India: Supreme Court asks pharmaceutical companies for speficic details on clinical trials

19 August 2014 - Concerning a petition on human rights violations in clinical trials the Indian Supreme Court has issued notice to the pharmaceutical companies GlaxoSmithKline (UK) und Merck (USA) and asked for specific details on the trials. In the same hearing, the Court accepted an Amicus Brief the ECCHR submitted in the case on 11th of February 2014. 24,000 girls in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh were vaccinated against the human papilloma virus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer. A governmental inquiry commission had especially questioned the fact that school head masters signed consent forms on behalf of the children. Women’s health activists now seek accountability and brought a public interest petition to the Court. According to ECCHR, “a proper investigation should include the organizations conducting the trial as well as the pharmaceutical companies that benefit from the scientific results.”

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Nestlé: Swiss Judiciary declines access to justice

1 August 2014 - The Swiss Federal Supreme Court dismissed the appeal of the Swiss widow of the assassinated Colombian Sinaltrainal trade unionist and Nestlé-worker Luciano Romero in its decision of 21 July 2014 (published on 31 July). She had appealed against the closing of the investigations into the responsibility of Nestlé for the murder of her husband. The Federal Supreme Court confirmed the legal reasoning of the prosecutor’s office and the Cantonal Court, that the investigations were statute-barred. It thereby departed from the interpretation of the Federal Council and great parts of the literature that it is a continuing offence – which, hence, would not be statute-barred in the present case.

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Pakistan: ECCHR calls for investigation against KiK

15 May 2014 – ECCHR has submitted a brief to the High Court of Sindh in Karachi calling for investigations to be broadened in the criminal proceedings against Ali Enterprises, the owner of the destroyed Karachi clothing factory. 289 workers died in a fire at the factory in September 2012, while hundreds more were injured. In the submission ECCHR calls on the court to expand the scope of the proceedings and examine the role played by European companies KiK and RINA. “There is evidence to suggest that KiK and RINA contributed to the fire through their failure to take action on safety standards”, said Miriam Saage-Maaß from ECCHR. “Under international human rights norms, the Pakistani authorities have a duty to examine the evidence and, where appropriate, to hold these international companies to account”.

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Torture in Iraq: ICC investigations into British military represent milestone for international justice

13 May 2014 – ECCHR welcomes the decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague to reopen preliminary investigations into the liability of British military officials for the torture of detainees in Iraq. “The reopening of the investigation represents a milestone for Iraqi victims and for international criminal law”, said ECCHR General Secretary Wolfgang Kaleck. “The double standards must come to an end. Those who violate human rights must be brought to justice regardless of how powerful they may be”. ECCHR now hopes to see genuine investigations undertaken– whether by the prosecution at the ICC or by the British judiciary. The investigations should not be directed solely against low-ranking suspects. “There must also be an examination of the role of senior military and political figures. Ten years after the war it is time they were finally held accountable”.  In January ECCHR and Public Interest Lawyers lodged a criminal complaint with the prosecution authorities at the ICC.

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