Amnesty International releases report on European assistance in US lethal drone strikes24 April 2018
On April 19, 2018, Amnesty International released its report Deadly Assistance, the role of European States in US drone strikes. While the United States’ lethal drone programme covers Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Iraq and Syria and is carried out in- and outside armed conflict situations, it is supported by many States, including The United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and Italy. European support took the form of intelligence-sharing to locate and identify targets, and operational support, including the provision of infrastructure to assist with communications and allowing the US to use military bases on their territory. Amnesty’s report examines the role of these European States and analyses whether the assistance provided could be aiding potentially unlawful US drone strikes in violation of international law, rendering the assistance itself unlawful. Chapter 7 of the report highlights the Dutch litigation case sponsored by the Nuhanovic Foundation, of two Somali victims of US drone strikes who purport that the Netherlands share responsibility for the attack and claim that the Dutch State has committed a wrongful act by violating international law, in particular human rights and international humanitarian law.
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.
UN Commission of Inquiry for Syria in Amsterdam17 October 2017
On 25 October representatives of the UN Commission of Inquiry visited the University of Amsterdam to discuss the Commission's work. The event was organized by the Syria Legal Network and the Nuhanovic Foundation in cooperation with the War Reparations Centre of the University of Amsterdam. For details and invitation: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nuhanovic Foundation member of EFAD25 September 2017
The Nuhanovic Foundation has been accepted as member of the European Forum on Armed Drones. See for EFAD’s Call to Action.
Dutch State appeals to the Supreme Court in Srebrenica case19 September 2017
The Dutch State has announced to bring an appeal to the Supreme Court of the Netherlands against the judgment of the Dutch Court of Appeal in the Srebrenica case, issued last June. The Court of Appeal ruled that the Dutch State is liable to the extent of 30% of the damages suffered by 350 muslim men resulting from their unlawful ‘evacuation’ from the Dutch Compound in Srebrenica, leading to their death.
When deciding the case, the Dutch Supreme Court is required by law to base its deliberations on the facts as established by the lower court and can, apart from taking formal decisions (e.g. inadmissability of the case) decide to either dismiss the appeal, rendering the Appeal Court’s judgment final and binding ór quash the Appeals Court’s judgment. In the latter situation, the case is usually referred back to a Court of Appeal in order to review the case, in whole or in part, again. The Supreme Court only passes final judgment if no significant questions of fact remain to be decided.
Dutch Advocate requests information about Dutch involvement in Iraq airstrikes, on behalf of civilian victims13 August 2017
Lawyer, Liesbeth Zegveld has requested the Dutch Ministry of Defense for detailed information concerning Dutch involvement, as a member of the international coalition in Iraq, in airstikes on a convoy that left civilian casualties. She is acting on behalf of two victims seeking to know who bears responsibility for their injuy. It is known that the Dutch military was involved in airstrike operations in Iraq in the relevant week, but information is not publicy available about the precise nature of that involvement. The Nuhanovic Foundation supports the request on behalf of the victims and contributes to the costs of the proceedings.
Conference on Access to Justice for victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Turkey recognizes change of direction necessary in pursuit of accountability6 July 2017
The conference on Access to Justice for victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Turkey (7-8 July at the Hague Institute for Global Justice) brought together more than 90 lawyers, academics and international experts from Kurdistan, Turkey and Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and Norway. Accountability for international crimes committed by or behalf of the Turkish state was the central topic of the two day conference. Participants discussed the need to analyze the situation in southeast Turkey from an international crimes and an humanitarian law perspective instead of within the paradigm of human rights violations, as has mostly been the case so far. The Human Rights framework is now thought to be inadequate to the task of describing the facts on the ground in Turkish Kurdistan since 2015, or of developing an effective legal response to the crimes. The conference discussed recent initiatives in several EU countries - as well as in Turkey itself - to start criminal proceedings before national courts, against representatives of the Turkish state. It was decided to form an international legal network to follow up on these initiatives and to better support the work of the colleagues in Turkey. The organizers of the conference, the Nuhanovic Foundation, Maf-dad and the University of Amsterdam’s War Reparations Centre will follow up on all further developments arising from the conference.
Photo: Dr. Frederiek de Vlaming (far right) with guest panelists at the conference, 7 July 2017.
P.S. For security reasons photo’s of our colleagues from Turkey cannot be displaced.