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NEWSLETTER 52 (September 2018)
The summer break has come to an end, so we would like to use this newsletter to review some of our cases and to highlight several upcoming ECCHR events: in August, a delegation from ECCHR travelled to Namibia to support the Ovaherero and Nama struggle against (post-)colonial injustice. French legal authorities reached a historic decision in the Lafarge/Syria case at the end of July, and since then have been investigating the aiding and abetting of crimes against humanity. The proceedings looking into the practice of deadly push-backs from February 2014 at the Spanish-Moroccan border have been taken up again. News in the Education Program: the 2018 Kreuzberger Kinderstiftung scholarships have been awarded.
ECCHR: Brodsky
Exhibition: “1968, the fire of ideas” by Marcelo Brodsky

From 1 October 2018 at ECCHR

In his exhibition “1968, the fire of ideas”, Argentine photographer and activist Marcelo Brodsky combines archival imagery from the turbulent year of 1968.

More information here.
ECCHR: PC Behrendt
Genocide in Namibia: German responsibility for (post-)colonial injustice

ECCHR attended a meeting between a delegation of Ovaherero and Nama and the Berlin Senator for Justice Dirk Behrendt, who issued an apology for the genocide in Namibia.

More information here.
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Torture in Syria: Complaint to EU commission against Italy after visit of Ali Mamluk
In June 2018, ECCHR submitted a complaint to the European Commission against Italy. ECCHR requested the Commission to open infringement procedures after a visit to Italy by Ali Mamluk, Head of the National Security Bureau in Syria and close ally to President Bashar al-Assad. Although Mamluk has been designated on the EU sanctions list, he was received by then Interior Minister Minniti at the beginning of 2018. Mamluk is allegedly responsible for the torture of thousands of detainees. 14 Syrian and international human rights organisations have expressed their support for the complaint.

Joint letter concerning the complaint against Italy

More on our Syria work
Israeli air strike in Gaza: Justice for the Kilani family
ECCHR: Podium Kilani
Liesbeth Zegveld, Michael Sfard, Chantal Meloni, Wolfgang Kaleck and Iyad al-Alami during the presentation of the Kilani case in Berlin
In the course of military action in Gaza on 21 July 2014, Israeli armed forces killed, among others, members of the German-Palestinian Kilani family. Prior to the attack, the family had fled to Gaza City after leaflets were dropped in their home area of Beit Lahia in the Gaza strip, informing them of planned Israeli airstrikes in that area. ECCHR together with its partner organization the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), filed a criminal complaint with the German Federal Public Prosecutor on behalf of Ramsis Kilani from Germany, who lost his father and half-siblings in the strike. The case was presented on 4 September 2018 in Berlin.

More information on the Kilani case
Historic decision in Lafarge case: French authorities also investigate crimes against humanity
On 28 June 2018, cement company Lafarge was indicted in France on charges of complicity in crimes against humanity. This is a worldwide premiere for a parent company to be indicted for such offenses, marking a decisive step forward in the fight against impunity of multinationals operating in armed conflict zones. This follows a criminal complaint filed by eleven Syrian former employees together with ECCHR and Sherpa in November 2016.

More on the Lafarge case
Rana Plaza report by TÜV Rheinland: German Ministry of Economic Affairs acknowledges need for reform of social audits
It is long overdue to overhaul audit procedures. The Final Statement of the German National Contact Point on the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises in the Rana Plaza proceeding against the auditing company TÜV Rheinland should pave the way for fundamental reforms. The Final Statement marked the end of the complaint mechanism against the German certification company that ECCHR together with partners from Bangladesh and Germany initiated in May 2016. A few months before the factory collapse, TÜV Rheinland audited the production facilities in Bangladesh.

More information on the proceeding against TÜV Rheinland
Arms exports from Germany: Regulation of arms exports disregard human rights
Germany must not sell arms if they are used to breach human rights abroad: this is the message of the joint report that ECCHR and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) submitted to the Committee for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in August. In their current report, the UN body demanded Germany to respect human rights in their arms export practices but German arms exports are still endangering human rights abroad instead of protecting them.

Joint submission by ECCHR as well as more information on our work on arms exports
Deadly push-back at Ceuta: Investigations concerning brutal police action are being reopened
ECCHR: Zaun Ceuta
Border fence at the beach of El Tarajal, Ceuta © Metroplus
The criminal investigation into the police action which took place on 6 February 2014 at the Spanish-Moroccan border in Ceuta, which caused the death of at least 15 people and left many injured, must now continue. This fresh decision by the regional court of Cádiz overturns the decision to close the proceedings taken by the local court in Ceuta in January 2018, in response to a complaint submitted by ECCHR’s Madrid-based partner lawyer. This is the second time in the course of these proceedings that it has been ordered that the investigation must be reopened. The investigations against officers of the Guardia Civil who participated in the push-backs must now be pursued again. Survivors who are now living in Germany must be heard as witnesses.

More on the Ceuta case
Push-backs at the EU’s external borders: Oral hearing at ECtHR on Spain’s practice of push-backs
After a request for referral by Spain, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) on 26 September 2018 will reconsider the unlawful push-backs at the Spanish-Moroccan border. In October 2017, the Court decided that Spain’s practice of push-backs violates human rights. The proceedings followed the complaints by two persons from Mali and Ivory Coast (N.D. and N.T.) who were pushed back to Morocco at the border fences of Melilla in August 2014. ECCHR is working with the two complainants on their cases, which have the potential to set an important precedent on the fundamental “right to have rights”.

More on the Melilla case
Together with those affected and partners worldwide, we use legal means to fight against the impunity of state and economic actors. Support our work for a more just world.
Genocide in Namibia: German responsibility for (post-)colonial injustice
Press conference with representatives of the Herero and Nama after a meeting with Dirk Behrendt, Berlin Senator for Justice
Following an invitation by the Ovaherero Genocide Foundation (OGF), Wolfgang Kaleck and Judith Hackmack from ECCHR travelled to Namibia in August to attend the commemoration of the German genocide of the Herero and Nama peoples (1904-08). Together with those affected by (post-)colonial injustice, they spoke of their fight for recognition and their expectations of the German government. On 27 August, Kaleck attended a meeting between a delegation of Ovaherero and Nama and the Berlin Senator for Justice Dirk Behrendt, who issued an apology for the genocide in Namibia.

Video series on the travel to Namibia
Kreuzberger Kinderstiftung: Third year of supported trainees starts at ECCHR
The scholarships of the Kreuzberger Kinderstiftung for future human rights lawyers go into the third round: in the open call 2018, ECCHR was able to award grants to five young colleagues from the Balkans, Southern Europe and Latin America. Together with experienced staff members they have been working on various projects concerning arms exports, push-backs and corporate responsibility for involvement in dictatorship crimes.

More on the Kreuzberger Kinderstiftung scholarships
Global network: ECCHR organizes dialogue between organizations from the Global North and Global South
In June 2018, representatives from organizations in the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations (INCLO) attended a three-day workshop in Berlin. INCLO is made up of 13 organizations from the Global North and Global South who work in the field of civil, economic and social rights. Workshop participants discussed their practical experience of transnational litigation and explored possible joint strategies and tactics.

More on the INCLO workshop
Cooperation with universities: Dr. Miriam Saage-Maaß joins advisory board of the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights
In order to support a critical discourse, ECCHR cooperates with universities and research facilities worldwide. Miriam Saage-Maaß, director of the Business and Human Rights program, was appointed to the advisory board of the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights at Oxford University in May 2018. The Institute aims to encourage exchange between human rights practitioners and academics.

More about the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights
Video: Universal jurisdiction workshop in Colombia
In February, 28 human rights defenders met at an international workshop in Bogotá. The experts talked about what Colombia can learn from other societies when addressing crimes of the past and which aspects could be exemplary for the Colombian transitional justice. Interviews and impressions from the workshop are now complied in a new video.

Link to video
Video: Transnational litigation workshop
In April 2018, ECCHR with the support of the Bertha Foundation, invited partners and experts to Berlin for a workshop on transnational litigation in the field of business and human rights. During the workshop participants reflected on specific challenges: What is “transnational litigation”? How has the field developed over the past ten years? How can international networks support strategic litigation against corporations? These questions were discussed during the workshop. Some of the answers are compiled in a new video.

Link to video
German arms exports in Mexico – Heckler & Koch and the Ayotzinapa case
27 September 2018, 7pm-9pm, ECCHR
Commemorating the 4th anniversary of the attack on the students of Ayotzinapa, Brot für die Welt and ECCHR invite you to a discussion. With voices from Mexico and Germany, we aim to critically assess the Ayotzinapa case and the role of Heckler & Koch, as well as the German arms export policy.

With: Leonel Gutiérrez Solano (the relative of a student from Ayotzinapa), Sofía De Robina (Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez A.C., Mexico), Katja Keul (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) and Christian Schliemann (ECCHR)

The event will be held in German and Spanish. Please register at: www.ecchr.eu/en/events/
Exhibition: “1968, the fire of ideas” by Marcelo Brodsky
ECCHR: Brodsky
Berlin, 1968 © Marcelo Brodsky
1968 – This year sees a rise in global protests against politicians, the military and repressive power structures. In his exhibition “1968, the fire of ideas”, Argentine photographer and activist Marcelo Brodsky combines archival imagery from these turbulent times. Through added elements of text and color Brodsky highlights the emotionality of the protests and the worldwide struggle for social change.

ECCHR will host this exhibition from 1 until 31 October 2018.
Wolfgang Kaleck
Einsatz für die Menschenrechte: Warum er nötiger ist denn je“, in: Südlink, June 2018

Wolfgang Kaleck / Karina Theurer
“Das Recht der Mächtigen: Die kolonialen Wurzeln des Völkerrechts“, in: Blätter für deutsche und internationale Politik, June 2018

Andreas Schüller / Chantal Meloni
Quality Control in the Preliminary Examination of Civil Society Submissions“, in: Morten Bergsmo and Carsten Stahn (Eds.): Quality Control in Preliminary Examination: Volume 2, Torkel Opsahl Academic EPublisher, Brussels 2018, pp. 521-553

Claire Tixeire
Can the Lafarge case be a game changer? French multinational company indicted for international crimes in Syria”, in: Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, 31 August 2018

Spiegel Online (Germany)
Deutscher Völkermord an Herero und Nama. Worauf wartest du, Deutschland?commentary by Wolfgang Kaleck, 28 August 2018

Deutschlandfunk Kultur (Germany)
Feature: Die juristische Auseinandersetzung mit dem Kolonialismus, 28 August 2018

Berliner Zeitung (Germany)
Ermordete Herero und Nama Justizsenator bittet Opferverbände um Verzeihung, 28 August 2018


Le Figaro (France)
Le cimentier Lafarge, accusé d’avoir financé Daech, a été mis en examen, 28 June 2018

The Times (UK)
Cement group Lafarge investigated over funding for Isis, 29 June 2018

Deutsche Welle (Germany)
France’s Lafarge Cement charged with crimes against humanity in Syria conflict, 28 June 2018


Süddeutsche Zeitung (Germany)
Das Vorbild: „Eine neue Welle“, interview with Wolfgang Kaleck, 27 August 2018

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and FAZ Einspruch (Germany)
Kein Hafen für Kriegsverbrecher, 16 June 2018

National Public Radio (USA)
With Syrias War Nearly Over, Victims Take The Battle To European Courts, 13 August 2018

Corriere Della Sera (Italy)
Feature: Il Caso contro Assad, 21 August 2018

Colonia Dignidad

Deutsche Welle (Germany)
Colonia Dignidad und „das Versagen der Bundesrepublik“, interview with Andreas Schüller, 27 August 2018


Süddeutsche Zeitung (Germany)
Edward Snowden: „Ich hatte nie vor, hier zu sein“, 30 June 2018
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