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JULY 2020

Sexual and gender-based violence in Syrian detention facilities, Argentine dictatorship crimes, a new supply chain law: Germany can – and must – contribute a great deal in addressing and preventing human rights abuses. Read more about these and other cases in our July newsletter. 

Sexual violence in Syria: Criminal complaint in Germany
Investigative video: Ruling in push-back case is questionable
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Sexual violence by Syrian intelligence services is crime against humanity: Criminal complaint in Germany
German authorities must prosecute sexual and gender-based violence in Syrian detention centers for what it is: a crime against humanity. This is the aim of a criminal complaint that seven survivors of Assad’s torture system submitted with ECCHR and other partners on 17 June to the German Federal Public Prosecutor.

Alexandra Lily Kather and Joumana Seif draft the complaint © ECCHR
Al-Khatib trial in Koblenz: “We will not be muted”
More witnesses were heard in the al-Khatib trial on state torture in Syria, including a torture survivor, a Syrian intelligence service insider, and a cousin of the defendant Eyad A. Syrian conceptual artist Khaled Barakeh unveiled his art installation “MUTE” in front of the courthouse in early July, making clear that torture survivors, activists and artists will not stop fighting for justice in Syria – or for their voices to be heard.

“MUTE” art installation in front of Koblenz courthouse © ECCHR
The case of Luis K: Germany must bring Argentine dictatorship criminals to justice
Germany must not be a safe haven for Argentine military dictatorship criminals. That is why the Berlin Public Prosecutor’s Office should file charges against Luis K, a former Argentine officer who allegedly participated in crimes against humanity during the Argentine military dictatorship (1976-83). Because he faces imprisonment in Argentina, K fled to Germany. ECCHR supports the sister of a “disappeared” Argentinean and filed a criminal complaint in 2018.
Success for human rights: German government announces supply chain law
Do German companies voluntarily comply with human rights standards? Unfortunately not. Therefore, on 14 July, ministers Hubertus Heil and Gerd Müller announced a new supply chain law. Chancellor Angela Merkel supports their plans. A strong supply chain law would be a huge success for human rights.
Investigation challenges ECtHR ruling: Black Sub-Saharan refugees are given no legal pathways to enter Spain
A new investigation by Forensic Architecture shows that due to racist policies at the Spanish-Moroccan border, Black Sub-Saharan nationals have no legal pathways to claim protection in Spain. The report, produced by FA and ECCHR, critically undermines the European Court of Human Rights’ February 2020 ND and NT v. Spain ruling.

Video still, Melilla © Forensic Architecture
Crimes during liberation wars: The Lumumba murder
The first Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo Patrice Lumumba had only been in office for a few months when he was murdered on 17 January 1961. Many international and national actors were involved, but the former colonial power Belgium played a major role. Fifty years after Lumumba’s murder, his son filed a criminal complaint. The investigation is currently pending but is strongly discussed in Belgium. ECCHR supported the case from the beginning, for example with an amicus curiae brief on applicable periods of prescription in 2011.
Humboldt Law Clinic Grund- und Menschenrechte at risk: ECCHR supports call for funding
ECCHR’s Critical Legal Training has cooperated with the Humboldt Law Clinic Grund- und Menschenrechte in Berlin for several years. As the only law clinic in Germany with a human rights focus, it works on critical theory topics that the standard curricula of most universities neglect. However, its current funding is discontinued. This is why ECCHR supports the clinic’s call for alternative funding to enable it to continue its valuable work.
Europäische Waffenfirmen im Jemen-Krieg: Wie entscheidet der Internationale Strafgerichtshof?
In German with: Miriam Saage-Maaß (ECCHR program director Business and Human Rights), Bonyan Gamal (Mwatana for Human Rights), Kai Ambos (Universität Göttingen) and Ronen Steinke (Süddeutsche Zeitung)
Heidelberger Salon digital: Bewaffnete Drohnen und das Völkerrecht
In German with: Andreas Schüller (ECCHR program director International Crimes and Accountability), Leander Beinlich and Alexandra Kemmerer (Max-Planck-Institut), Katja Keul (Die Grünen) and other experts
Ausgenommen – Menschenrechte in der Fleischindustrie
In German with: Miriam Saage-Maaß (ECCHR program director Business and Human Rights), Eva Kocher (Universität Frankfurt), Anne Kunze (ZEIT) and Elena Strato (Arbeit und Leben NRW)
Holding the powerful to account – European perspectives on strategic litigation
With: Miriam Saage-Maaß (ECCHR program director Business and Human Rights), Dan Leader (Leigh Day), Channa Samkalden (Prakken D’Oliveira) and Sandra Cossart (Sherpa)
ECCHR’s work would not be possible without the help of our friends and supporters.

Wolfgang Kaleck
Diese Krise kommt nicht aus dem Nichts, Journal der Künste, pp. 6-7
Cannelle Lavite
The French loi de vigilance: Prospects and limitations of a pioneer mandatory corporate due diligence, Verfassungsblog, 16 June 2020
Miriam Saage-Maaß
Between utopia and affirmation of the status quo, Völkerrechtsblog, 20 June 2020
Andreas Schüller
Inferno im Paradies: Fehlende Aufarbeitung von Kriegsverbrechen und deren Folgen, in: Südasien 40/2, June 2020
Susann Aboueldahab
Sexualisierte Kriegsgewalt vor deutschen Gerichten, Legal Tribune Online, 19 June 2020
Alejandra Muñoz
The use of benchmarks in the Colombia situation: An opportunity for a victim-oriented approach to ICC complementarity, OpinioJuris, 2 July 2020