International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Tag Archives: Amnesty International

Attack in Egypt

On December 11, 2016, a bomb went off at a chapel adjacent to Egypt’s main Coptic Christian cathedral, killing 25 and wounding 49.

Amnesty international has stated, “Those responsible for this morning’s reprehensible bombing at a Coptic Christian church in Cairo should be brought to justice in fair trials without recourse to the death penalty”.

Mena (Egypt’s state run news) reported that12 kilograms of TNT explosives were used in this attack. It has mostly killed woman and children, and is the deadliest such attack since the 1st January 2011, when there was a church bombing in Alexandria, which killed 23 people.

President Abdel Farah Al-Sisi has encouraged the people of Egypt to band together, “to emerge victorious in the war against terrorism, which is the battle of all Egyptians”. He has stressed that the authority will take immediate action and will be harsh with its response. The Egyptian government has previously staked its mandate on the fight against Islamic groups, promising to protect the minorities as part of its pledge. This bombing has made the people question whether or not the government can protect them from these types of crimes.muslim-terror-attack-on-egyptian-coptic-church

“The government doesn’t protect us. They can’t protect us against terrorism in general,” said one man.

Egypt has seen a rise in attacks affiliated with ISIS since the former Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, was over thrown in 2003.

After today’s tragic even Egypt has declared three days of mourning.

Cold Blooded Killers

Amnesty International has stated that it has gathered evidence, that men dressed in Iraqi federal police uniforms have tortured and killed residents of different villages in south of Mosul.

Researchers from Amnesty visited several villages in the Al-Sura and Al- Qayyara sub-districts of Ninewa governorate, southwest and south of Mosul. They found evidence that indicated up to six people were “extrajudicially” executed in late October, (the sixth man was apparently shot dead as he ran towards forces that included men in police uniform while pulling up his clothes to show that he had no explosives). The reasoning behind this killing was apparently due to suspicions that the victims had ties with the Islamic State.

An Iraqi soldier stands next to detained men accused of being Islamic State fighters, at a check point in Qayyara, south of Mosul, Iraq“Deliberately killing captives and other defenceless individuals is prohibited by international humanitarian law and is a war crime. It is crucial that the Iraqi authorities carry out prompt, thorough, impartial and independent investigations into these crimes under international law, and bring those responsible to justice. Without effective measures to suppress and punish serious violations, there is a real risk that we could see war crimes of this kind repeated in other Iraqi villages and towns during the Mosul offensive.” Said Lynn Maalouf, Deputy Director for Research at Amnesty International (Beirut Regional Office).

Since the federal Police forces command has denied the accusation, they must investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice. Amnesty is also asking Iraqi authorities to grantee protection to the families of the victims and witnesses. While the Iraqi authorities did deny taking part of the torture, there were a number of Iraqi forces present in, or passed through the villages during the time the crime was taking place. To further pressure the authorities, “all those killed were buried without autopsies after their corpses were found”. This is similar to burying the evidence.

Pro-government forces have launched an offensive operation to retake Mosul last month. About 50,000 Iraqi security forces personnel, soldiers, police, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, Sunni Arab tribesmen and Shia militiamen are involved in the three-week operation.

Crimes Against Refugees in Nauru

“On Nauru, the Australian government runs an open-air prison designed to inflict as much suffering as necessary to stop some of the world’s most vulnerable people from trying to find safety in Australia,” said Anna Neistat, Amnesty International’s Senior Director for Research

Nauru has a population of 10,000 people, and with approximately 1,159 asylum seekers and refugees (third highest proportion of refugees per capita). Out of these asylum seekers, 410 are held in the Refugee Processing Center where they are driven to suicide because of the conditions they live in, which Amnesty claims is torture.

Not only are the people in the Center the target of abuse, but also those who live among the population. Dozens have experienced physical attacks some that include sexual assault. One incident includes, a refugee family that moved into the community have been repeatedly attacked in their homes and have had their property destroyed.
Until now, no Nauru citizens are held accountable for their actions; instead many refugees have been arrested and imprisoned. “Arbitrary arrests as a form of intimidation are common on Nauru.”

The community in Nauru also do not care about refugees well being. Many people have been discharged from the hospital when they are clearly still sick. Many are experiencing deteriorating mental health, and doctors are not prescribing the right medication to help them. “Amnesty said that 58 detainees, or about 15 percent of the total on Nauru, to whom it spoke for its report, had either attempted suicide or have had thoughts about harming themselves.”

It is interesting how a government will go to great lengths to stop people from seeking refugee in their country. Australian government believes that they need to set harsh rules to those who want to enter their country, they will try everything in their power to deter them.

Israel announces more settlements in Palestine

In November 2012, the UN General Assembly voted on Palestine being a non-member observer state. Following that (on Friday, November 30), Israel said that it had authorized another 3000 housing units in the occupied West Bank. This was the day after Palestine was recognized by the UN as a non-member observer state.

On Monday, December 3, Amnesty International said that settlement construction was violating human rights and international law.

Ann Harrison (Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Programme Director) said concerning the announcement from Israel: ” This announcement sends a strong signal to the world that the current Israeli government has no respect for human rights and international law. Building settlements violates the rights of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and is prohibited in all circumstances.”

The settlements would be built on Palestinian land, but they are for Jews only. Israeli authorities did not consult the Bedouin communities, and most of the houses in the communities that are to be settled (by Israelis) have demolition orders. Residents have already said that settlers have been attacking/harassing the villagers.

Yemen: First peace, now justice?

Yemen: First peace, now justice?

In continuing our theme of how peace and justice their roles in working towards reconciliation after human rights violations, the current Abyan conflict in Yemen is one that can better put this complex theme into perspective. Amnesty International released a report yesterday detailing the human rights violations that have been recorded through interviews with “residents, activists, journalists, witnesses, victims and relatives of victims from Abyan governorate, mainly in Aden and Ja’ar, and visited areas affected by the conflict, including Ja’ar, Zinjibar and al-Kawd”. As Ansar al-Shar’ia fought for control of the Abyan region and enforced strict restrictions in work, school and social life in general upon the Yemeni people. Simultaneously, the Yemeni government’s militia was not able to regain control through several attacks on Ansar al-Shar’ia, which lead to further violence until the extremist group group was finally driven out of Abyan in June 2012 attack.


Having displaced 250,000 people through their time of reign in the Abyan region, Ansar al-Shar’ia has now been removed from Yemen, but does this mean that the Yemeni people are at peace? Not only was this a series of violent attacks by an extremist Islamist group, but also a period of confinement as Ansar al-Shar’ia through strict laws that determined how the people of the region led their lives. The way to achieve immediate peace was for the Yemeni government to take back their power, but what does Yemen intend to do in seeking justice for the human rights violations? We cannot forget those who are still affected by the human rights violations and their subjection to a the laws of an Islamist extremist group, which at the time, superseded Yemeni laws.  


We must also keep in mind that though these human rights violations are mostly a domestic issue, they should be of the utmost concern to the international community. Not only have these perpetrators been displaced without consequence, they have not been disbanded. The threat of a group strong enough to take over part of a nation is indeed terrifying for all countries in the Arab Peninsula. The report of Amnesty International will be the first step in providing insight to these human rights atrocities, the first of many to establish justice to the Yemeni people. 

Amnesty accuses Rwanda of torture

Almost eight years after the establishment of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda for violations of international law, Amnesty International is accusing Rwandan military intelligence of detaining civilians and using extreme interrogation techniques after a series of violent attacks before the presidential election of 2010 . Amnesty International “says researches in Rwanda documented 45 cases of unlawful detention and 18 allegations of torture at Rwanda military prisons between March 2010 and June of this year”.  In order to move forward with this case, Amnesty International is having trouble finding Rwandan citizens to file a case for these human rights violations. There is also the ethical question of how much Amnesty International should probe the case because of the trauma that the violations have caused the Rwandan people. However, failing to take these human rights violations to court has the consequence of allowing a government to “get away with” several crimes and invoking a desire for revenge among citizens.

On a larger scope, I find this case especially interesting because it highlights how difficult it is to prove that military intelligence has indeed unlawfully detained and tortured civilians.  Even with appropriate evidence, it is extremely difficult to carry out a successful trial that will result in justice and reparations for the people; as we saw the United States simply excuse the United Nations’ concerns of its military intelligence using “advanced interrogation techniques” on Iraqi civilians. Without any action against these Rwandan human rights violations, the cycle of politically tied vengeful violence will continue.