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Home arrow newsitems arrow UN Speech Freedom Rapporteur Kaye to ERFRA: Help apply ECHR Judgements on Impunity of Crimes v.Media

UN Speech Freedom Rapporteur Kaye to ERFRA: Help apply ECHR Judgements on Impunity of Crimes v.Media

Written by ACM
Tuesday, 04 November 2014

 

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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- UNO's New Rapporteur for the protection and promotion of the Right to  Freedom of Expression,  Professor David Kaye, speaking to "EuroFora", just after the 1st World Day to End Impunity of Crimes against Journalists, declared by the UNO for November 2, clearly confirmed that his Universal mandate gave a possibility to Raise also Questions on eventualy serious Problems at the Execution of ECHR's Judgements. His present Mandate gives him more than 3 Years (reconductibe) to do so, while his next Report to nearby Geneva Headquartered UNO's Human Rights Council is due for June 2015, as he told us.


    Significantly, he said that shortly after we had denounced at a UN-CoE Conference, an astonishing Difference of Treatment between 2 cases of Journalists' Murders clearly condemned by ECHR Judgements, based on the Same Legal points, and published at the Same Year (2005), but concerning two Different States : Ukraine, in the famous Gongadze affair, (an anti-Corruption Critic, found atrociously BeHeaded), and Turkey in the also quite well known Adali affair, (a Turkish Cypriot Dissident, opposed to several Ankara's Invasion/Occupation Army's policies in the Occupied Territories of Cyprus, who was shot and killed by 5 Bullets at his Head in front of his Family Home).

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In the 1st case, CoE's Committee of Ministers, responsible for Supervising the Execution of ECHR's judgements, has notoriously succeeded to overcome some initial Problems, and to start Finding and Condemning to Heavy Jail sentences, the one after the other, among those Criminals who had executed the Murder, and/or ordered and organized it, even if it still remains to find out who had initially commanditated that Murder. But, on the Contrary, in the case of Adali's Murder, Nobody was found, nor condemned, until now (2014), more than 9 Years after ECHR's Judgement.... Nevertheless, the case was scandalously .. Droped inside CoE's Committee of Ministers, the body which has the Duty to "Supervise the Execution" of ECHR's Judgements, as it seems, precisely when Turkey had Started to take over the rotating Chairmanship of CoE's Ministers "Human Rights" meetings, back on June 2010 !  (See : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/adalimurderinvestigationstopedwhenturkeychairscoe.html ).

 The opportunity to raise that issue was given by International NGO "Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)'s 2014 Report, titled "Road to Justice", on "Breaking the cycle of Impunity in the Killing of Journalists", which was presented Today in Strasbourg by Elisabeth Witchel, Impunity Campaign Consultant from the UK for the NY Headquartered "CPJ", who, speaking with "EuroFora", looked rather surprised to hear that so sharp Differences, (rather : Total Opposition !), might exist in the respect of ECHR's Judgements condemning the same Year certain States for blatant Impunity of cold-blood Murders of investigative Journalists.

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The Foreword of this Exceptional Issue, which documents  some 370 Killings of Journalists murdered in relation with their Reporting f.ex. on Corruption, War, Crimes and Human Rights, during the last Decade of 2004 - 2013, (i.e. in the Second Part of the period during which CPJ had started to Document Systematicaly any Killing of Journalist : 1992 - 2014, which includes both Murders of Gongadze and Adali), was written by Gongaze's wife, Myroslava, who describes, in a Strong and Emotional language, the Hard Struggle that she had to Fight in order to Break the initial Silence and start to unveil the Truth on her Husband's atrocious Murder :

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 - "Impunity in Crimes against Journalists .. sends a Message from the Perpetrators : That they can Control the Media, by using Force against its members, that Intimidation can continue", Myroslava Gongadze warns. On the Contrary, "Bringing those Responsible to Justice, is the Final Hill we Must Climb, in our Quest to Save the Lives of Journalists, and to further the Cause of Free Speech and Expression". Therefore, "we must actively Support those Devoted to Seeking Justice for these Crimes", because "those who pursue Justice are frequently in Harm's way", she denounces, Concluding that "the cause Needs an International Support System".


Indeed, the astonishing way in which the Adali Murder case was .. "lost" and droped behind the Closed Doors of CoE's Committee of Ministers, despite a quasi-Identical ECHR Judgement, strongly Condemning the respondent State for initially Failing to do its Duty to efficiently Investigate the Killing, both in the case of Gongadze, as also in the case of Adali, where the 2 ECHR Judgements were even published the Same Year (2005) at these same Strasbourg's ECHR Headquarters that CPJ's 2014 Report pictures along the first victim's wife's forward, (See relevant Photo), obviously cannot be explained otherwise, but only by a Blatant Difference in the Existence or Absence of the required Political Will....

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=> This Crucial point was very Strongly Denounced by the Trans-Atlantic OSCE's Representative for Media Freedom and Free Expression, Mrs Dunja Mijatovic, who criticized, in her Intervention, the fact that, during the recent years, "States Lack of Political Will" to find and punish those responsible for Serious Aggressions against Journalists, Warning that, if things don't "Change" radically and soon elough in this regard, i.e. if the various relevant European/International Organisations don't Stop to meremy add "Resolutions", "Recommendations", and other such Paper work, then, "We are going against the Wall !", Mijatovic concluded, widely applauded by most participants.

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However, even if, unfortunately, her OSCE "Mandate" apparently doesn't allow her to interfere inside CoE's process of execution of ECHR's Judgements, nevertheless, in principe, she can always Speek Out and propose Remedies on any serious Violation of Freedom of Expression accross OSCE's Member Countries, as,Mijatovic later added to "EuroFora", promissing to get in touch soon on such matters, (naturally including also on Press Reporting at the Internet, on which she has notoriously worked already in the Past, long before EU's recent, 2014 "Human Rights' Guidelines on Freedom of Expression  both On-line and Off-line").
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=> Therefore, it had become obvious that the Political and/or other Blockades experienced until now even inside some among the Best available European/PanEuropean Organisations, as far as a genuine and efficient Protection of Press Freedom, Journalists' Safety and the Fight against Impunity of serious Crimes against them, are concerned, (Comp. f.ex. Supra), it's either substantial Changes at the pre-existing EU/CoE Mechanisms, and/or the development of some consistent brand New International Mechanisms, f.ex. by the UNO, are Needed.

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This was precisely observed, initialy at a short intervention by "EuroFora" right from the Start of the Concluding Debate of a well attended UNO-CoE "Inter-Agency meeting" in Strasbourg Today (November 4), "on the Safety of Journalists and the issue of Impunity", where we mainly denounced the serious Discrepancy that the above-mentioned blatant Difference between the clearly Opposite ways that were treated ECHR's similar and tautochronous, landmark Judgements in the Gongadze and Adali cases, concluding, in consequence, that Recent Moves by the UNO to eventually develop a kind of International Mechanismf for the Protection of Press Freedom, Safety of Journalists and to End Impunity, as UNO's relevant "Action Plan" from  2012, and a subsequent Mandate reportedly given by UNO's General Assembly to UNESCO as Coordinator for the implementation of the UN Plan from 2013, could usefuly serve in order to Complement, UnBlock and/or Stimulate pre-existing Regional Mechanisms, even the Best available until now, as that of the CoE, etc, f.ex. by raising Questions about ECHR Judgements' execution whenever it might have been more or less neglected, (as in the above-mentioned Adali Murder case, Comp. Supra), and/or by acting more Proactively, in cases of Urgency, (as, f.ex., at least in some relevant aspects of the Ukranian Crisis), etc.


UNO's Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, Professor Daniel Kaye, who was chairing as a Moderator this Concluding Session, decided, then, to practicaly take "EuroFora"s main Suggestion and turn it into a General Question addressed to All Participants at the UNO-CoE International Conference on Ending Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, during that same, crucial Concluding Session dedicated into "Working with Civil Society and Media" for that purpose. Followed a rather Extensive Dialogue, with various and numerous Participants, including relevant NGOs, etc, most of whom, indeed, in one way or another, agreed that it was useful, or even necessary, to develop such a mutually Stimulating Synergy between UNO and specific Regional, European or PanEuropean, etc. Organisations, as OSCE, EU and CoE, etc.

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+ Meanwhile, "Journalism is an activity of General Interest", and "Attacks against Journalists are a "Hot" issue, since "CoE's 3 Pilars : Democracy, Rule of Law and Human Rights, couldn't exist without Freedom of Expression and of the Medias", stressed from the outset the experienced CoE's Deputy Secretary General, Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni from Italy, (the current EU Chair), introducing Yesterday at the ECHR, a 1st Seminar on the Safety of Journalists and the eradicaton of Impunity of Crimes committed against them, which is,  currently, a CoE's "Priority", as she said.

Pointing at the famous "Hrant Dink" affair against Turkey, (from the cold-blood Murder of the Armenian Journalist in Istanbul/Constantinople, where ECHR slamed in particular Ankara Authorities' persistet Failure to really search, find and Punish all those responsible for the Killing, while several Facts indicated as probable a scandalous Complicity between Law Enforcement Agents and Criminals who had been Seeking various ways to Muzzle the Victim already long before he was Killed by Bullets fired at his Head in front of his own Office and Family Home, CoE's Deputy Chief stressed that ECHR reminded, on this occasion, that "States are obliged to create a Favorable Context for the Participation of all in the Pubic Debates, allowing them to Express without fear, their Opinions and Ideas".


 - In this regard, CoE is preparing an On-Line Web portail, destinated to collect, treat and pubish Infos concernant the most serious problems faced by Media Freedom and Safety of Journalists, in cooperation with Associations of Journalists and other International Organisationsn, in order to alert, systematically, CoE's relevant bodies, on the need to take fast and coordinated measures, while also re-publishing all ECHR's relevant Case-law standards in this area, Battaini-Dragoni confirmed, pointing at forthcoming developments, due for December 2014, (as "EuroFora" has already reported on this matter  : See : ....).


 - Moreover, Battaini-Dragoni said CoE was "convinced about the force of Dialogue", both GeoPolitically : on a European level, but also well Beyond our Continent, and "including all various concerned Players : In order to concentrate forces to eradicate Impunity of Crimes against Journalists, Courts, International Organisations, Governments, Medias, NGOs, must speak to eachother", she stressed in conclusion.

 

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+ Speaking later-on to "EuroFora", CoE's Deputy Secretary General, (who had recently gone to Rome, on the occasion of a CoE's Constitutional Law watchdog, "Venice Commission"'s exceptional Session), didn't exclude that Pope Francis might, eventually, evoke also issues related to Freedom of Expression and Opinion or Belief, (often related to Religion and/or Moral Values, facing from ISIS' Deadly Terrorism at the Middle East, up to Police Brutalities and/or Threats of Heavy Fines and/or Jail,  f.ex. in the case of Same Sex Marriage's opponents, and other BioEthical issues' Dissidents in some EU Countries, etc), at his forthcoming Speech at EU Pariament and CoE in Strasbourg on November 25, even if "his main concern currently seems to be rather how to Help Poor People" in and out of Europe, particularly since the recent Global Crisis, as she estimated : Issues for which, sometimes, in order to clearly denounce what could realy cause and/or aggravate them, Freedom of Speech might also be needed, even for that...

(../..)

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("DraftNews", as already sent to "EuroFora"s Subscribers/Donors, earlier. A more accurate, full Final Version, might be published asap).

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Facing a 70% Abstention threat in 2009 Election, EU endorses EuroFora's idea for Citizens' debates on crucial EU decisions !

- Different views on "Europe's Future", should be debated among Citizens at June 2009 EU Elections, thanks to political Parties' "Manifestos", says EU Parliament's Report


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
A main idea, initiated and promoted by EuroFora's founders since 1997: the vital need to develop European Citizens' democratic right to actively participate in multilingual debates on EU decisions, is formally endorsed by the EU from 2009 !

The move is a key attempt to overcome "catastrophic" Polls which warn that only ...30% of Citizens are ready to vote in the forthcoming June 2009 EU Election !  This was revealed by EU Commission's vice-president, in charge of Communication policy, Margot Wallstrom, during a "hot" meeting of EU Parliament's Committee on Culture and Education, during the December 2008 Strasbourg session.

Wallstrom faced criticism, but also suggestions from various MEPs, naturally worried by Abstention threats which herself found even "worse" than in 1999 or 2004...

A Report on "Active Dialogue with Citizens",examined at the same time, presented some useful practical tips, on "facilitating Interviews"; etc., but also a  potentialy important call to "incorporate the conclusions of ...debates...into (EU) policies, and take into consideration the expectations that Citizens have of the EU when deciding". An amendment even implies that Citizens' participation in debates on EU decisions is a democratic "Right".

More importantly, it finds that  a Debate "on the Future of Europe", (as French President Nicolas Sarkozy has asked since 2007), would be a good idea " for the 2009 European parliamentary Elections", because "clarifying the political differences between the EU political parties would help citizens to identify themselves with, and choose between various concepts", for which "all parties (should) present their Manifesto".

A "Joint political declaration on Communicating Europe in Partnership", co-signed by "the European Parliament, Council and ... Commission", confirms that they "attach the utmost importance to improving communication on EU issues", by "enabling European citizens to exercise their right to participate in the democratic life of the Union, in which decisions are taken as openly as possible and as closely as possible to the citizens, observing the principles of pluralism, participation, openness and transparency".

This should "enable Citizens to exercise their right to express their views and to participate actively in the public Debate on European Union issues", while also "promoting the respect of multilingualism". In this regard, EU confirms its "wish to develop synergies with national, regional and local authorities as well as with representatives of Civil Society".

    It's since 1997 that a group of EuroFora's founders have officially presented a pioneer Project (then called "EIW", for "Europe in the World"), which aimed to develop Strasbourg's "Polyphonic music", by providing "Interactive information", on "main issues ... during the Decision-making process of European Organizations which engage in Transparent and Public Democratic Debates"

    This should be done, inter alia, by "exploring the potential of New Communication Tools (mainly Internet)", as well as classic-form debates, the 1997 EIW pioneer project's anounced in its "Synopsis". It was formally "accepted for evaluation" by EU Commission in Brussels in order to be examined for a grant in the framework of the "Research/Technology/Development (RTD) Programme in the field of Information Technologies", then called "ESPRIT", as a "Best Practice Pilot Project".

eiw_project_eu_program_esprit_ds_1997.._400

        But the vital, urgent Political need for EU to search new, efficient ways to reach the People and interact with European Citizens, was really felt in Brussels and elsewhere only after the unprecedented in History 1999 and 2004 Majority Abstention in EU Elections, followed by 3 "NO" in Referenda in France, the Netherlands and Ireland, on 2005 and 2008...
    In this New Political Landscape, we prepared a new, actualised and more developed version of our initial idea, in a simplified and more efficient form, thanks also to a large Experience accumulated during many years of EU/CoE/UNO Press work and Multi-lingual debates, with the New project "EuroFora" :

    On 2006 we presented in Public its main lines during Questions/Replies that we raised at two Press Conferences by EU Commission President, Jose Baroso, and mainly EU Commission's vice-President, in charge of Communication policy, Margot Wallstrom, together with EU Parliament's vice-president, Alejo Vidal-Quadras, in Strasbourg, (Videos available), and we reminded it at various brief contacts with Commissioner Wallstrom in 2007 and 2008.

    Meanwhile, a new Text was also presented for "EuroFora" Project mainly to certain Political and other personalities, at European, National or Regional/Local level, mainly in 2007, but also in 2008..

    Now, after the unexpected 2008 Irish "NO", and before the 2009 EU Elections, which are due to be of exceptionally crucial importance for Europe's Future, the moment has obviously come to launch that project, progressively, but in real practice.

    Whoever really cares for Europe and its Citizens is welcome to join, in one way or another. Only anti-European, anti-democratic, obscure or ignorant groups might oppose or attempt to "steal" and deviate the main idea.

    But European Citizens, incited by enlightened political leaders, are those who will finally write the real History.

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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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