but calls on the Serbian authorities to redouble their efforts to ensure that all police officers and others suspected of the murder of ethnic Albanians and involvement in the cover-up operation, are brought to justice,” said Nicola Duckworth, Director of the Europe and Central Asia Programme.

    “They, and in particular the Ministry of Interior Police, must provide every assistance to the War Crimes Prosecutor to bring those responsible to justice.”

    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.

    February 07, 2011

    Former US president George W. Bush will not travel to Geneva on February 12, according to reports in the Tribune de Genève. The cancellation comes ahead of expected protests and possible legal action against the former president.
    On Friday, Amnesty International sent Genevoise and Swiss federal prosecutors a detailed factual and legal analysis of President Bush’s criminal responsibility for acts of torture he is believed to have authorised. Amnesty International concluded that Switzerland had enough information to open a criminal investigation against the former president.  
    Such an investigation would be mandatory under Switzerland’s international obligations if President Bush entered the country.
    The organizers of the event President Bush was expected to attend told the Tribune de Genève that they decided to cancel the visit because of the “controversy” it has generated.  They denied that the potential criminal investigations against the former president were a factor in the decision.

    December 10, 2010

    Amnesty International has welcomed the arrest of a former Croatian military official accused of responsibility for war crimes committed during the 1991-95 war. Tomislav Merèep, who was named by Amnesty International in a report released yesterday as an individual whose case needed urgent attention, was arrested in Zagreb this morning at the request of the country’s state prosecutor.

    "The arrest of Tomislav Merèep is a welcome development. Investigations into those alleged to have been involved in war crimes has been slow in coming,” said Nicola Duckworth, Europe and Central Asia Program Director at Amnesty International.

    “People need to know the truth about events from the recent past that have marred the lives of many. Victims and their families need justice. The Croatian authorities must intensify efforts to investigate and, if appropriate, to prosecute all those responsible for committing crimes during the 1991-95 war.”

    The arrest comes one day after the release of an Amnesty International report that called on Croatia to speed up the investigation and prosecution of war crime suspects.

    December 02, 2010

    Recently disclosed documents indicate that the Canadian Forces have mishandled these children in a manner that contravenes Canada’s international obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict. In a letter sent to Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay, Amnesty International Canada and the B.C. Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) call on the Department of National Defence to take immediate action to bring its policies and practices regarding children apprehended in course of military operations in Afghanistan into compliance with international law.

    “International treaties that Canada has ratified make it clear that when alleged child soldiers come into the custody and care of Canadian Forces, Canada’s primary obligation must be to ensure that they are demobilized and that they receive the assistance they need to ensure their physical and psychological recovery and their social reintegration,” says Alex Neve, Secretary- General of Amnesty International Canada.

    October 05, 2010

    In this paper Amnesty International provides some additional information to that provided in the Secretary-General’s analytical report concerning 44 state reports, as well as information on legislation and practice in some states which have not submitted reports to the Secretary-General. In particular, the organization brings to the attention of states information compiled and analyzed in its September 2001 722-page global study of state practice concerning universal jurisdiction in approximately 125 states, its review of universal civil jurisdiction, a study of state practice concerning aut dedere aut judicare published in February 2009 and its recent steps to update the September 2001 global study in its No safe haven series on universal jurisdiction in each of the 192 UN member states. In addition, Amnesty International notes some of the extensive information available from intergovernmental organizations, international criminal courts and other international organizations that is not discussed in the Secretary-General’s analytical report.

    May 06, 2010

    All states that ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court commit themselves to co-operating fully with the Court and to investigating and prosecuting genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes before their national courts. This Updated checklist for effective implementation indicates both what states parties are required to do under the Rome statute and what Amnesty International recommends that they should do to ensure that the Court is an effective complement to national courts.


    Amnesty International’s Campaign for International Justice demands justice, truth and full reparations for victims of serious human rights violations.

    There are many reasons people get away with genocide, torture, disappearances and other grotesque human rights abuses.

    But two in particular stand out: a lack of political will to investigate and prosecute people suspected of committing crimes, and weak criminal justice systems.

    When the dust settles, it is the victors of any conflict who dole out justice and of course, rarely against themselves. Survivors often face discrimination – such as women raped in war. Sometimes the justice system simply no longer exists, or politicians try to “put the past behind” them with amnesties.  

    Because of this, unspeakable acts can be seen as an inevitable consequence of conflict, as opposed to bad – and preventable – human decisions. 

    The acquittal of three high-ranking members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) after a retrial on war crimes charges has prompted Amnesty International to reiterate its call for justice for all of the victims in the 1998-9 Kosovo war, and their relatives.

    Ex-prime minister and former KLA commander Ramush Haradinaj, Lahi Brahimaj, his uncle, and a fellow KLA commander, and deputy commander Idriz Balaj, were found not guilty of a joint criminal enterprise to mistreat Kosovo Serbs, Roma and Egyptians, and Albanians perceived to be collaborators with the Serbian authorities, or otherwise not supporters of the KLA.

    They were also acquitted on all counts relating to individual criminal responsibility for the murder, cruel treatment and torture, as war crimes, of members of minority communities, and Albanians perceived to be collaborators, at a KLA compound at Jablanica/Jablanicë.


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