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Home arrow newsitems arrow COE Spokesman/Communication Director Holtgen to EuroFora on ICRC Head Maurer visit: Ukraine+MISSING

COE Spokesman/Communication Director Holtgen to EuroFora on ICRC Head Maurer visit: Ukraine+MISSING

Written by ACM
Tuesday, 02 December 2014

*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/- The critical Humanitarian Situation in Eastern Ukraine (where Winter-time has already started to arrive with Snow), and "MISSING" People particularly in "Frozen Conflicts", were among the main issues discussed by the President of the International Committee of Red Cross, Peter Maurer, during his exceptional Visits, Today, to CoE's Secretary General, Thornbjorn Jagland, and to the European Court of Human Rights, (the same Day that the PanEuropean Organisations' Committee of Ministers deals, here in Strasbourg, with a Crucial U-Turn in the  long-standing cases of Massive Violations of Human Rights by Turkey against Cyprus' Refugees/Displaced Persons and "MISSING" People, after a landmark ECHR Grand Chamber new Jugdement which slamed blatant Lacunas and Failures to really Press Ankara to Execute ECHR's case-law which has repeatedly Condemned the Turkish Authorities for Serious Violations of the Right to Life, ill-Treatments, Usurpation of Private Properties and/or Interferences against Family Lives, etc of Thousands of People - Comp. : ...), as it results from what CoE's Communications Director and Spokesman, Daniel Holtgen, as well as other CoE's sources, revealed to "EuroFora" :


    Due from the outset to deal with ICRC - CoE cooperation, the Humanitarian Crisis in Eastern Ukraine, as well as some other areas not included inside CoE's jurisdiction, (such as Syria, Iraq, etc), but also on certain General Questions about "MISSING" persons and relevant Humanitarian issues in "Frozen Conflcts", according to its Agenda, finally, Today Afternoon's meeting between the Heads of the two Organisations took Longer than expected, but appeared more Focused on main issues of common and Topical interest for Strasbourg's and Geneva's bodies' respective activities :

    After "visiting also the ECHR (See Infra) and the rest of the CoE", (Comp. f.ex. Supra : ICRC chairs, indeed, the controversial "Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus", composed by a Greek Cypriot and a Turkish Cypriot Members, whose notoriously Insufficient and often obstructed but useful work was reviewd these Days by CoE's Committee of Ministers), Meyer heard Jagland "commend ICRC's activities accross the World and in Europe, and the rest of the encounter reportedly Focused on the Humanitarian Crisis in Ukraine, (even if Mayer mentioned ICRC''s activities also at Nagorno-Karabach", etc).


    In this regard, "Jagland welcomed ICRC activities in Eastern Ukraine, as well as in Crimea, and the meeting concluded with an Agreement to Intensify the Cooperation between the two Organisaations, including the Dialogue between COE's Secretary General and ICRC's President in the foreseable future".

     Significantly, the move comes at the same time that also OSCE, CoE, and EU are reportedly Coordinating their Activities, particularly on Ukraine, especially since the recent beginning of the Belgian CoE Presidency in Strasbourg : November 2014 - May 2015, and in view of the forthcoming OSCE Annual Summit at Basel, later this week, etc, clearly pointing at an Intensification of the European, PanEuropean and/or International action apparently on Ukraine.  

    - In concreto, ICRC's President announced that the Geneva-based International NGO has managed to have "Access" at the Eastern Ukraine areas", including even those of the Autonomist Regions of Donetsk/Luhansk, where CoE's Secretary General had recently joined his voice to those who called for a "Humanitarian Aid" to be delivered.


    - And "the ICRC is actually able to deliver" it now, "Not in Easy Circonstances, but in circonstances which allow it, nevertheless, to operate",  as CoE's Spokesm, Daniel Holtgen, (who was present at that meeting, as well as during Jagland's recent visit to Moscow), carefully told "EuroFora".


    Meanwhile, a Draft Report of CoE's Parliamentary Assembly on the Humanitarian situation in Ukraine, denounces the fact that, in the Autonomist Regions of Lugansk/Luhansk, "Weeks of fighting" during the Attacks of Kiev's Military, "have left the area Damaged, with Demolished Houses and Infrastructure".

- In particular, there is still "No Electricity and Water; the latter being supplied by Trucks Irregularly. The Population (of some 4 Millions People before the Clashes) is very much Dependent on Humanitarian Aid". Moreover,"Health remains a primary Concern, as there is a Lack of essential Medicines, and many Hospitals and clinics are Closed because of the Damage" provoked during Kiev's Military attacks..

+ Moreover, ". On 5 November 2014, Ukraine’s Prime Minister (Yantsenuk) announced that the government would Freeze payments, mostly for public sector Wages and .... to parts of eastern Ukraine under separatists’ control. This move ... is likely to Worsen the already Dire conditions in which the Population is living",PACE's Draft Resoluition notes, while Luhansk Region's leadership has Denounced an Attempt from Kiev to "commit a Genocide" agains the Russian-speaking Autonomist regiions' Population.


- But, COE Assembly's Rapporteur, Jim Sheridan from the UK, after a 3-Day fact-finding visit to Kyiv and Kharkiv, stressed that the Ukranian "Government should Continue to fulfil its essential Responsibilities towards those still living in the rebel-held territories, who remain Ukrainian Citizens entitled to full enjoyment of their Rights. This will require increased assistance from the international community, all the more important as the first Snows of winter began to fall during my visit”, Sheridan added.

=> A Draft Resolution of CoE Assembly's Social affairs Committee for Social affairs, Migration and Refugees/IDPs, "Calls on the International Community to: ... provide Immediate and long-term Support for essential ReConstruction efforts, projects to Restore Water and Other essential Services", as well as it "invites the CoE's  Development Bank ...to Assist.... the ReConstruction process in the Devastated Areas".  


    During his visit at the ECHR, Maurer, who met particularly with the PanEuropean Court's President Spielmann, apparently discussed also several "Humanitarian Issues", in an additional fact which indicates that EuroJudges trend to take them more and more seriously into account recently.

    ECHR has already decided earlier to take Urgent "Interim Measures" (Rule 39 of Court's Rules) calling upon both Russia and Ukraine to refrain from taking any action, in particular Military, which might bring about Violations of the  Rights of the Civilian population, notably under Articles 2 and 3 of the Convention, about  Human Life and Torture or Inhuman/Degrading Treatments, respectively. At 104 individual applications, interim measures have been applied inviting the respective Government/s – of Russia and/or Ukraine – to ensure respect for the Rights of people deprived of Liberty (Article 5 of the Convention), or people whose whereabouts are Unknown, ("MISSING" Persons). But, meanwhile, it's only in 14 cases that Victims were Released from Detention, so that the respective interim measure was subsequently Lifted.

    Until recently, there are More than 160 Individual Applications pending before the Court of Strasbourg, lodged against the Ukranian or Russian Government, or Both, in addition to 2 InterState Applications lodged by Kiev Authorities against Moscow, as ECHR anounced.
    Most Eastern Ukraine cases were lodged against Both Ukraine AND Russia,and involve complaints about various forms of ill-Treatment and unlawful Deprivation of Liberty. They also include cases of alleged violations of Article 2 (right to Life), involving alleged Wounding, and Disappearances.     

    In addition, a comparatively smaller Group of cases concerns the Destruction of property, (including Family Homes, etc), and the impact of the Hostilities on the applicants Rights under Article 8 (right to respect for private and Family life).

    ECHR anounced at the End of Noivember 2014, that it communicated to the Russian Government 2 Inter-State applications lodged against it by the Ukranian Government of Kiev, asking for its comments, according to the established procedure, which was apparently Accelerated in these cases.

    One of them, the InterState application lodged  by Kiev on June 2014, concerned only an alleged "abduction" of Orphan Children, and Children withOut Parental care, who were included among a notoriously Massive Flow of Refugees seeking Help in Russia after Kiev's Deadly and/or Destructive Military Attacks against the Autonomist Regions of Lugansk/Luhansk, but were, finally, Returned back in Ukraine in only 3 of 5 Days, making the ECHR to Lift any "Interim Measures" it had taken previously.

    The other InterState complaint lodged by Ukranian as early as since March 2014, i.e. long Before Kiev's systematic Military Attacks against Lugansk/luhansk Autonomists, (which notoriously started at Easter's Night, with the Killing of 3 Young Militants at Sloyansk, just after a Geneva Agreement between Russian and USA, as well as Ukrain's Foreign MInistiers urging, on the Contrary ; "Dialogue"), arguing that Moscow would "exercice Control over" Eastern Ukrain's Autonomists, which would, reportedly, be equivalent to Ankara's Military Invasion and Occupation, by the Turkish Army, of Cyprus' Nortern Territories for more than 40 Years, chassing away the Majority of the Lawful Inhabitants : Greek Cypriots until Today ; 1974-2014), so that it would "exercise Jurisdiction over" an area in which "numerous Violations" would have been committed :  
    + Adding later-on, (until September 2014), subsequent data, this Kiev's complaint reportedly argues that not only "Ukranian Military" and "Law Enforcement Officers", but even "Civilians" would have been "Systematically" Killed during the 5 to 8 Months of Kiev's notorious Military Attacks against Lugansk/Luhansk Autonomists, and, reportedly,  they "also refer to  alleged ill-treatment or "Harassment" particularly against Tatar-Turks in Crimea, (where, however, both the OSCE and UNO's regular, Monthly Reports, haven't cited but only a few, comparatively lenient complaints, without any relation of magnitude to the obviously much more Grave, Massive, Deadly and Destructive Military Attacks which killed more than a Thousand of Civilian People among the Autonomist Populations of Lugansk/Luhansk Regions)...

    However, despite several Russian Journalists Killed, and more allegedly Arrested, Kidnaped and/or Ill-Treated, 22 Russian Media Muzzled in Ukraine, and at least 2 Russian People reportedly killed even inside their own Country, (etc), Moscow didn't yet lodge any Inter-State complain against Ukraine yet, (while, ECHR's Secretariat has not yet revealed if the Autonomist Regions of Lugansk/Luhansk have, eventually, lodged, or not, any kind of Collective Complaint against Kiev's Authorities, for More than a Thousand of Civilians People Killed there during Kiev's Military Attacks, including by Airplanes' Bombings and/or massive Shelling even of Family Homes, Civil Administrations, Schools, Hospitals, etc,, nor for Systematic Destructions of Vital Infrastructures Cutting Electricity, TeleCommunications and even Water Networks, which persist to provoke everyday Ill-Treatements against the Local Populations, Threatening it with a "Humanitarian Catastrophe", as several OSCE, UNO and/or CoE Reports and Officials have repeatedly Denounced recently.                                                                                     ---------------------------------------------                            
    + Moreover, other CoE's sources, have just Confirmed that, in the case of the Malaysian Airlines' Deadly Crash at Eastern Ukraine, ECHR has received and currently examines a Complaint by the Mother of one of the Victims, which reportedly accuses Kiev's Authorities to have irresponsibly led that Civilian Airplane to cross an area notoriously submitted to Armed Clashes between Kiev's Military and local Autonomists.

    After a long-awaited Preliminary Report, the Dutch Investigators leading a controversial International Enquiry have just recently arrived to the Autonomist Regions of Lugansk/Luhansk in order to Transfert a lot of remaining Debris from the crashed Airplane, before Winter time Destroys Evidence, after many Delaying Hesitations, despite reported persistent invitations by the Autonomists to come and take them earlier, (allegedly due to "Security" and/or other pretexts).  



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Hu Jia's prize brings SAKHAROV's wife to "EuroFora" on murders of Journalists Politkofskaya, Gongadze and Adali :

- Elena Bonner : "All Journalists' murders must be fully investigated", without Double Standards.                                                                                    

During a special Mega-Event to celebrate 20 Years of SAKHAROV Prize for "Freedom of Thought", attributed in 2008 by EU Parliament to jailed Chinese Cyber-Dissident Hu JIA, the move was reinforced by strongly criticizing the persisting impunity in three cases of Journalists' Murders, such as POLITKOVSKAYA in Russia, GONGADZE in Ukraine, and ADALI in Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus.

Any bureaucratic doubt about whether Cyber-dissidents like Hu JIA might have, or not, a right to be protected as all Journalists must be, particularly when they take risks to search, find and publish original and critical News on issues of general interest to the society, could not resist to the emotion provoked by the message of his Wife, Zeng JINYAN spectacularly transmitted at a big screen in EU Parliament's hemicycle :

- "The most important and most interesting thing he did was to ... say the Truth :.. to write about the phenomena he observed... He never stopped Publishing.. on websites, so that the Public could learn about the reality .. and understand it.  In my view, this has been his greatest contribution", stressed the young wife of the jailed man, eager to cite also the cases of other critical journalists who faced various kinds of "harassment".

 - "Welcoming all those who have suffered for defending Human Rights", EU Parliament's President, German MEP Hans Gert POETTERING, who had invited to Strasbourg all former Sakharov prize-winners from various Countries throughout the World, said that "China needs Europe, and Europe needs China : A great nation" with which "we want to have a good relationship", "association and ..friendship". "But we are never going to stop our fight for Human Rights, and No Government can expect this from us".

    - "It's impossible  to achieve goals of Peace, if Human Rights are left out. In fact, Peace and Human Rights are intrinsequaly linked", added POETTERING.

    It's in this spirit that MEPs adopted, on Thursday, a Resolution denouncing that "the criminal
investigation and trial following the murder of (a) Journalist ...raises serious concerns with regard to transparency and respect for the rule of law", when a "brutal killing has not yet been fully investigated and solved in a satisfactory way".

    The text refered to dissident Journalist "Anna POLITOVSKAYA", a critic of Tchechen conflict, killed some years ago in Moscow, where Russian Authorities have found, arrested and are currently judging two executants, while also searching to arrest also a 3rd one, allegedly escaped in Belgium. But they have not yet found the instigators.

     Similar texts were adopted recently also on dissident Ukranian Journalist Georgiy GONGADZE's murder, for which Ukranian Authorities have at least found, arrested and condemned 2 executants to 12 and 13 Years of jail, but not yet the instigators. For that purpose, they recently accepted an International Experts team to participate to the investigations.     

But, it's only for the Murder of dissident Turkish Cypriot Journalist ADALI, in the occupied territories of Cyprus, that Turkey has NOT yet found ANYONE responsible, and even claimed recently inside CoE that it would be "impossible" to do so !    

These astonishing differences exist despite the fact that ECHR condemned alike Ukraine and Turkey with 2 Judgements on the same year : 2005, for the murders of  Journalists GONGADZE and ADALI, strong critics of Corruption in Ukraine, and of Ankara's policies on mass-influx of Turkish Settlers in the Occupied Territories of Cyprus, respectively.    

Regarless of that, CoE's Committee of Ministers, who is entrusted with the duty to supervise execution of ECHR's judgements, has just asked Ukraine's Government to reply to further questions on Gongadze's murder before March 2009, while Turkey, curiously, got a longer postponement for answering questions on Adali's murder, until June...   

A comparison of these cases, raises serious questions about Double Standards :


    On Gongadze's murder, CoE's body speaks even about the participation of
"an INTERNATIONAL group of Experts" in the Investigation, (f.ex. of "Tape Recordings"), accepted by Ukraine.
    On the contrary, on Adali's murder, CoE is obliged to repeatedly ask (for a 2nd
time) Turkey whether, at least, it informed the victims' Family, or not...
On Gongadze's murder, CoE formally "recalls that the Committee (of Ministers) ..URGED the Ukranian authorities.. to TAKE ALL NECESSARY INVESTIGATIVE STEPS TO ACHIEVE CONCRETE and VISIBLE RESULTS in the INVESTIGATION, aimed at the Identification of the INSTIGATORS and Organisers of the Murder", and "STRONGLY INVITED the Ukranian Authorities to provide information on the PROGRESS IN THE INVESTIGATION", before MARCH 2009.

But, on Adali's murder, on the contrary, CoE's body merely .. "took note" of the "arguments presented by" Cyprus, which denounce the absence of any proof of new "investigation" by Turkey. Following Turkey's own suggestion (!), it simply "noted" that there is "no limitation period" for "any new element" to "lead potentialy (sic !) to a Re-Opening of the Investigation". Without saying who might find any such "new" fact, since Turkey stoped searching... It also POSTPONED the issue until .. JUNE  !
 -  On Gongadze's murder case, Ukranian Authorities already arrested and condemned, at least 2 suspects, to 12 and 13 Years of jail. And on Politkovskaya's murder at least 2 suspects are judged, and a 3rd one "wanted".

On the contrary, on Adali's murder case, the Turkish authorities simply claim that "it had not been possible to obtain new .. information .. on the basis of which criminal charges could be brought against ANY person" !...

Moreover,  a LETTER sent by Turkey ...2 Years after CoE's 2006 call to re-investigate anew Adali's murder case, is totally EMPTY of Facts ! As Cypus' Delegation denounced earlier, Turkey's Letter ONLY CLAIMS that a "New Investigation" was made without any result, but does NOT even cite ANY FACT to prove it :

F.ex.,on the crucial issue of the "MOTIVATIONS" behind Adali's murder, noted by ECHR, Turkey MERELY CLAIMS that "all allegations  were investigated; without result", but OMITS ANY FACT TO PROVE IT !..(It doesn't even remind which were these "allegations").. .

+ On ECHR's astonishment that the Turkish Occupation regime didn't produce any "BALLISTIC REPORT" on the Shots which murdered Adali, Turkey again repeats, 12 years later, that, still, even until now, "it  was not possible to obtain the BalisticReport"...

- As for the astonishing absence of key-WITNESSES' Testimonies, denounced by ECHR, Turkey agains repeats various pretexts avoiding to reveal anything, (Fex. that a person "left" the Occupied Territories  "on 2002", or that another witness was heard, but without revealing nothing of what he said, etc).

Turkey obviously "FAILS TO MEET THE CRITICISM made BY THE COURT" for lack of any efficient Investigation in Adali's case, concluded Cyprus' Government.
Replying to our Question which COMPARED these 3 outstanding cases of "JOURNALISTS MURDERS", Adali, Gongadze and Politkovskaya, in order to avoid "Double Standards" by asking from Ukraine and Russia more than what is asked EU candidate Turkey, many European personalities were critical /

They criticised Ankara's recent claim at the CoE to stop investigating, because it would be "impossible to find anyone" responsible for the 5 bullet shots which killed Kutlu ADALI in front of his Family Home, contrary to the other two Journalists' murders, where Ukraine and Russia at least arrested the executants, searching now for the instigators :


    - "Where was that ? In Turkish Occupied Cyprus ? WITHOUT ANY DOUBT : Any murder of Journalist should be investigated in full ! All these Murders must be investigated !", replied the famous SAKHAROV's wife, Elena BONNER to our question on Adali's case, compared to Gongadze and Politofskaya.

    Elena Bonner spoke us EXCLUSIVELY shortly after being honored by the President
of EU Parliament on the occasion of 20 Years of her husband's SAKHAROV Prize.

    A strong personality, Sakharov's wife even had to struggle against an anonymous EU staffer who, astonishingly, tried to stop her speaking when h heard our question on "Turkey" (!) : - "Please, let me translate, she continues
speaking, don't stop us !", had to cry Sakharov's daughter, (a Journalist
herself), who was translating her mothers' reply, (obliged to speak louder to
make her voice heard despite the harassment).. (= + Audio Proof !)

    Earlier, Elena Bonner also fustigated "Double Standards" at another case, on
Western countries' attitude vis a vis Kosovo and the Kurds : -F.ex. "You have
recognized a few 400.000 Kosovars as an "independent" country, but you still
deny that to 30 millions of Kurds in Turkey !", she denounced.
    - "This (ADALI's murder) is an issue which should be pursued by the Committee
for Human Rights. That's why we have one, and it's its duty to examine cases of
Journalists' murders as the one you referred to. You should bring the case in
front of that Committee", suggested in reply to our question on Adali, EU
Parliament's President, German MEP Hans Gert POETTERING.

    - "It's impossible  to achieve goals of PEACE, if HUMAN RIGHTS are left out :
in fact, Peace and Human Rights are intrinsequaly linked", added POETTERING.
    + "For us (European/International Federation of Journalists) it's clear :
Whenever a Journalist is Murdered, the Investigation should continue until
those Responsible are found !", replied earlier to another question on ADALI
EFJ/IFJ's Secretary General, Aidan WHITE.

    Speaking as a matter of General Principle, White asked us for "concrete data"
on the execution of ECHR's judgement on Adali case, in order to "look at it in
depth" and "make a formal statement", in comparison with the other Murdered
Journalist case, also pending at CoE's  Ministers for completing its execution,
on Ukranian Gongadze.
     From EU Rapporteur on Human Rights, vice-President of EU Parliament Liberties' Committee, MEP Giusto CATANIA, we were told that, since there is an ECHR judgement in both Adali and Gongadge's cases, "Turkey must naturally execute the judgement and make a full and efficient investigation, until those responsible for the Journalist's murder are found and punished".

    Even if "we (Catania's "EuroLeft" Group) support Turkey's EU perspectives, this does not mean that Ankara should not behave properly. On the contrary, it means that they have to meet tough conditions, particularly on Human Rights", was added on the occasion of Adali's murder case.

    Moreover, "since you raise the issue of Mr. Adali's muder as a part of a Series of Journalist's murders, including fex. Gongadze, Politkovskaya, ao., tthen we (EU) could also act together with CoE's Commissioner on Human Rights, Thomas HAMMARBERG, it was suggested.

    - "We (EU) must step up efforts against the problem of IMPUNITY : Real Peace cannot exist without Justice",  stressed also this week at EU Parliament in Strasbourg, French Minister on Human Rights, Mrs Rama YADE.


2009 EU Elections were won by Parties against Technocracy and Turkey's controversial EU bid, while the 1999-2004 Majority Abstention trend decelerated. What should be done in 2009-2014 ?


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