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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

Parašė ACM
Tuesday, February 27, 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.

 

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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.


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 - "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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They voted to "freeze" UK Government's draft to put People in jail for 42 Days on "anti-terrorist" suspicion without charge, or they abstained. Don't they look suspect ?
-------------------------

CoE's debate on UK controversy stirs PanEuropean check of anti-terror suspects' imprisonment

Former Leftists of the Sixties would boil in hot water if they heard PACE's debate on the controversial 42 days detention without charge, currently drafted by the British Government :

A "Socialist" Government, a Socialist PACE Rapporteur and a Socialist Chair of PACE's Legal Committee, opposed a .. "Conservative" amendment (supported by .. Liberals, Democrats, etc), to freeze the measure, in order to protect Citizens' Freedom, by "waiting" until CoE's Venice Committee checks its conformity with Human Rights' principles.

"Left"'s support to Conservative-Lib.Dem's criticism, wasn't enough to obtain a majority, nor to make things as they were back in the good old days, when "Left" and "Right" had a clear meaning, as "liberty" and "restrictions"...

Conservatives and most Democrats were joined by the Left in voting for the "freeze", as well as Liberal Paul Rowen, while Socialist MEP Ivan Popescu, an experienced MEP from Ukraine (PACE Member since 1996-2008) abstained. But most Socialists, added to a few Liberals and EPP's Right, voted against.

Fortunately, someone inside PACE had the wise idea to shorten the Debate for less than 1 Hour, and put it on the Agenda only at the end of an exceptionally busy day, towards the end of the Evening, when most MEPs had already gone to taste wins and foods at various Receptions all around Strasbourg's "European" area : As a result, not even 42 MEPs weren't present..

Socialist Lord Tomlinson accused the leaders of the PanEuropean Assembly, in its highest body : the "Bureau", to "lack wisdom" by deciding to hold a Debate on an issue that neither the Socialist Chair of the Legal Committee, nor its Socialist "reluctant Rapporteur", did "not want to do", ...

tomllinson

Finally, everybody (critics and supporters alike) was happy to agree, in substance, that the controversial measure "may" gravely violate Human Rights, and therefore, PACE asked Legal Experts of Venice Commission to check UK Government''s plans.

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Bad lack : "The existing 28 days’ detention without charge in the UK is, in comparison with other CoE member countries, one of the most extreme : In Turkey, the period is 7,5 days, in France 6 days, in Russia 5 days, and in .. the U.S. and Canada just 2 and 1 days respectively", denounced Democrat MEP Ms WOLDSETH from Norway..

woldsteth

"Numerous respected human rights organisations, including Liberty and Human Rights Watch, have expressed serious concern" "The proposed legislation ...could easily lead to extensive abuses. ...Detention for 42 days means six weeks in which one is taken away from one’s family, friends, home and livelihood only to be let off without being charged. That will destroy lives and isolate communities", she added.

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- "What sort of society holds someone in detention for 42 days and does not have to tell the person who is in prison why they are there, or explain the suspicions that arose and led to their detention? What sort of society believes that that is the way to treat its citizens? That is an appalling injustice, ...A 42-day detention period will not make the UK safer. Instead, it will be the first step to giving in to terrorists; it is saying that we are prepared to sacrifice our democratic rights and the principles for which we have stood for centuries", criticized British Liberal Michael Hanckock

hancock

"Comments made ...by Norwegian delegates are unfortunate", replied British Socialist MEP Ms.Curtis-Thomas, accusing them to "besmirch the reputation of our police force, which is one of the Best in the World", as she said, believing that "there are significant safeguards ...to ensure that individuals are not subjected to unlawful detention"

curtis

PACE "has serious doubts whether ...the draft legislation are in conformity with the ...case-law of the European Court of Human Rights. A lack of ..safeguards may lead to arbitrariness, resulting in breaches of ... liberty and ...right to a fair trial". PACE "is particularly concerned that: ..the judge ..may not be in a position to examine whether there exist reasonable grounds for suspecting that the arrested person has committed an offence;"; that "... representation by a lawyer may be inappropriately restricted or delayed;" that "information on the grounds for suspicion of a person ...may be unduly withheld.. ;" that this "may give rise to arrests without the intention to charge;", and; in general, that "prolonged detention without proper information on the grounds for arrest may constitute inhuman treatment", says Klaus De Vries' Report, adopted with 29 votes against zero.

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