Murder of Nestlé worker Romero: Complaint against Switzerland submitted to ECHR

18 December 2014 - The Swiss judiciary has refused to investigate the role played by Nestlé in the murder of Colombian trade unionist and Nestlé worker Luciano Romero. The ECCHR has responded by submitting a complaint against Switzerland on behalf of Romero’s widow to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg. The ECCHR is basing its case on the right to life (Article 2) and the right to an effective remedy (Article 13) guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights. The ECtHR must now determine whether the Swiss judiciary has adequately examined Nestlé’s liability for Romero’s murder.

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Germany: Criminal complaint against Bush era architects of torture

The Federal Prosecutor must investigate former CIA Director Tenet, former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and others - and should not wait until they are on German soil

17 December 2014 – The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) in Berlin has today lodged criminal complaints against former CIA Director George Tenet, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other members of the administration of former US President George W. Bush.

 The ECCHR is accusing Tenet, Rumsfeld and a series of other persons of the war crime of torture under paragraph 8 section 1(3) of the German Code of Crimes against International Law (Völkerstrafgesetzbuch).“The architects of the torture system - politicians, officials, secret service agents, lawyers and senior army officials – should be brought before the courts,” says ECCHR General Secretary Wolfgang Kaleck, who is appearing today in connection with the issue in front of the German Parliamentary Committee on legal affairs. “By investigating members of the Bush administration, Germany can help to ensure that those responsible for abduction, abuse and illegal detention do not go unpunished.”

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CIA victim El Masri: Germany must enforce prosecution of CIA agents and demand compensation

15 December 2014 -The ECCHR has sent a letter to the Minister of Justice, Heiko Maas (Social Democratic Party of Germany, SPD), calling on the German government to request the extradition of thirteen former CIA-employees wanted by arrest warrants as well as to enforce the rights of CIA-victim and German citizen Khaled El Masri to a formal apology and reparation by the USA. ECCHR claims in its letter that the German government must request a formal apology and compensation to El Masri by the USA, if the German Federal Office of Justice still refuses to ask the USA for extradition. The Senat's report on CIA torture shows that the rendition of El Masri was by no means an exception but part of a systematic rendition and torture program. Germany must stand up for the law as an effective answer to significant forms of violence and torture.

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Illegal surveillance: No investigation into German-British software company Gamma

12 December 2014 – Public prosecution authorities in Munich have decided not to launch investigatory proceedings against employees of German-British firm Gamma International. ECCHR and the British organization Privacy International submitted a criminal complaint on 16 October 2014 calling for an investigation. The organizations have evidence to suggest that Bahraini authorities used a Gamma Trojan called FinFisher to unlawfully spy on oppositionists living in Germany and elsewhere. ECCHR will lodge an objection to the prosecution authorities’ decision. “The prosecution’s argument does not stand up to legal scrutiny,” says Miriam Saage-Maaß, Vice Legal Director at ECCHR.

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German PEN Centre awards Wolfgang Kaleck with Hermann Kesten Medal

13 November 2014 - In recognition of his tenacious and intrepid commitment to the victims of state and non-state violence, the German PEN Centre awarded ECCHR’s founder and General Secretary Wolfgang Kaleck this year’s Hermann Kesten Medal. „Thanks to Wolfgang Kaleck’s commitment, human rights violations are finally considered from an international perspective”, said Josef Haslinger, President of the German PEN Centre. The renowned award from the German branch of the international association of writers is named after the former honorary president of the German PEN Centre, Hermann Kesten (1900-1996). The award ceremony was in Darmstadt, Germany. The keynote speech was delivered by Gerhart Baum, the former Secretary of the German Ministry of Interior.Previos laureates of the Hermann Kesten Medal are Günter Grass, Anna Politkowskaja und Liu Xiaobo.

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Three Yemenis vs Germany: Survivors of a US drone strike file legal action against German government

15 October 2014 - On 29th August 2012, five rockets fired by US drones struck the village of Khashamir in eastern Yemen. Faisal bin Ali Jaber, Ahmed Saeed bin Ali Jaber und Khaled Mohmed Naser bin Ali Jaber as many other of their family had gathered in the village to celebrate a wedding. They survived, but two members of the family were killed in the strike. Other family members suffer from ongoing trauma since the drone strike. The US military base in Ramstein was used to help carry out the attack. Despite this link, the German government continues to deny any responsibility for civilian deaths caused by US drone warfare. The family bin Ali Jaber now lodged a complaint against the German government at the Administrative Court in Cologne. The three Yemeni nationals are calling on Germany to accept legal and political responsibility for US drone warfare in Yemen and to stop the use of the US military base and in particular the satellite relay station in Ramstein (southwestern Germany).

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British court confirms end of Bahraini prince’s immunity

07 October 2014 – After a two year court battle, the UK’s Director of Public Prosecutions has accepted that Bahraini Prince Nasser bin Hamad Al-Khalifa is not immune from prosecution. The High Court in London confirmed this decision at a divisional court hearing in London. This decision opens the door to an investigation by the metropolitan police War Crimes Team SO15 into allegations that the prince was involved in the mistreatment of political prisoners, and a possible prosecution. A Bahraini torture survivor, known only as FF brought the case to challenge the Director of Public Prosecution‘s (DPP) decision that the Prince has state immunity from prosecution. ECCHR, which initially raised the allegations around the time of the 2012 Olympics was an interested party in the proceedings.

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