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International Human Rights Law, Humanitarian Law,

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Identifying abuses: Liberia's TRC Act defines human rights violations as ... Liberia ratified the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the crime of ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: International Human Rights Law, Humanitarian Law,


1
International Human Rights Law, Humanitarian
Law, Crimes Against Humanity
  • Understanding and Identifying Violations in the
    Liberian Conflict

2
Overlapping Systems of Protection
Human Rights Law -applies in periods of peace as
well as conflict
Humanitarian Law -applies only during armed confl
ict
International Criminal Law (Crimes against
Humanity)
3
I. Human Rights Law
  • They made us stand for one hour upside down
    against the wall, on our hands with our feet
    against the wall. Then they beat our hands with
    their gun butts whenever we put a foot back on
    the ground. They put a gun in my mouth and they
    said, Eat Charles Taylors biscuit. I was then
    put into a cell and held overnight. The next
    morning, we were made to clean up the area, cut
    the grass and bush, and then released.
  • - 26 year old Liberian man

4
I. Human Rights Law
  • Definition
  • - HUMAN RIGHTS are the rights that all people
    have by virtue of being human
  • - HUMAN RIGHTS are derived from the inherent
    dignity of the human person

5
I. Human Rights Law
  • History
  • - Antiquity
  • - Code of Hammurabi
  • -Rights of Athenian citizens
  • - Medieval
  • - Magna Carta (1215)
  • - Sir Thomas Aquinas theory of natural rights
    (13th Century)

6
I. Human Rights Law
  • History
  • - Enlightenment
  • - English Declaration of the Rights of Man
    (1689)
  • - U.S. Declaration of Independence (1776)
  • - French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of
    the Citizen (1789)
  • - United States Constitution and Bill of Rights
    (1789)

7
I. Human Rights Law
  • History
  • - Early Developments (cont.)
  • - International Committee for the Red Cross
    (1863)
  • - League of Nations
  • - International Labor Organization (1919)

8
I. Human Rights Law
  • History
  • - Aftermath of World War II
  • - Roosevelts Four Freedoms Speech(January 6,
    1941)
  • - The Atlantic Charter Between the United States
    and Great Britain (August 14, 1941)
  • - The Nuremberg and Tokyo Tribunals
  • - Creation of the United Nations (1945)

9
I. Human Rights Law
  • Sources International Bill of Human Rights
  • - Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
  • - Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (plus
    Optional Protocols) (1966)
  • - Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural
    Rights (1966)

10
I. Human Rights Law
  • Sources other key human rights instruments
  • - International Convention on the Elimination of
    All Forms of Racial Discrimination (acceded to by
    Liberia in 1976)
  • - Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
    Discrimination Against Women (acceded to in
    1984)
  • - Convention on the Rights of the Child (adopted
    in 1989) Optional Protocol on the involvement
    of children in armed conflict (signed 2004)

11
I. Human Rights Law
  • Sources other key human rights instruments
  • - Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel,
    Inhuman or Degrading Punishment (acceded to by
    Liberia in 2004)
  • - Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
    (acceded to 1964)
  • - African (Banjul) Charter on Human and Peoples
    Rights (ratified in 1982)

12
I. Human Rights Law
  • Identifying civil and political rights
  • - Life Arbitrary and extrajudicial killings
  • - Equality government privileges for certain
    tribal groups
  • - Personal integrity beatings
  • - Freedom from slavery forced labor
  • - Freedom from arbitrary arrest/detention
    detentions based solely on suspicion or
    association

13
I. Human Rights Law
  • Identifying civil and political rights
  • - Freedom of movement and residence checkpoints,
    forced displacements
  • - Due Process detention without charge or trial,
    no opportunity to present a defense
  • - Freedom of opinion and expression arrests of
    journalists, confiscation of equipment
  • - Freedom of association and assembly violent
    suppression of peaceful protests

14
I. Human Rights Law
  • After the President made a speech in Feb. 2002
    saying certain areas in Monrovia were harboring
    rebel collaborators, hundreds of men were
    arrested. Street boys were also being rounded
    up. The SOD police arrived heavily armed in
    landcruiser jeeps. Men in my neighborhood of
    Duala were arrested and taken to the national
    police headquarters. I slept in the ceiling that
    night.
  • - 26 year old Liberian man

15
I. Human Rights Law
  • Identifying economic, social, and cultural
    rights
  • - Right to safe and healthy working conditions
    no protection from unsafe chemicals on rubber
    plantations
  • - Right to form trade unions and to strike
    harassment of union organizers
  • - Right to Social Security breakdown of
    government service infrastructure

16
I. Human Rights Law
  • Identifying economic, social, and cultural
    rights
  • - Right to adequate food, clothing and housing
    destruction of homes crops, water contamination
    because of corpses
  • - Right to education schools closed because of
    fighting
  • - Right to health care lack of medical care in
    refugee camps

17
I. Human Rights Law
  • Identifying abuses Liberias TRC Act defines
    human rights violations as
  • - violations of international human rights
    standards, including but not limited to acts of
    torture, killing, abduction and severe
    ill-treatment
  • - violations of international humanitarian law,
    including but not limited to crimes against
    humanity

18
I. Human Rights Law
  • TRC will pay special attention to
  • - gender based violations
  • - the issue of child soldiers
  • - root causes, circumstances, factors, context,
    motives and perspectives which led to violations

19
I. Human Rights Law
  • Womens human rights violations
  • - abductions
  • - sexual violence and slavery
  • - forced marriage and child bearing
  • - ritual killings
  • - forced labor

20
I. Human Rights Law
  • Childrens human rights violations
  • - abductions
  • - sexual violence and slavery
  • - forced conscriptions
  • - forced labor
  • - separation from parents, siblings

21
I. Human Rights Law
  • Government soldiers came and forced me and my
    father to join them. My father refused so they
    cut his throat. They beat me and tied me and
    forced me to join the fighters. First, I carried
    ammunition but then they gave me a gun and said
    that I should join the Small Boys Unit. . . I
    was sometimes beaten for misbehaving. While I was
    fighting, the LURD captured me in Lofa. They tied
    me and cut my foot to mark me in case I ran away.
    I had to fight with the LURD but while I was
    fighting I saw a friend with the soldiers so I
    ran back to the government side. I went to
    Gbarnga and fought in a village behind Gbatala.
    My commander brought captured LURD fighters and
    told me to kill them. I tied them and cut their
    throats or shot them. I killed more than seven
    people. -13 year old Liberian boy

22
Actors in the Liberian Conflict
  • Government
  • Non-state actors
  • Civilians
  • Victims
  • Witnesses
  • Perpetrators

23
II. Humanitarian Law
  • Every day and night the soldiers came to take our
    food, our clothes. They beat. They could come to
    the market and shoot, making people run away and
    then take their goods. I left there yesterday
    because of the beating and looting. I saw one
    woman who had given birth in the morning and was
    raped in the evening. Her baby died. Girls were
    also raped.
  • - 35 year old Liberian woman

24
II. Humanitarian Law
  • Sources
  • - traditions and customs of war from ancient
    times
  • - modern warfare led to creation of the Geneva
    Conventions of 1949 and the Additional Protocols
    of 1977 relating to protection of victims of
    armed conflict

25
II. Humanitarian Law
  • Definition
  • - a set of rules which seek to limit the effects
    of armed conflict on civilians through
  • - the protection of those who are not, or are no
    longer, taking part in fighting
  • - civilians, religious/medical military
    personnel, prisoners of war
  • - restrictions on the means and methods of
    warfare, i.e., weaponry and tactics

26
II. Humanitarian Law
  • Definitions
  • - Combatants
  • - have the right to directly participate in
    hostilities
  • - cannot be prosecuted for their participation
  • - are entitled to POW status in case of capture
  • - can be directly targeted

27
II. Humanitarian Law
  • Definitions
  • - Civilians
  • - are protected against the effect of
    hostilities
  • - do not have the right to participate in
    hostilities
  • - lose immunity against attack if they directly
    participate
  • - can be prosecuted for mere participation in
    hostilities

28
II. Humanitarian Law
  • Basic rules of warfare
  • - persons who are not or are no longer taking
    part in hostilities shall be respected,
    protected, and treated humanely
  • - captured combatants shall be treated humanely
  • - parties to an armed conflict must choose means
    of warfare that will not cause superfluous injury
    or unnecessary suffering
  • - armed forces shall at all times distinguish
    between the civilian population/objects and
    military objectives, so as to spare civilians

29
II. Humanitarian Law
  • Common Article 3
  • - In the case of armed conflict not of an
    international character occurring in the
    territory of one of the High Contracting Parties,
    each Party to the conflict shall be bound to
    apply, as a minimum, the following provisions

30
II. Humanitarian Law
  • Common Article 3 continued
  • - (1) Persons taking no active part in the
    hostilities, including members of armed forces
    who have laid down their arms and those placed '
    hors de combat ' by sickness, wounds, detention,
    or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be
    treated humanely, without any adverse distinction
    founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex,
    birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.

31
II. Humanitarian Law
  • Common Article 3 continued
  • - To this end, the following acts are and shall
    remain prohibited at any time and in any place
    whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned
    persons
  • - (a) violence to life and person, in particular
    murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment
    and torture
  • - (b) taking of hostages

32
II. Humanitarian Law
  • Common Article 3 continued
  • - (c) outrages upon personal dignity, in
    particular humiliating and degrading treatment
  • - (d) the passing of sentences and the carrying
    out of executions without previous judgment
    pronounced by a regularly constituted court,
    affording all the judicial guarantees which are
    recognized as indispensable by civilized
    peoples.
  • - (2) The wounded and sick shall be collected and
    cared for.

33
II. Humanitarian Law
  • I was captured by the AFL on Dec. 23, 2001. I
    was with me daughter and my sisters daughter.
    My sister had gone to look for food for us. The
    soldiers told me to come with them. I told them
    that I couldnt carry two babies, so they
    threatened to kill one of them. so I picked them
    both up and carried the two babies. I was beaten
    with the back of their guns for not walking fast
    enough. . .
  • The AFL was stealing the zinc roofing from the
    buildings and making us carry it over the Sierra
    Leone border to sell it for them. I carried ten
    sheets and when I got to Sierra Leone, I was able
    to escape. Both my baby and my sisters baby
    dies of sickness. I am here as a refugee alone.
  • - 35 year old Liberian woman

34
II. Humanitarian Law
  • Identifying violations Under the Rome Statute of
    the ICC, war crimes are any of the following
    breaches of the Geneva Conventions, perpetrated
    against any persons or property
  • - Willful killing
  • - Torture or inhuman treatment, including
    biological experiments

35
II. Humanitarian Law
  • Identifying violations contd
  • - Willfully causing great suffering, or serious
    injury to body or health
  • - Extensive destruction and appropriation of
    property, not justified by military necessity and
    carried out unlawfully and wantonly
  • - Compelling a prisoner of war or other protected
    person to serve in the forces of a hostile power

36
II. Humanitarian Law
  • Identifying violations contd
  • - Willfully depriving a prisoner of war or other
    protected person of the rights of fair and
    regular trial
  • - Unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful
    confinement
  • - Taking of hostages

37
III. Crimes Against Humanity
  • The AFL troops rounded everyone up and brought us
    into town. The commander was Col. Stanley. They
    took everything from us money, clothes,
    documents. They beat people and threatened to
    kill them, calling them rebel sympathizers. They
    were opening doors or houses and shooting at
    people in their houses. They were also burning
    houses.
  • - 17 year old Liberian boy

38
III. Crimes Against Humanity
  • Definition any of the following acts when
    committed as part of a widespread or systematic
    attack directed against any civilian population
  • - Murder
  • - Extermination
  • - Enslavement
  • - Deportation or forcible transfer of population

39
III. Crimes Against Humanity
  • Definition continued
  • - Imprisonment or other severe deprivation of
    physical liberty in violation of fundamental
    rules of international law
  • - Torture and other inhuman acts of a similar
    character intentionally causing great suffering,
    or serious injury to body or to mental or
    physical health.
  • - Rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution,
    forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any
    other form of sexual violence of comparable
    gravity

40
III. Crimes Against Humanity
  • Definition continued
  • - Persecution against any identifiable group or
    collectivity on political, racial, national,
    ethnic, cultural, religious, gender, or other
    grounds that are universally recognized as
    impermissible under international law
  • - Enforced disappearance of persons
  • - The crime of apartheid

41
III. Crimes Against Humanity
  • Definition Genocide
  • - Killing members of the group
  • - Causing serious bodily or mental harm to
    members of the group
  • - Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions
    of life calculated to bring about its physical
    destruction in whole or in part

42
III. Crimes Against Humanity
  • Definition Genocide
  • - Imposing measures intended to prevent births
    within the group
  • - Forcibly transferring children of the group to
    another group

43
III. Crimes Against Humanity
  • Sources
  • - Liberia ratified the Convention on the
    Prevention and Punishment of the crime of
    Genocide in 1950
  • - Liberia ratified the Rome Statute of the
    International Criminal Court in 2004

44
III. Crimes Against Humanity
  • In early September 2001 we were attacked by the
    AFL and fled into the bush. A few days later . .
    . we were brought before Commander Zizemaza. He
    pointed at us and said You Gbandi people are
    the brothers and wives of the dissidents. We
    told you to go to Monrovia but you didnt agree.
    Well kill any Gbandi person we see so kill
    them. . . Then thirty or so people, including my
    mother and sister, were tied with rope and put
    inside three houses. They begged, but the
    soldiers slapped them and told them to shut up.
    Then the soldiers lit the houses on fire, and
    stood guard at the door to make sure our people
    didnt escape.
  • - 30 year old Liberian man

45
Addressing violations
  • Addressing violations
  • - Truth Reconciliation Commissions
  • recommendations for prosecutions
  • domestic prosecutions
  • - reparations
  • - lustration (disqualifying agents of the former
    regime from future participation in civil
    society)
  • - amnesty (but not for violations of
    international humanitarian law and crimes against
    humanity)
  • - system reform

46
Addressing violations
  • - Tribunals Special Courts
  • - Charles Taylor has been indicted by the
    Special Court for Sierra Leone
  • - International Criminal Court
  • - ICC has jurisdiction over nationals of states
    that have ratified the ICC statute (Liberia
    ratified Rome Statute in 2004) and any matter
    referred by the UN Security Council
  • - Civil Suits for Damages
  • - Alien Tort Claims Act
  • - Universal Jurisdiction
  • - E.g. Pinochet
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