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Europe court refuses to reopen case into Yasser Arafat’s death

MEMO | July 2, 2021

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has rejected a case brought by the widow and daughter of late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat requesting it reopen an investigation into his 2004 death.

After unsuccessful lawsuits in French courts, Suha and Zahwa Arafat filed a criminal complaint to the ECHR in 2017 claiming the former Palestinian Authority (PA), PLO and Fatah president had been the victim of premeditated murder.

However, in a ruling issued yesterday, the ECHR said there had been no infringement of the right to a fair hearing and the complaint was “manifestly ill-founded”.

The court unanimously declared the complaint inadmissible, according to the Guardian.

Three judges said that after reviewing the case, “at all stages of the proceedings, the applicants, assisted by their lawyers, had been able to exercise their rights effectively”.

“Judges did not appear to have reached arbitrary conclusions based on the facts before them and their interpretation of the evidence in the file or the applicable law had not been unreasonable,” they added.

In 2015, French judges closed an investigation into claims Arafat was murdered, without bringing any charges. The French court of appeal upheld the dismissal of the case, leading the former leader’s family to take their case to the ECHR.

The couple married secretly in Tunisia in 1990, when Suha was 27 and Arafat 61. Their daughter Zahwa was born five years later.

On 11 November 2004, Arafat died in France, under highly suspicious circumstances, at the age of 75. Until now, doctors have been unable to determine the exact cause of his death.

The Palestinian Authority has repeatedly insisted that Israel is behind his death, claims Tel Aviv denies.

July 2, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Russian Foreign Ministry Says Only The Hague to Blame For Collapse of Consultations Over MH17

Sputnik – 15.10.2020

MOSCOW – The Hague is the only one to blame for derailing consultations of Russia, Australia and the Netherlands on the MH17 plane crash over eastern Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

“Therefore, the Hague carries full responsibility for the collapse of the trilateral consultations,” the ministry said.

The ministry further noted that it finds it impossible to further participate in trilateral consultations with Australia and the Netherlands on the deadly MH17 crash after the Dutch lawsuit filed against Russia with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

“The Hague has chosen another option, without even waiting for interim results of the consultations — while only three rounds were held. It filed an interstate complaint against Russia with the ECHR. Such unfriendly steps by the Netherlands make the continuation of the trilateral consultations meaningless, as well as our participation,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

“As we remain committed to the provisions of the United Nations Security Council’s Resolution 2166, we intend to continue cooperation with competent authorities in the Netherlands, including for discussing Ukraine’s failure to close its airspace for civilian aircraft flights over the Donbas armed conflict area. However, we will be doing it in other formats,” the ministry went on to say.

Moscow once again slammed the MH17 probe by the Netherlands and the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team as “biased, superficial and politicized.”

Commenting on Moscow’s statement, Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said that the Netherlands regrets Russia’s decision to withdraw from trilateral consultations on MH17 with Australia.

“Russia has informed us of its unilateral decision to stop consultations on MH17. The Netherlands deeply regrets this decision by Russia,” Blok said.

In July, the Netherlands filed a lawsuit against Russia with the ECHR over the country’s alleged role in the deadly incident, which left almost 300 people killed back in 2014.

In its fresh statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry qualified the step “as another blow on the Russian-Dutch relations, and The Hague’s demonstration of its firm intention to continue the vicious policy of unilaterally putting on Russia the blame for what happened in the skies over Donbas, in defiance of common sense.”

The aircraft was downed over eastern Ukraine on 17 July 2014 as the self-proclaimed republics in the region were engulfed in an armed conflict with the new government following a violent coup in Kiev earlier that year. All 298 passengers – mostly Dutch citizens – and crew on board died in the crash.

The accident is being investigated by Dutch prosecutors and JIT (Joint Investigation Team), who claim that the plane was hit by a Buk missile that belonged to the Russian Armed Forces.

Moscow has repeatedly denied any involvement in the incident and has called the JIT investigation biased, because Russia’s evidence showing the plane had been shot down by a Ukrainian Buk missile, proven with radar data, has been ignored by investigators. At the same time, Ukraine has failed to provide any primary radar data, saying that “the radar was not operating at that moment”.

Moreover, leaked documents from the Dutch Military Intelligence and Security Service (MIVD) showed that Ukrainian missile systems were installed closer to the scene of the incident than any Russian ones, with the plane being out of their range.

In 2018, JIT released a report claiming the missile that shot down MH17 was launched by DPR forces and that the Buk launcher had been delivered from Russia. Moscow stated that the probe was politically motivated, and noting the team had based its claims on unverified social media photos and videos, as well as assertions by the Ukrainian government.

October 15, 2020 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | , , , | Leave a comment

Credibility of European Court of Human Rights lies in ruins after judges’ links to Soros revealed

By John Laughland | RT | February 25, 2020

A study by the European Center for Law and Justice in Strasbourg has revealed several conflicts of interest between judges at the European Court of Human Rights and NGOs funded by George Soros.

The European Center for Law and Justice is an NGO which often appears at the court to campaign on social, family and religion-related issues. I am proud to be listed as a research fellow at the ECHR but in reality I have written only one article for the center’s website and I receive no salary from it. I had no role in writing the report.

The study has found that, out of the 100 judges who have served on the bench of the European Court of Human Rights in the period 2009-2019, nearly a quarter (22) have strong links to George Soros’ Open Society Foundation or to NGOs like Amnesty International and others which are funded by it. Human Rights Watch, for instance, has received $100 million from the Open Society Foundation since 2010.

Some of the NGOs receive so much of their budget from Soros that they are in effect wholly owned subsidiaries of his foundation.

The links between the judges and the NGOs are substantial. They include working for years as members of the board of directors or executive council of these NGOs; having teaching posts at institutes funded by them; being a salaried director of programs for the Open Society Foundation or associated NGOs; and undertaking other forms of paid work for them. The full list of these links can be found on pages seven and eight of the report.

A good example is that of the Bulgarian Yonko Grozev who, as leader of the Open Society Justice Initiative, defended the Pussy Riot case against Russia in 2018 before being elected as a judge of the court shortly thereafter.

The study does not include less formal forms of collaboration with NGOs, such as occasional work for them (see note 15 of the report). This means that the links are even greater than those specifically addressed in the study.

The report also covers other human rights officers, such as the commissioner for human rights at the Council of Europe from 2012-2018 (Nils Muiznieks), who does not sit as a judge but who was for years a salaried activist of the Open Society Foundation in Latvia and who has used his official position to campaign against the so-called “anti-Soros” legislation in Hungary.

These NGOs are extremely active at the ECHR. The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights in Poland filed 16 applications, and defended 32 cases, in 2017 alone. Very often the role played by the NGOs does not appear in the court’s records but has to be discovered from the NGOs’ own reports instead. For instance, a case can be defended by lawyers from one NGO with pleas heard from other NGOs as third parties, even though the other organizations are in fact financed by the same source as the applicant, usually Soros.

There would not be anything wrong with judges having exercised a salaried activity for an NGO prior to becoming a judge if these same organizations were not themselves active as parties who bring cases to the ECHR, either as applicants themselves, as lawyers for applicants, or as third parties giving supposedly expert evidence (but in reality lobbying for a cause), and if those judges did not then hear those cases.

Indeed, the report’s worst finding is that in 88 cases judges sat on the bench ruling on cases brought to the court by NGOs they had previously worked for, without declaring a conflict of interest and without withdrawing from hearing the cases (see page 15 of the report and annexes 1 and 2.) In one case, ruled on in 2018, 10 out of the 14 NGOs that had brought the case were funded by the Open Society Foundation, while six out of the 17 judges who heard the case themselves had links to the same Soros-funded group.

The judges’ refusal to withdraw is a disgraceful professional failing which shows that Europe’s supreme human rights body is not, in fact, independent but is instead part of veritable “human rights industry” – a pyramid of money and a tight network of professional relationships, at the top of which sits George Soros with his billions. NGOs are supposed to represent “civil society” independent of states; in reality, a very large number of them are the creation of actors with no democratic legitimacy, like the Open Society Foundation.

The fact that this corrupt system has been able to flourish has several causes. The first is that Soros and the NGOs he finances dominate the human rights industry across the Balkans and in the Baltic states. His millions flood these small, poor countries (he has spent $131 million in Albania since 1992, for instance) and they in turn appoint judges to the ECHR which rules on human rights issues for the 47 member states of the Council of Europe. Indeed, the report finds that the total spending of the Open Society Foundation in Europe, $90 million a year, actually exceeds the annual budget of the European Court of Human Rights ($70 million).

Second, new procedures introduced in 2012 specifically provide for NGOs to take part in the selection procedure for judges at the ECHR. These NGOs can propose candidates and they can lobby for their selection. They have done this on many occasions, as the report shows. In the case of Albania in 2018, for instance, two out of the three candidates were executives of the Open Society Foundation; one of them was elected.

Finally, there is no requirement that people appointed to be judges at the ECHR have any judicial experience at all. Some 51 out of the 100 judges who have sat on the ECHR bench since 2009 had never been judges or magistrates before. Instead, they were very often human rights activists working for Soros or one of his front organisations.

This is a structural weakness which also affects international war crimes tribunals. As I showed in my book, ‘Travesty,’ and it means that people can wield judicial power who are not, in fact, trained judges or magistrates or even necessarily lawyers, but instead political activists. In some very egregious cases, people have become judges on the benches of these tribunals without even having a law degree.

The result is that the judges who sit on these bodies do not, in fact, behave as judges should. The role of the judge is to say what the law is, not to say what he or she thinks the law should be. Unfortunately, this is exactly what judges at the ECHR, and at the new international tribunals, do. In 1978, the ECHR proclaimed that the Convention was “a living instrument which must be interpreted in the light of present-day conditions” and that therefore its judges had the right to read new things into the Convention instead of agreeing to be bound by it. Such judicial activism is a travesty of the rule of law.

It is a travesty because the areas in which ECHR judges exercise their judicial activism are precisely the most politically sensitive issues, which should properly be decided by politicians in elected parliaments, or by referenda, and not by an elite caste of unaccountable activists. Those areas include freedom of expression, asylum, LGBT rights, conditions of detention, minority rights, and so on. Using their freedom to make up the law, ECHR judges have over decades applied a new vision of man which is the opposite of the original intention of the Convention, which was to protect human beings and their families from abusive state power. Now the ECHR spends most of its time demanding more state power for this or that fashionable (“woke”) cause.

George Soros has long been attacked for the excessive political power his gigantic fortune has bought, especially in post-communist Eastern Europe. This report by the European Center for Law and Justice is, however, one of the first occasions in which the corrupting effect of that power has been scrupulously identified and documented with respect to the supreme body charged with protecting human rights in Europe. To date, the ECHR has not denied any of the facts outlined in the report and, to the extent that these facts cannot be denied because they come from the ECHR itself, its credibility as an independent judicial body now lies in ruins.

John Laughland has a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Oxford and has taught at universities in Paris and Rome. He is a historian and specialist in international affairs.

February 25, 2020 Posted by | Deception | , | 1 Comment

Ireland takes UK to human rights court over Hooded Men case

RT | December 4, 2014

The Irish government has asked the ECHR to reexamine the 1978 verdict of the Hooded Men Case. The Northern Irishmen involved seek justice after a new set of previously classified documents point to torture by the UK government in the high-profile case.

The case in question involves torture allegations brought by 14 suspects who said they were subjected to suffering during their detention without trial in 1971 at the Ballykelly British Army Base in County Londonderry.

Liam Shannon, one of the protagonists in the Hooded Men Case, told RT’s ‘In the Now’ that his nightmare began on August 9, 1971, when “hundreds of Catholic men” were arrested by the British Army and taken to detention centers all over Belfast, Northern Ireland, at the height of the troubles there.

From hundreds, Shannon says, 14 people were selected for “in-depth interrogation.”

“That took the form of the use of five techniques. ‘Wall standing’ in the stress position, ‘hooding’, white noise, sleep deprivation, food deprivation and continued beatings,” Shannon told RT host Anissa Naouai.

After the men were released, they brought a legal challenge to the European Court, which in 1978 ruled that the evidence against UK authorities did not constitute torture, but instead was ‘inhuman and degrading treatment’. This judgment is now being challenged.

“We never expected that a government would torture its own citizens and that’s exactly what happened,” Shannon says, as he recalled his pain from his detention. “We were hooded from the word go. We were put into helicopters and told that we were hundreds of feet in the air, and thrown out just to find that we were 3 or 4 feet off the ground.”

Calling it a “very frightening experience,” he said ‘hooding’ continued for seven days straight as the “hoods were never taken off except during interrogation,” when he was repeatedly beaten.

“We were kept hooded, we were beaten. If we couldn’t stand against the wall for any longer… and if you attempted to get off the wall you were severely beaten and put back open again,” Shannon recalls.

All men in the case, Shannon says, suffered psychologically as well as physically from the confinement.

“I actually contracted Crohn’s disease afterwards when I was released from prison, which left me very, very ill for quite some time and left me having to take strong medication for a long time. We also all have sleepless nights, nightmares, cold sweats… everything else that goes along with it.”

A statement by the Irish Foreign Minister Charles Flanagan on Tuesday announced the request by Dublin for the European court to revise its judgment. He said that the government had taken seriously the material in the RTÉ documentary ‘The Torture Files’ in June this year.

“On the basis of the new material uncovered, it will be contended that the ill-treatment suffered by the Hooded Men should be recognized as torture,” Flanagan said. […]

RT’s ‘In the Now’ managed to get a hold of Paul O’Conner from the Pat Finucane Centre (PFC), a human rights advocacy and lobbying entity in Northern Ireland which helped initiate RTE’s documentary.

He told RT that PFC’s research in the British National Archives in London led to “literally thousands of documents” that prove UK government was complicit in torturing the hooded men.

“These documents show that the British government has misled the court. They withheld evidence, they withheld witnesses. They have lied to the court. And with that evidence, we went to Irish State television,” O’Conner said.

Now as victims await the torture recognition verdict, Shannon says all they want is justice.

“It will make a massive difference. It will be some justification for all the years and it will be some benefit psychologically for us. We have to remember that three of our number have since died premature deaths. Their loved ones, their families – it will make a massive difference to them, because they know what happened to their loved ones. Their loved ones were tortured to death,” Shannon told RT.

At the same time O’Conner stressed that torture conclusion by the ECHR will change a number of things. First of all, he says it will prompt a police investigation into the allegations of torture.

“That has not happened and yet we know from the documents which have emerged that senior government ministers were named as having ordered the torture, namely Lord Carrington, then Secretary of State for Defence , in the 1970s,” O’Conner told Naouai.

And most importantly, O’Conner claims the 1978 verdict will cease to be used as a precedent to justify the torture of own citizens.

“This very case has been quoted by the Israeli supreme court in cases involving torture of Palestinians. And in the infamous torture memos that were provided to George Bush in the lead up to Iraq War, the memos which led to the establishing of the Guantanamo Bay, they quote this judgment extensively,” O’Conner says.

December 4, 2014 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, Video | , , , , , | Leave a comment

UK drone strikes violate international law: legal opinion piece

Press TV – June 8, 2013

Britain’s operating of killer drones in Afghanistan may be violating the international law, a legal firm representing peace campaigners has argued in an opinion piece.

The legal opinion by Public Interest Lawyers argues that the use of killer drones in Afghanistan is a breach of the international law under the European Convention for Human Rights (ECHR).

The document says that the ECHR’s article 2 requires the governments to use “no more [force] than absolutely necessary” during conflicts.

“Only when it is absolutely necessary to kill someone rather than arrest/disable them will the use of drones be lawful. And even then, drones may only be used for … self defence under 2(2)(c),” it says.

According to the Public Interest Lawyers, this means that the ECHR obliges Britain to the use of killer drones only in “situations in which there is an immediate threat to life” that “prevents the carrying out of ‘targeted killings’ and narrowly circumscribes their use even on ‘the battlefield'”.

“There is therefore a strong presumption that the UK’s drones programme is in breach of international law,” it adds.

The British Ministry of Defense announced back in April that they are operating killer drones in Afghanistan by remote-pilots from RAF Waddington base in Lincolnshire.

The ministry claims its operations are in accordance with applicable international humanitarian law.

This comes as drone attacks normally come with extreme “collateral damage” to the civilian population even when taking the American and British claims that they are targeting terrorists by terror drones as true.

Hundreds of civilians have been killed the remote-controlled killer drones strikes on various parts of Afghanistan over the past years.

Civilians’ casualties have triggered widespread protests against killer drone attacks in the Asian country with the Afghan government repeatedly calling for an end to the deadly assaults.

June 8, 2013 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , , , , | 1 Comment