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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).

adali__gongadze_echr_cases 

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.

cpj_representative_to_agg_at_thecoe_400 

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 :

cpj_2014_report_gongadze_case_echr_at_unocoeosce_conference_onimpunity_of_crimes_against_journalists_400


 - "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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 slovenian__croatian_presidents_at_coe_400

    The recent paradox of freezing EU Talks with front-runner Croatia, while continuing controversial EU - Turkey talks, despite Zagreb's acceptance of Refugees' Human Rights to return, that Ankara refuses fex. in Cyprus, while both have "Good Neighborhood" problems vis a vis Slovenia, or Greece, Cyprus and Armenia respectively, can it be justified by the non-fullfilment of EU criteria, as Slovenia says, or, is it "Double Standards" ?    

The question became unavoidable after statements by Presidents of Slovenia and Croatia, Tuerk and Mesic, respectively, to "EuroFora", exclusively or among Strasbourg's journalists this week at the CoE, on the sidelines of its 2009 Summer University for Political Schools, which topically brought them together as successive key-note speakers.


    Comming only a few Months before EU checks Turkey's compliance to its commitments on Cyprus, etc., scheduled for December 2009, this obviously has a special importance for the coherence of EU Enlargement's principles.

     Suspension of EU Negotiations is a normal consequence in case of a Candidate Country's failure to fullfil EU Conditions, such as "Good Neighborhood relations", stressed at first Slovenian President Danilo Tuerk, current CoE's chair.

    But, regarding EU's Criteria,  there shouldn't be any "Double Standards",  reacted Croatian President Stjepan Mesic, commenting the fact that Turkey's controversial EU negotiations continue, while they were recently "freezed" in the case of Croatia, an "unquestionably European Country", which oficially accepts to respect Refugees Human Rights, contrary to Ankara's notorious refusals or reluctance.                                       

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           - "EU itself has set as a Criterium (for EU Enlargement) the "Good Neighborhood relations",  and their absence justifies the "Suspension" EU Negotiations, (f.ex. with Croatia), because of a Border dispute affecting the territorial integrity of an EU Member Country, stressed Slovenian President, Danilo Tuerk, CoE's Chairman in office (May - November 2009), speaking to Journalists in Strasbourg including "EuroFora".    

Questioned earlier what "consequences on EU's Enlargement policy" can have the "Ban on EU Membership Negotiations", imposed to Croatia, Tuerk replied that "this question comes down to the fulfillement of (EU) Criteria for membership. One has to look at each Candidate Country ., from the point of view whether it fullfils the Criteria that EU has set. One of them are Good Neighborhood Relations, I'd like to remind. And also, there are other factors, such as Justice, Home affairs, Rule of Law, and others".


    - "Now, ..Candidate Countries are at Different Levels of fulfillement of Criteria", he observed.

    - " Croatia is obviously the closest to that. I'm rather optimistic : I think that in the coming Months we'll have an opportunity to look at all these issues constructively and hopefully we'll be able to make progress". "My main concern, at this point, is the situation in Bosnia : We haven't seen enough progres domesticaly. We haven't seen enough during ..political parties within their country.We need a New Energy, a new energetic move towards the Candidature for EU membership. "Other (Western Balkan) Countries (Serbia, Montenegro, FYROM, Albania) have been making soaring Progress, and I think that they should be ready, in a few Years, for the Candidate status".

    - "As far as the Western Balkans are concerned, .. nobody should be left outside" the EU, Slovenian's President concluded, ommitting to mention Turkey's controversial EU bid.

    - "This process may be seen as Slow, but..  Slovenia has also has also been exposed to various "Booms of Slowness" in our accession period. But now we can say that the process was relatively quick, because changes which occur after becoming EU member, are quite large, and they require proper Preparations before the (EU) membership becomes a new factor, an impacting line for a new (EU) member country".
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EU "Solidarity" ?
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Slovenian statements made some participants from certain 3rd Countries as FYROM, etc. claim that "the Principle of EU Solidarity" would "produce a.. rising European Union Nationalism (sic !), against Non-EU Countries", as they said, asking unhappy foreign countries to form a "bloc" to exert pressure on the EU...    

But Croatian President Stjepan Mesic dismissed that, supporting "EU Integration", "after the Economy also in Political" issues, as "the achievement" of our times. In EU there is "diversity, but it's United", he stressed, "EU has to be United so that it can become a central factor of Peace" also at the surrounding areas, he replied.

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Speaking later exclusively to "EuroFora", the experienced twice President of Croatia, former President of the International "Non-Aligned" movement, denounced "Double Standards" in the way EU treats recently Croatia compared to Turkey :   

 - "I think that there shouldn't be Double Standards", stressed the Croatian President, in reply to a Question comparing the freeze of EU - Croatia talks, with the continuation of EU - Turkey talks, despite the fact that Croatia is an "unquestionably European country", while Turkey's EU bid is notoriously controversial.


    Mesic was reacting to the observation that, even if he confirmed his "respect of Refugees' Human Rights to return, etc. (See infra), nevertheless, EU talks are suspended with Croatia.. While for oher, controversial candidates, who refuse to respect Refugees' Rights to return, etc., as fex. Turkey does in occupied Cyprus and elsewhere, EU negotiations continue".

    - "I believe that Croatia's accession will confirm that all European Countries who fulfill all of the Conditions and achieve European Standards, have to join the EU. There shouldn't be any Double Standards", went on to add in reply President Mesic.

    In this relation, Croatia's President found "of paramount importance", CoE's "mechanisms enforcing ECHR's judgements"
    
    - "On Refugees and Displaced persons, the process will be completed only after the last person demanding to return will be allowed to do so !", President Mesic Croatia stressed earlier, setting a general standard of obvious importance also for otherr candidates, as f.ex. Turkey, often accused to exclude or heavily restrict Greek Cypriot Displaced persons' return to their Family Homes and ancestral land, provoke difficulties to Turkish-Kurd IDPs return to their home regions at the South-East, etc.

    Some "2.000 People are still reported Missing" in former Yugoslavia, for some Years, (as in Cyprus, modern Europe's oldest case, for 3 Decades. Nagorno-Karabach, Tcecnya in Russia, etc, more recently), and Investigations "will only be completed after establishing the fate of the last one of them", he added.
    
    Speaking earlier on "War Crimes", President Mesic stressed that "Leaders are responsible for (the) Wars (of the Past), not the People", and called against Impunity :  "Individuals have to be held Responsible for Crimes. International Penal Tribunals have to persecute those individuals", perpetrators of War Crimes, he underlined.

    Such statements naturally made Mesic rather popular at ECHR, whose President, French EuroJudge, Professor Jean-Paul Costa, looked particularly smiling when he welcomed him later on Wednesday afternoon, after Slovenian President Daniko Tuerk earlier this week.
           

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