Newsletter - September 2015


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Enforced disappearances: Impunity must end


Two families were finally able to get a sense of justice, 23 years after their beloved ones disappeared. The United Nations Human Rights Committee (HRC) has indeed rendered two new decisions regarding cases of enforced disappearances filed by TRIAL.


Fadil Ičić and Husein Hamulić were last seen in June and July 1992 in the hands of State agents, in life-threatening circumstances. Ever since, no one has ever heard of their fate and whereabouts, their disappearance being shrouded by impunity. In 2010, TRIAL filed complaints before the UN on behalf of the two men’s mothers and the sister of Mr. Hamulić.


The indifference shown by BiH authorities as well as their failure to shed light on those crimes has lead the HRC to consider that the relatives of the two men should also be regarded as victims of inhumane treatment.


The Committee also found BiH responsible for the violation of several provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and urged BiH to compensate both families, offer them medical care, conduct an investigation into those crimes and bring the perpetrators to court.


Bosnia and Herzegovina now has to inform the United Nations of the steps taken to give justice to the Ičić and Hamulić families – the country has no more than 180 days to take action.


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Nepal: UN decisions on enforced disappearance in limbo


Chakra Bahadur Katwal, Tej Bahadur Bhandari and Gyanendra Tripathi are three names out of more than 1,300 disappeared during the Nepalese armed conflict (1996-2006).


What differentiates them from the many others? Their cases were heard by the UN Human Rights Committee (HRC), which established the responsibility of Nepalese authorities for these disappearances, and urged that adequate reparation be given to their relatives.


These decisions sent a message of hope to the families of all victims of enforced disappearances in the country. But how do they translate into practice? The obligation of transforming these decisions into tangible measures relies on the Nepalese government. No such measures have been taken to date, placing the victims again away from justice.


If Nepal wants to be perceived as a country governed by the rule of law, it must swiftly implement these decisions. A democratic State cannot remain mute over sorrows of its citizens marred by impunity”, says Philip Grant, Director of TRIAL.


Following the August 30 International Day of the Disappeared, TRIAL remembers all the disappeared during the Nepalese armed conflict and urges the Nepalese government to take every necessary measure to implement the HRC decisions with no further delay.

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Federalism debate sparks violence



The new constitution draft has brought turmoil in Kailali district as thousands of members of the Tharu community have taken to the streets. The ethnic group reclaims its own province and contests its misrepresentation in the new federal maps. 


But the turn of events resulted in bloodshed that claimed several innocent lives. Among them, seven police officials who died on August 24, in scuffle with the disgruntled Tharu population.


The Kailali incident has raised serious concerns about the federal movement in Nepal. It is indeed a clarion call for the government to immediately hold meaningful negotiations with the dissatisfied groups in a bid to find a political and sustainable solution to the problems surrounding federalism.


TRIAL takes this opportunity to express deep condolences to the departed souls and urges the government as well as protesting groups to adopt peace and look for solutions through dialogue.


Read more about Nepal's new Constitution











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Prioritise the fight against sexual violence!


Eastern DRC remains a centre of considerable violence against civilians, including sexual violence against women, which are commonplace here.


Last August, TRIAL and 11 Congolese NGOs submitted a new report to the UN giving details of the progress made and failures recorded in the fight against sexual violence in DRC. They are particularly critical of the enormous obstacles facing victims trying to access justice, justice that fails to punish those responsible in any case.


In the light of this situation, the NGOs believe that the national authorities should work harder to eradicate the scourge and end impunity. TRIAL and its partners advocate the adoption of a series of concrete measures to improve victims' access to justice.


Click here to read the full report

Click here to read the executive summary of the report

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Kibibi case in appeals court, 94 victims await justice in Kinshasa


The Kibibi case started in the appeals court of the military tribunal in Kinshasa on 19 August 2015. The court must rule on grievous crimes, including the rape of several women committed by the Congolese army at Fizi, a province in South Kivu.


In February 2011, nine service members including the main defendant, Lieutenant-Colonel Kibibi Mutware, were sentenced for crimes against humanity by a lower court to prison terms of 10 to 20 years. Where the victims are concerned, 94 were due to receive compensation from the Congolese government.


However the defendants sought to appeal the decision, thereby blocking all reparations. None of the victims has received even the slightest monetary compensation yet; some feel abandoned and have lost all faith in the fulfilment of justice.


In unison with the lawyers who are defending the victims, TRIAL has strongly urged for the reopening of the case. Thanks to TRIAL’s support towards its partners, the latter can testify effectively and be guaranteed a fair trial. For these lawyers, the appeal represents another chance to be heard.




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Enhancing the skills of the human rights defenders


Since 2011, TRIAL has provided training for human rights defenders and lawyers in Nepal, the DRC and Burundi. The courses aim to reinforce the rule of law and the effectiveness of civil society in their fight against impunity. Discover the testimonies of these courageous human rights defenders on our new Storify platform.


BiH: broken promises


Bosnia and Herzegovina made a commitment in 2013 to initiate measures to combat impunity. However, almost two years later, hardly any of the recommendations from the UN were implemented. TRIAL and a coalition of local organizations also submitted two new reports to the United Nations (a follow-up report to CEDAW and an alternative report to the Human Rights Committee). The NGOs urge BiH to do more to ensure the compensation of victims and to prosecute the perpetrators of war crimes.


Universal jurisdiction: a new publication out soon


What is universal jurisdiction? How is it applied in Switzerland and how is it of any use to human rights defenders and the judiciary as a whole? TRIAL will soon publish, with Amnesty International’s support, a new manual that addresses this legal issue.


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