Born To Be Miserable

Friday, May 4, 2012

From The Open Society Justice - in regard to abuse by CIA and it's cleanup...

Justice Update
A Regular Round-Up Highlighting Our Advocacy and Litigation
Mistaken Identity, CIA Abduction and Abuse: Khaled El-Masri Hearing Before European Court on May 16
Lawyers from the Open Society Justice Initiative will on May 16 appear before the European Court of Human Rights, to present a landmark case in which abuses arising from the CIA’s covert post-9/11 “war on terror” abuses will be presented in open court for the first time ever. The case is brought on behalf of Khaled El Masri, a German national who was mistakenly seized, abused and shipped by the CIA to Afghanistan for secret interrogation for four months in 2004. The Justice Initiative argues that the Macedonian government has failed to investigate El-Masri’s complaints, or to compensate him for the abuses he suffered, as required by European law. The Macedonian government has continued to deny the facts of the case. A legal complaint brought on El-Masri’s behalf in the U.S. was rejected on state secrecy grounds. Leaked U.S. State Department cables also indicated that Washington put pressure on Germany not to seek the extradition of 13 individuals involved in El-Masri’s abduction.
You can hear James A. Goldston, Justice Initiative Executive Director, discussing the case on WNYC’s Leonard Lopate show by clicking here.
Charles Taylor Guilty of Aiding and Abetting Atrocities in Sierra Leone
The Open Society Foundations welcomed the guilty verdict on April 26 in the war-crimes trial of Charles Taylor, the former Liberian president, at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague.
Abdul Tejan-Cole, head of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, hailed the judgment as “a significant milestone for the victims of the conflict…[that] supports the fight against impunity for serious crimes. It reinforces respect for the rule of law and accountability, which are both essential to underpin peace and stability across the region.”
Kelly Askin, who works on international justice at the Justice Initiative, noted in a blog picked up by the UK’s Guardian Law site that the verdict was a victory for gender justice, and “represents the first time that an international court has convicted a former head of state of responsibility for various forms of sexual violence.”
Traffic to our trial monitoring website,, soared in the run-up to the trial, with over 20,000 visits during April.
The trial now moves to a sentencing hearing, while Taylor is expected to appeal against the 11-count conviction.
Successes in Strengthening Role of Legal Aid
The UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice has passed a ground-breaking resolution on “access to legal aid in criminal justice systems” at its recent session in Vienna, the result of several years of work by groups including the Justice Initiative. The commission adopted a set of “principles and guidelines” designed to ensure that access to legal information, advice and assistance is available to all through the provision of legal aid. Kersty McCourt of the Justice Initiative said the move will help realize rights for the poor and marginalized, and reinforce efforts to create fair, humane and efficient criminal justice systems.
Separately, the European Union passed a new law aimed at strengthening the rights of those detained or arrested by police. Anyone held in any of the 27 member states must now be provided with a letter explaining their rights in straightforward terms in their own EU language.
In the News
The Justice Initiative’s Hague-based legal officer Alpha Sesay took part in BBC World Service radio’s live coverage of the Charles Taylor verdict, which lasted almost three hours on April 26. James A Goldston’s reactions to the conviction were quoted in the Financial Times. Also in London, Rebekah Delsol of the Justice Initiative commented in The Guardian on Stop Search, a play funded by grantee StopWatchUK, which focuses on the impact on families of police ethnic profiling.
From the Open Society Blog


Jonathan Birchall
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Hello! I am a Social Worker (since 1990) and a writer. I am seeking writing jobs, funding for my Writing business called "the Indigo Drum" and a way to run an office again, plus a car.