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Home arrow newsitems arrow UN Committee Top Official Prof Decaux to EF: Investigate Missing People despite Time+Proof Obstacles

UN Committee Top Official Prof Decaux to EF: Investigate Missing People despite Time+Proof Obstacles

Written by ACM
Tuesday, 27 February 2018
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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- Professor Emmanuel Decaux, of Paris' Pantheon University, an Experienced Member and former President of UNO's Committee on Enforced  Disappearances (CED) at nearby Geneva, speaking to "Eurofora" at the CoE, on the occasion of an International Seminar on such Tragic Issues, co-Organized by UNO, the CoE, and the Foundation René Cassin for Human Rights, Chaired by ECHR's former Long-Time President, Professor Jean-Paul Costa, (Comp. various Costa statements to "Eurofora", f.ex.: at ..., +..., +...., etc), appeared to find that eventual Obstacles to Investigations might be Easier to Tackle, when it comes to Time Deadlines, than when it concerns Destruction of Material Evidence.


Both these Problems appear, particularly, even to one among the Older and World-Famous Cases of Many "Missing" People, with which ECHR and CoE's Committee of Ministers, have been Dealing since Many Years, but withOut, yet, being able to overcome, not even once, the Total Impunity of all those who might be Responsible for More than a Thousand of Enforced Disappearances, because of several practical Obstacles until now :


- Those of Greek Cypriot "Missing" Persons (initially more than 1.689) mainly after the Turkish Military Invasion/Occupation since 1974, for which Ankara's  Government has been repeatedly Condemned by the ECHR, but without yet finding Anyone among those Responsible for their Enforced Disappearance, Despite many Years of Efforts to Implement ECHR's Judgements.

 

coeuno_conference_on_missing_people_eurofora_400


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President Costa reminded, from the outset, that he had "Presided in the (ECHR's) Grand Chamber case of Varnava v. Turkey", (which, precisely, concerns a great part of those Cyprus' cases).


+ And he Stressed, as a matter of General Principle, that "the Phenomenon of Enforced Disappearances represents one of the Worst Violations of Human Rights, and Spreads in Many parts of the World", while "it may qualify as a "Crime Against Humanity". Nevertheless, "the Number of Disappearances is Currently more Increasing (f.ex. in Mexico, etc), than not", as he observed.


----------------------------------


 - "Eurofora" asked, at First, Professor Decaux, to confirm Whether and How, the UNO's Committed on Enforced Disappearances, (which has Entered into Force only during Recent Years, might, nevertheless, eventually Extend also to some among some among the Older, and Internationaly Famous cases of "Missing" People in Europe, which have already been Judged by ECHR, a Long Time ago, as those, f.ex., of Cyprus, and/or Others, which concern Facts dating at least since the 1970ies.

Just before that, Japan's Consul General and Permanent Observer at the CoE, Takamasa Sato, had told "Eurofora" that his Country was particularly interested also with certain "Missing" Persons' issues, affecting Japanese People, already since the Late 1970ies, allegedly, f.ex. in Northern Corea, etc. And there were also the Notorious Issues concerning certaon Latin American Countries as Argentina, etc., (See Infra).

 - "It's quite Complicated for us (UNO's CED), since there some provisions in the UN Convention according to which the Cases of the Past (i.e. Before its recent Entry into Force, on 2012) are Not Examined, per se", he replied, at first.


 - "Nevertheless, we consider that the Way that a State treats the Past, is an Issue of Today !", he positively stressed.


=> So, when we Examine their National Reports, during the Discussions, we can Raise also such Questions, concerning how they deal with the Past of such Issues, Nowadays, he explained, as far as the followed Practice is concerned.


 - "For the First Time, we had to deal with that on the occasion of Latin America Countries, who are Willing to do so. Because, f.ex., for Argentina this (UNO's Connvention Mechanism) would have No sense if everything Started only After 2012 !", he pointed out.


 - "We (UNO's CED) tried to do alike also with Spain, concerning the Civil War (of 1936), but it was Difficult. And this raises also Questions about How Long in the Past could be we go : F. ex., even Before a Country became UNO's Member ? and/or even Before UNO's Creation ?", etc.


-----------------------------------


 + But, when it came to an even more Specific and Hard Problem, concerning a particular way of Material Evidence Destruction, things appeared even more Difficult :


 - "Eurofora" asked Prof. Decaux whether, according to his Long and World-wide Experience, he had found SImilar Problems Elsewhere, with a particularly Nasty Obstacle recently Denounced in Cyprus, which reportedly Hinders a lot the on-going Investigations on the Fate of the "Missing" People :


It concerns the Fact that, Astonishingly, in too Many Cases, (particularly at the Territories of Cyprus Occupied by Turkey's Army since the 1974 Military Invasion), the Remains of a Lot of "Missing" People are Not Intact, Nor Complete, but Often consisting in Bones Broken in Many Small Pieces, or Tiny Fractions of Pieces, which, in Addition, are, in several cases, ... Dispersed throughout various Different Locations ! It's the Infamous Problem of several "Re-Burrials", i.e. of all or Parts of Mass Graves which have, Curiously, been, Afterwards, Transferred Elsewhere, in an apparently Systematic way, with the Result to make even Identifications of the Victims very Difficult, Tricky, if not Impossible, and, a fortiori, Hinder to Find the Truth on what really Happened to them...


=> To the point that, on 2017, even the President of Cyprus, Nikos Anastassiades, was obliged to exceptionally Denounce openly such Strange Practices as "Criminal" !


>>> It was Surprizing for "Eurofora" to Find Today that even Professor Decaux, one among the Rare UN Experts to have a much Longer and Wider Experience than most others, on Issues concerning "Missing" People (Comp. Supra), initially Reacted with Spontaneous Astonishment, as if he had Never Seen such a Problem Before, Anywhere Else in the World...


He knew about cases where Criminals had tried to abuse of various "Acids", and/or to "Throw" the Bones of their Victims "to the Sea", in Lakes or Rivers, etc.  I.e. Methods of Proof Destruction which might be used in Isolated Cases of only 1 or a Few Victims, but, obviously, Not so much when it comes to Big "Mass Graves", as in the case of Cyprus, particularly since 1974.


On the Contrary, at least his first Reaction, when he heard about those Specific Problems, curiously met Several Times, by Investigations on Cyprus' "Missing" People, Professor Decaux acknowledged his Surprize, and was (exceptioally) Unable to mention clearly Other Similar Problems Elsewhere in the World !


- "Except, perhaps, in some cases in the Balkans ?", he Wondered, but withOut being able to even cite one, Neither to clearly and unequivocally confirm that now....

 => Proof that it's, indeed, a Rare Phenomenon ?

----------------------------

 

The New President of UNO's CED, Miss Suela Janina, an Experienced Diplomat (who has served also in Brussels on EU issues) from Albania, even if she was initially Scheduled to be the 1st Keynote Speaker, immediatly after the Introductions, nevertheless, curiously went ...Missing, (fortunately only for a Few Hours !), apparently having been Hindered by some Transport and/or other practical Problems, and, therefore, wasn't able to arrive at the CoE in Strasbourg but only very Later.


Thus, Because also of a Press "Black-Out" on the 2nd and 3rd Parts of that Exceptional International Conference, dealing with a particularly "Hot" and Delicate matter of some among the Worst Violations of Human Rights, (and Including, inter alia, also a Confidential Briefing on CoE's Committee of Ministers' on-going work for the Supervision of ECHR Judgements' Execution by the condemned Member States, which Traditionally takes place Behind Closed Doors), "Eurofora" and other Journalists were UnExpectedly Hindered to Interview her, (except from a Short, but Kindly Smiling, Salute when she Arrived, Running to Catch-up with the Time Lost by unknown reasons)...

 

------------------------------

 

Cyprus' "Missing" People issues are Scheduled to be Examined by CoE's Committee of Ministers on June 2018, during the Supervision of ECHR Judgements' Implementation by States which have been Condemned for Violations, as, in this case, Turkey.

 

(../..)
 

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(NDLR: + Fast Translation from the Original in French)


***



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ECHR's President to "EuroFora" on Journalists Gongadze and Adali murders : Principles must apply to all States, without discrimination.


+ ECHR's Statistics on Freedom of Expression (See below).


 European Court of Human Rights' President, Jean-Paul Costa, questioned by "EuroFora" on Journalists' murders, as in Gongadze and Adali's cases etc., strongly stressed all CoE Member States' obligation to make efficient Investigations to find and punish those responsible, and underlined that ECHR's case-law's principles must apply to all without any discrimination.

His call was clearly supported by various Top MEPs who denounced a risk of "Double Standards" if some Journalists' murders are investigated, while others don't.

To avoid such risks, CoE's Parliamentary Assembly adopted a Resolution, on the occasion of Ukranian Journalist Gongadze's murder, "stressing", as a matter of general Principle, "the importance it attaches to the safety of Journalists and political activists, especially those linked to opposition groups, in ALL member states of the CoE". All "crimes against journalists and political activists must be investigated ... as a matter of priority, without political interference".

Costa was replying to "EuroFora"s question on the fact that, after CoE's Committee of Ministers, also CoE's Assembly had just adopted a Resolution on Gongadze murder case, based on an ECHR's judgement of 2005, asking a full Investigation from Ukraine, who has found and condemned  in 10 years of jail 2 executants, but not yet the instigators.

While nothing similar was yet done for dissident Turkish Cypriot Kutlu Adali's murder, with 5 bullets shot at his head out of his Family's home in the territories of Cyprus occupied by Ankara's army, despite another ECHR's judgement of the same year 2005, and despite Turkey's claim that nobody was found among those responsible for the murder, and that there was nothing more to do..

In order to be credible and efficient, CoE's mechanisms shouldn't find a way to at least ask for full investigations of all Journalists' murders anywhere they might be committed, without exceptions ?

adali_gongadze


- "On the larger question that you raised, I'd like to say, since we are in a period of stock-taking on ECHR's 50 Years, that the Court's case-law developed certain concepts ....such as the Positive obligations of States, part of which are also the procedural obligations", started to reply ECHR's President.

 - "Whenever Journalists, Lawyers, Defenders of Human Rights, or even simple Citizens are murdered, the States are held responsible, not only if its their own security forces' agents who committed these murders, but also if they didn't make sufficiently substantial and efficient Investigations", he stressed.

- "I want to strongly underline that we (ECHR) have found in many cases numerous violations of Articles 2 and 3 against States, ....(about) murders or torture, ...because they didn't make enough Investigations in order to try to find and punish those responsible".

- "We (ECHR) do that vis-a-vis all 47 (CoE) Member States, without any discrimination".

"Naturally, the circumstances in each particular case may be differend, and we can't ommit to apply the rules of proof, or the rules of criminal procedure".

"But we try, by all means, to apply these principles of our case-law, to all States", he concluded.

imag0335_400


      Costa's call was strongly supported by several Top CoE MEPs, from various Political areas


- "To investigate the murder of one Journalist, and not of another, looks like Double Standards", denounced the President of EuroLeft Group in CoE's Assembly, Dutch MEP Tiny Cox.  

- "What is the reason ? Politics or specificity of a case ? Of course, if Cyprus and Turkey are involved, it's always a Political case"..

- "Murders of Journalists should always be fully investigated, because killing Journalists is not only killing persons, but also killing Free Press".  "We (CoE's Assembly) should do our outmost to help People who are working on Free Press and they are under threat or murdered".

Because for Free Politics, Free Press is a pre-requisitive : Parliamentarians  cannot  function without a Free Press. Not investigating, is not protecting ourselves".

So we should investigate all Journalists' murders : We are talking about Gongadze, about the Cypriot man (Adali), about the Journalist murdered in Moscow one week ago, etc", Cox concluded

- "CoE can' look at these cases differently. CoE can't wear Blinckers  !".
- "If the one is investigated, so has to be also the other. Why there wasn't full investigation ? Why's that ?", wondered British  Socialist MEP, Alan Meale.

- "A good idea" would be to "make a Motion for Resolution", and "join all Journalists' murders. Adali and Gongadze etc", said to "EuroFora" EU Parliament Political affairs Committee's President, Goran Lindbland, ChristianDemocrat MEP from Sweden.


(See also earlier News at "EuroFora" on similar issues).
-------------------------------

ECHR's Statistics on Freedom of Expression :


    Almost Half of condemnations by ECHR for violations of Freedom of Expression in 2008, concern Turkey : 20 out of a total of 48 for all CoE's Member States.

    Russia, Poland, France and Moldova were condemned only 3 times. Romania, Greece, Portugal, 2 times, and the other CoE Member States only 1 time, or none.
--------------------
    During the last Decade : 1998 - 2008, Turkey was condemned for violating Freedom of Expression in ..169 cases, while Austria only in 24.

    France and Moldova in 14 and 13, respectively, closely followed by Russia and Poland with 11 and 10, respectively. The rest of CoE Member States had less than ten condemnations.    
    

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