Yemeni drone victims win case in Germany21 March 2019
In the case of Bin Ali Jaber vs Germany, the Higher Administrative Court in Münster found that claimants “are justified in fearing risks to life and limb from US drone strikes that use Ramstein Air base in violation of International Law”. The Court found that Germany’s role means it has a duty to protect the right to life of those being targeted and that Germany must now take action to ensure that the US use of the airbase at Ramstein is in accordance with international law.
For the court’s press release in German click here.
Appeal Hearing at German Court in Bin Ali Jaber case11 March 2019
On Thursday 14th March there will be appeal hearing at the Higher Administrative Court of Münster (Germany) in the case of Yemenite drone victim Faisal bin Ali Jaber. ECCHR and Reprieve, assisting claimant in this suit, expect that the hearing will consider the details of use of US airbase in Ramstein as well as official US policies on drone strikes. Legal questions will include the application of IHL as well as protection from arbitrary infringement of the right to life under human rights law. More info on the case can be found here.
For a summary of the 2015 ruling of the Court of first Instance, the Administrative Court of Cologne (Germany), click here.
Appeal hearing at German Court in case of Somali drone victim11 March 2019
On Wednesday March 13th, the German Higher Administrative Court in Münster will entertain the appeal of a Somalian herdsman whose father was killed in a US drone strike in Somalia in 2012. The case was brought in collaboration with the Open Society Justice Initiative and legal challenges the use of U.S. military bases on German soil to support lethal drone strikes in Africa and the Middle East. More can be read here.
A summary of the 2016 ruling of the Court of first Instance, the Administrative Court of Cologne (Germany), can be read here.
Transparancy for victims of coalition bombardments5 November 2018
Nuhanovic Foundation and the War Reparations Centre of the University of Amsterdam organize a seminar on how victims of coalition bombardments on Iraq obtain information about the bombardments through national or international legal proceedings. University of Amsterdam 6 November 2018
Nuhanovic Foundations signs statement on drones for UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security18 October 2018
The Nuhanovic Foundations signed-on to a civil society statement on drones that has been presented to United Nations General Assembly First Committee on Disarmament and International Security on October 17th. This body, which deals with disarmament, global challenges and threats to peace, will meet from 8 October – 9 November 2018 in New York. Together with our co-signatory members of the European Forum on Armed Drones (EFAD), we are keen to ensure drones have a strong mention.
Will Bemba’s acquittal have consequences for reparations?5 July 2018
On 8 June 2018, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) acquitted Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo for war crimes and crimes against humanity, crimes he had been found guilty of by the ICC’s Trial Chamber III in March 2016. Following his conviction, Trial Chamber III appointed experts to advise it on reparations for Mr Bemba’s victims and on the scope of his liability for reparations. Whether and how the Appeals Chamber’s decision will impact the reparations for the victims in this case, is now uncertain; Trial Chamber III has invited the Defence, the victims’ legal representative, the Office of Public Counsel for Victims, the Office of the Prosecutor and the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) to give their view on what the consequences should be before July 20th 2018.
Notwithstanding Bemba’s acquittal, the TFV has announced that in the context of the Bemba case, there is massive evidence of victim suffering and therefore it will speed up the launch of a programme providing victims and their families in the Central African Republic with physical and psychological rehabilitation and material aid.
Lubanga’s child soldiers’ harm recognized and to be repaired15 December 2017
On 15 December 2017, Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court delivered its decision on reparations in the Lubanga case, unanimously setting the amount of collective reparations to which Mr. Lubanga is liable to the total sum of USD 10,000,000 of which USD 3,400,000 is allocated to the 425 recognized victims and USD 6,600,000 to other potential eligible victims. A summary of the decision –which is drawn up in French- will soon be published on our website.
Imminent: decision on Reparations in Lubanga case10 December 2017
On 15 December 2017 at 10:00, Trial Chamber II of International Criminal Court will deliver its decision in the Lubanga case, setting the amount of reparations for which Mr. Lubanga is liable. The hearing will be held in the presence of the Legal Representatives of the victims, the Office of Public Counsel for the Victims, the Defense, and the Trust Fund for Victims. A video link will be established between the Makala Prison in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) where Mr Lubanga is imprisoned in order to allow him to attend the delivery of the decision.
More detailled information on the Lubanga case can be found here, under the header 'Cases before International Courts'.
U.S. judicial system denies Yemenite victims of US drone strike relief30 November 2017
Mr. Faisal bin Ali Jaber and others are Yemenite nationals who lost their relatives in a so called "signature drone strike" on August 29, 2012 in the village of Khashamir, Yemen. Following this incident, they initiated a lawsuit against the US before the U.S. District Court of Colombia, claiming that the drone bombing infringed both domestic and international law. The District Court decided hat the political question doctrine prevented it from passing judgment, a decision that the relatives appealed. Similarly, the Court of Appeal concluded that the case presents a nonjusticiable political question, dismissing the case. As a last resort, the relatives turned to the U.S. Supreme Court. But also here, they were left without a remedy for their losses. On 27 November 2017 the Supreme Court released a list of cases that it declined to hear, the case of Faisal bin Ali Jaber and others being on it. More about this case in the Drones section of our Reparations Legal Database.
Victims of alleged Serbian war crimes turn to ECtHR too late says ECtHR19 October 2017
Victims of alleged Serbian war crimes turn to ECtHR too late says ECtHR
On 19 October 2017 the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) decided by majority that the relatives of men who died in or in the way to Serbian detention camps in 1995 had left it too late to lodge their complaint about the Serbian failure to investigate these deaths and declared the case inadmissible.
1995 Victims were either murdered or died as a result of torture and lack of medical assistance during their transportation to the camps or while interned in them.
September 2011 – July 2014 On behalf of the victims’ relatives, the Humanitarian Law Centre (HLC) lodges a criminal complaint with the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor of Serbia (OWCP) against more than fifty individuals for alleged war crimes, and subsequently appeals the OWCP’s refusal to bring criminal proceedings. In July 2014 the Constitutional Court rejects the appeal for formal procedural reasons.
2014 HLC files two applications with the ECtHR against Serbia; one for the failure to investigate cases of torture of detainees and one for failure to investigate cases of deaths of detainees. In conformity with Article 35 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), the applications where filed after domestic remedies had been exhausted and timely, within the six month time limit.
October 2016 ECtHR decides that the complaint about the failure to investigate cases of torture of the detained victims, was submitted too late.
19 October 1017 The ECtHR finds that the application to adjudicate the alleged failure to investigate the deaths of the detained victims falls outside six month limit of Article 35 (1) (4) of ECHR and declares the case inadmissible.
The Court considers that the fact that no official investigation took place in Serbia in the aftermath of the events, following the ratification date or the OWCP’s creation, while the deaths in question occurred in the presence of State authorities, should have made clear to the applicants that the Serbian authorities had no intention to effectively investigate the alleged crimes. The Court finds that applicants should have been aware that the OWCP approached the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) as an internal armed conflict in which Serbia did not participate. As a result, the OWCP refused to investigate the crimes that took place in the territory of Serbia during the war in BiH, as it did not consider them as war crimes. So when the applicants submitted the criminal complaint to the OWCP in 2011, they should have realized that this move would be ineffective since there was no realistic prospect of an effective investigation being provided in the future by the OWCP.
This given, the Court concludes that the relatives should have realized that domestic proceedings would lead nowhere and thus should have lodged their application to the ECHR sooner. With this decision, the Court transferred the responsibility for the inactivity of war crimes prosecutions from the state to the victims themselves.