Newsletter - December 2014




Human Rights Day



December 10 marks the International Human Rights Day, commemorating the adoption and proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on 10 December 1948.


It celebrates the proposition that every human being, everywhere and at all times is entitled to fundamental rights: human rights. It also recalls these rights belong equally to everyone, everywhere.


TRIAL has been fighting along with victims of major human rights violations since 2002.


Since its foundation, the NGO has defended more than 360 victims in 11 countries. TRIAL has filed more than 120 domestic proceedings, won 50 international cases and filed over 145 international human rights cases.


Philip Grant, TRIAL’s Director firmly believes that Human Rights are more than ever crucial to protect people.



  • Check also the UN OHCHR campaign about #Rights365


















BiH must address its war legacy


Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) underwent in November the 2nd cycle of the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR). In this context, TRIAL and 19 local associations working with wartime victims submitted a report to the UN, urging BiH to address conflict-era violations.


In its report, the UPR Working Group took up many of the NGOs’ concerns and called on BiH to:

  • comply with international standards in relation to crimes of sexual violence during armed conflicts
  • hasten the adoption of laws and programs designed to bring justice and reparation to all victims of war crimes
  • adopt a law on reparation and compensation for conflict-era victims of torture and a State law on free legal aid
  • continue efforts to fight impunity for serious human rights violations committed during the armed conflict.

BiH authorities have until March 2015 to come up with solutions on these UN recommendations and to respond to human rights violations committed during the war.


TRIAL and its partners will continue monitoring this process and advocating for justice in the country.


Read the report of the UPR Working Group





Victims of torture and enforced disappearance obtain justice


Following complaints lodged by TRIAL, the UN Human Rights Committee published in November three decisions, delivering justice to victims of severe human rights violations in Nepal.


Tej Bahadur Bhandari, Gyanendra Tripathi and Jit Man Basnet were forcibly disappeared by security forces between 2001 and 2004, amidst the civil war in Nepal. While the fate of the first two victims remains unknown, Jit Man Basnet was eventually freed but continues to suffer from the consequences of torture and has not received any redress from the State yet.


In its landmark decisions, the UN held Nepalese authorities responsible for violating the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and for systematically turning down the plights of the victims’ relatives. Nepal is now under the obligation to investigate into the crimes committed, prosecute those responsible and provide reparation to the victims.


TRIAL welcomes this very encouraging step towards justice and urges Nepali authorities to comply with their international obligations with no delay.


Read TRIAL’s news release


Have a look at Ram Bandhari’s video


Read the 3 decisions:








TRIAL’s double fight against impunity


The UN Human Rights Committee delivered five decisions following complaints issued by TRIAL, strongly condemning Algeria for the enforced disappearances of Sahraoui Ayache, Hacen Louddi, Yahia Kroumi, Rachid Sassene as well as Adel, Tarek and Mohamed Kerouane committed during the “dirty war”.


The Committee held Algerian authorities liable and urged them to investigate into those crimes, prosecute and judge the culprits and provide reparation to the victims and their relatives.


These step forwards are the occasion to recall TRIAL’s double fight against impunity in Algeria. Since several years, the NGO denounces serious violations committed during the Algerian civil war before UN human rights bodies. Like in the case of General and former Defense Minister Khaled Nezzar, TRIAL also tracks down individuals suspected of war crimes.


In 2011, TRIAL drew the attention of Swiss authorities on the presence in Switzerland of Khaled Nezzar, suspected of massive human rights violations. He is the first Algerian military to be arrested for crimes committed during the civil war. The Swiss criminal court has rejected Khaled Nezzar’s appeal and the procedure is still ongoing.


TRIAL welcomes the UN’s recent decisions and calls for the fight against impunity to continue in Algeria.




Burundian authorities on the hot seat



TRIAL welcomed in November a delegation of Burundian lawyers, who came to attend the UN Committee Against Torture’s (CAT) review of Burundi.


Their visit was the occasion to take stock of the preoccupying human rights situation in Burundi. The delegation discussed several issues during the UN session, such as the fight against gender violence, the promotion of justice and the protection of vulnerable populations.


The experts of the Committee took due notice of all those points and urged Burundi to:

  • guarantee the independance of judicial authorities, but sanction them in case of abuse of power
  • carry out investigations on cases of torture or extrajudicial killings
  • Prosecute and sanction the authors of severe human rights violations
  • Guarantee reparation to the victims and their relatives
  • Carry out investigations on the Imbonerakure, their relations with the power in place, their actions and the weapons’ delivery.


In this period of unrest marked by the upcoming presidential elections in Burundi, the UN recommendations send a strong signal to the government in place.


Concerned about the application of the Rule of Law, TRIAL urges the country to comply with its international obligations and to put an end to human rights violations.


Read TRIAL’s newsrelease (FR)


Read the CAT recommendations





Spain must bring justice to victims of civil war and Franco dictatorship


Spain must comply with its international obligations regarding civil war victims of enforced disappearance, say TRIAL and FIBGAR in a new report to the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED).


A year ago, the CED called on Spain to investigate into the many cases of enforced disappearances perpetrated during the 1936-1939 civil war and Franco dictatorship. The UN human rights body urged Spain to prosecute those responsible, amend its legislation on incommunicado detention and provide reparation to the victims. But none of these recommendations have been implemented to this date.


And the government’s late reform on Universal Jurisdiction reveals a worsening of the human rights situation in the country.


By significantly limiting Spanish courts’ jurisdiction over international crimes (including enforced disappearance), this reform brings no room for improvement.


TRIAL and FIBGAR call on Spain to comply with human rights standards and to swiftly implement these recommendations.


Read the full report (SPA)


Read the summary of the Report (EN)



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