MINELRES: Activities Round-up May-August 2008

Justice Initiative minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Wed Sep 24 10:32:40 2008


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ACTIVITIES ROUND-UP

May 2008 – August 2008

INTERNATIONAL

AIDS Conference Looks at Pretrial Detention as a Public Health Issue

The role of pretrial detention in spreading disease was the focus of
two sessions at the XVII International AIDS Conference held in Mexico
City in August. Experts from the fields of human rights and public
health—¬including staff from the Open Society Justice
Initiative—examined the global over-use of pretrial detention as a
threat to public health in two conference sessions: “HIV/AIDS in
Prisons and Pretrial Detention Centers: A Public Health and Human
Rights Disaster,” and “Sentenced to HIV, HCV and TB? Prisons and
Pretrial Detention Centers.” The appearance of pretrial detention
on the agenda of the 20,000-person conference is an important
milestone in the process of reforming and reducing the use of
pretrial detention. Click here for the Justice Initiative’s
conference presentation, “The Scale and Health Consequences of
Pretrial Detention around the World”: 

http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=104144
.

AFRICA

Justice Initiative Intensifies West African Engagement with Taylor
Trial 

As part of its efforts to promote greater media coverage and public
awareness of Charles Taylor’s trial in The Hague, the Justice
Initiative intensified its work with Sierra Leonean journalists and
civil society during the court’s judicial recess in August. Among
other activities, the Justice Initiative provided training to Sierra
Leonean journalists in the use of the
http://www.CharlesTaylorTrial.org
 website as a resource for developing news stories and engaging in
outreach efforts to inform local communities about the trial. For
more information on the Taylor trial and Special Court in Sierra
Leone click here: http://CharlesTaylorTrial.org/
. 

ASIA

Justice Initiative Calls for Investigation of Torture Allegations in
Kazakhstan 

The Justice Initiative in June called for a government investigation
into recent allegations of torture and ill-treatment by police in
Kazakhstan. The victim, Denis Polienko, alleges that he was illegally
detained by police and tortured into confessing to the murder of his
neighbor. According to Polienko, he was severely beaten, suffocated
with a plastic bag, and threatened with rape and harm to his wife. As
a result, he sustained facial fractures and damage to his eyesight and
now suffers post-traumatic stress disorder. His coerced confession was
then used as evidence of his guilt in a criminal trial. Although a
court halted the trial—citing “gaps in the investigation”—and
returned the case to prosecutors for additional investigation and
inquiry into his allegations of torture, Polienko still faces
charges. Click here to read more about the case:

http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db /resource2?res_id=104107
<http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=104107>
.

Latest Khmer Rouge Tribunal Report Covers New Crime Site and Progress
on the Five Cases

The Justice Initiative released in May a report on current challenges
and progress at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia
(ECCC), the court established to try surviving leaders of the Khmer
Rouge. The 25-page report provides an overview of recent developments
in the cases of all five defendants now in the court’s custody: Ieng
Sary, Khieu Samphan, Nuon Chea, Kaing Guek Eav, and Ieng Thirith. The
report also looks at developments outside the courtroom, including
the appointment of a UN expert advisor to help revise the court’s
budget and streamline administrative operations of the UN’s side of
the court. The report is available here:
http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=104086
. 

EUROPE

Justice Initiative Helps Push Investigation of CIA “Black Sites”
in Poland

Poland’s chief prosecutor, in early August, opened an investigation
into the existence of secret CIA “black sites” in Poland and the
possible complicity of Polish agents in torture and other abuses. The
investigation—which top officials of the Council of Europe and the
European Union have been calling for since 2007—was hailed by human
rights groups as a major step in pursuit of accountability for abuses
committed in the U.S. “war on terror.” The Polish Helsinki
Foundation for Human Rights had been calling for such an
investigation—and seeking information about Polish knowledge of CIA
violations— since March 2006. In January of 2008 the Polish Helsinki
Foundation, with input from the Justice Initiative and pursuant to
Poland’s 2001 Access to Information Law, filed requests for
information regarding Polish collaboration with the CIA’s rendition
program. In response, in March, the Polish government released some
information, the first time that the law had been used to obtain
information considered by some to constitute state secrets. In
addition, the Polish Helsinki Foundation helped a journalist from a
leading Polish weekly to prepare an extensive article about CIA
flights. Shortly after this article appeared, the prosecutor finally
took action. Click here for a BBC News account of the investigation:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7581143.stm
.

Justice Initiative Intervenes in Bosnian Constitution Case

In August, the Justice Initiative submitted to the European Court of
Human Rights an amicus brief challenging provisions in the
Constitution of Bosnia-Herzegovina that restrict eligibility for
high-level political office to certain ethnic groups. According to
the constitution, only ethnic Serbs, Croats, and Bosniaks can serve
in the Bosnian legislature or as the country’s president. The
provision excludes members of Bosnia’s other ethnic groups, as well
as individuals who refuse to be classified by ethnicity. The Justice
Initiative’s brief, filed in the case of Finci and Sedjic v.
Bosnia, argues that the provision is ethnically discriminatory
because it privileges dominant ethnic groups while barring ethnic
minorities. Click here to read the brief:
http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=104145
.

German Employment Case Focuses on Religious and Ethnic Discrimination

In July, the Justice Initiative submitted an expert opinion in the
case of Diakonische Werk Hamburg v Y. Fadia in Hamburg Regional Labor
Court, challenging religious and ethnic discrimination in employment.
The case concerns a Christian charity, Diakonische Werk Hamburg
(DWK), which refused to hire a non-Christian woman unless she
converted to Christianity. The applicant, a German citizen of Turkish
ethnic origin, does not observe or practice any religion and refused
to convert. The woman was applying for a non-religious position
counseling immigrants, as part of a secular advice service that DWK
provides on behalf of the German state. DWK acknowledges that the
applicant met all substantive requirements for the job. Under German
and European Union antidiscrimination law, religious institutions may
treat individuals differently on the basis of religion only when
religious faith is a genuine occupational requirement for a job, such
as that of a pastor or a religious teacher. But this exception clearly
does not apply in the DWK case, the Justice Initiative asserted in its
filing. Click here to read the Justice Initiative’s brief, available
in English or German:
http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=104117
.

Karadi Arrest Hailed as a Triumph for Victims and for Justice

The arrest in July of one of the world’s most notorious fugitives,
Radovan Karadi, on genocide and other charges, is a milestone in
international justice and signifies major if long overdue progress by
Serbia, the Justice Initiative said. But Serbia must still move
quickly to arrest Karadi’s wartime ally, Ratko Mladi, to fully
stake its claim in the new Europe. “Karadi’s arrest is a
historic event, which indicates a sea-change in Serbia’s commitment
to joining its neighbors as a full member of the European Union,”
said Robert O. Varenik, then acting executive director of the Justice
Initiative. “Serbia took a great leap forward but now must follow
through with the immediate arrest of Mladi.” Karadi and Mladi
were indicted 13 years ago by the International Criminal Tribunal for
the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on charges of genocide, crimes against
humanity, and war crimes for their role s as alleged architects of
crimes committed during the Bosnian war in the 1990s. With the ICTY
set to shut down by 2011, time is running out to bring the men to
justice. Click here to read more:
http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=104118
. 

Rights Groups Demand Investigation of CIA’s Extraordinary Rendition
Program

The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), the
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the Justice Initiative met
in Berlin in June with lawyers from Germany, Macedonia, and the United
Kingdom to discuss the latest developments in the CIA rendition case
of German citizen Khaled El Masri.

El Masri was seized by Macedonian authorities on December 31, 2003.
He was detained incommunicado for 23 days, then handed over by the
Macedonians to CIA agents who videotaped, blindfolded, and injected
him with drugs, then flew him in chains to Kabul, Afghanistan. In
Kabul he was tortured in a prison that his lawyers believe was the
infamous CIA-run “Salt Pit” detention center. The CIA soon
realized they were holding an innocent man, yet El Masri was held for
more than four months before being released without charge. On May
28th, 2004, El Masri was flown by the CIA to Albania and dumped on an
isolated roadside in the middle of the night. Albanian authorities
thereafter placed him on a return flight to Germany. At the meeting,
participating attorneys presented further legal actions already filed
or being prepared in the United States, Macedonia, and Albania. In
addition to the lawsuit against Germany filed in June, these include
a petition against the United States at the Inter-American Commission
on Human Rights, an upcoming criminal complaint in Macedonia, and
freedom of information requests in Albania and Macedonia. Click here
to learn more:

http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=104096
.

Groundbreaking Report Assesses Impact of Yugoslavia Tribunal

A report published by the Justice Initiative in May examines the
impact of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former
Yugoslavia (ICTY) in Serbia. Shrinking the Space for Denial: The
Impact of the ICTY in Serbia is the most comprehensive analysis to
date of the court’s impact in a country directly affected by its
work. The report, by Diane Orentlicher, professor of international
law at American University’s Washington College of Law and special
counsel to the Justice Initiative, was published in conjunction with
the fifteenth anniversary of the ICTY’s founding.

The 134-page report provides a detailed look at the ICTY’s role and
challenges in:

• Dispelling the impunity of Serbians accused of playing a key role
in atrocities committed in the Balkan wars of the 1990s;

• Contributing to Serbian society’s progress in acknowledging and
condemning Serbian leaders’ and institutions’ role in those
atrocities; and

• Strengthening the rule of law in Serbia. 

Click here to download the full report:
http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=104091
.

LATIN AMERICA

Chile Adopts Historic Law on Transparency and Access to Information 

President Michelle Bachelet of Chile promulgated the Law on
Transparency and Access to Information on August 11, 2008,
culminating a four-year campaign led by long time Justice Initiative
partner Pro Acceso. The law recognizes the right to information held
by public bodies, significantly narrows areas of exception, obliges
public bodies to respond to citizen requests within 20 days and
creates a four-person Council for Transparency to implement and
interpret the law. Chile now has arguably the strongest access to
information law in South America and will be the first country to
establish an implementation body. The Justice Initiative provided
technical assistance to support Pro Acceso’s campaign, which
included colloquia, analyses of legislative drafts, forceful advocacy
in the mass media, participation in parliamentary discussions, and
organization of a British Council-supported study mission to England
for legislators and government officials. Of particular importance
was the 2006 decision of the Inter-American Court in the landmark
case of Claude Reyes, in which the court—citing a joint Pro
Acceso-Justice Initiative study—ruled that Chile was in violation
of the American Convention on Human Rights’ guarantee of the right
to information. The court called on Chile’s government not only to
pass a law but also to train government officers in its
implementation. For more on the Claude Reyes case, click here:
http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=103448
. 

Report Issues Stinging Indictment of News Censorship, Abuse of Public
Money, across Latin America

Government interference with press freedom threatens editorial
independence and access to unbiased news in seven Latin American
countries, according to a report released in August. The new
report—jointly produced by the Association for Civil Rights, an
Argentine human rights organization, and the Justice
Initiative—catalogues abuses in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa
Rica, Honduras, Peru, and Uruguay, including the widespread use of
public funds to reward or punish news coverage. Authorities in Latin
America have long used violence, legal harassment, and intimidation
to silence outspoken journalists. The Price of Silence: The Growing
Threat of Soft Censorship in Latin America uncovers a less obvious
but growing trend of officials using financial incentives and
regulatory powers to control the press. The 200-page report documents
various types of interference, including evidence of direct government
payments to journalists in Colombia and Peru; local authorities in
Chile dictating what journalists can write about; and high-ranking
government officials in Costa Rica attempting to use radio and
newspaper advertising contracts to influence the outcome of a
protracted political battle. The report is available online in
Spanish or English at:
http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=104124
.

Inter-American Commission Orders Protective Measures for Victim of
Arbitrary Deprivation of Nationality 

In August, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights granted the
Justice Initiative’s request for precautionary measures in the case
of Emildo Bueno, a Dominican citizen of Haitian descent whose public
fight against arbitrary deprivation of his nationality resulted in
threats and physical harm to him and his family. The commission
granted the request of the Justice Initiative and the Center for
Justice and International Law (CEJIL) to order the government of the
Dominican Republic to investigate thoroughly attacks on the Bueno
family and to provide them with security protection. The
commission’s agreement to extend precautionary measures is the
latest indication of international human rights bodies’ growing
concern about discrimination in access to nationality in the
Dominican Republic. Click here for more information, in Spanish:
http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=104146
.

NORTH AMERICA

U.S. Senate Hears Justice Initiative Testimony on Crimes against
Humanity

In June, Justice Initiative Special Counsel Diane Orentlicher
provided expert testimony on crimes against humanity to the U.S.
Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Human Rights and the
Law. Noting that “United States law does not yet proscribe crimes
against humanity,” Orentlicher stated: “I urge this subcommittee
to produce legislation making crimes against humanity a federal crime
and establishing a jurisdiction to prosecute such crimes.”
Orentlicher’s full testimony, which examines American leadership in
defining the concept of crimes against humanity and explores recent
and current examples of such crimes, is available here:
http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=104147
.

Note: This report describes activities undertaken by the Open Society
Justice Initiative, an operational program of the Open Society
Institute, in accordance with regulations applicable to 501(c)(3)
organizations. It also describes activities carried out and funded by
the Open Society Policy Center (a 501(c)(4) organization).

The URL for this page is:
http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=104148
.

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<div align="center"><font face="Arial" size="2"><strong>ACTIVITIES ROUND-UP</strong></font><br />
<font face="Arial" size="2"><strong>May 2008 &ndash; August 2008</strong></font><br />
</div>
<font face="Arial" size="2"><br />
<u>INTERNATIONAL</u><br />
<br />
<strong>AIDS Conference Looks at Pretrial Detention as a Public Health Issue</strong><br />
The role of pretrial detention in spreading disease was the focus of two sessions at the XVII International AIDS Conference held in Mexico City in August. Experts from the fields of human rights and public health&mdash;&not;including staff from the Open Society Justice Initiative&mdash;examined the global over-use of pretrial detention as a threat to public health in two conference sessions: &ldquo;HIV/AIDS in Prisons and Pretrial Detention Centers: A Public Health and Human Rights Disaster,&rdquo; and &ldquo;Sentenced to HIV, HCV and TB? Prisons and Pretrial Detention Centers.&rdquo; The appearance of pretrial detention on the agenda of the 20,000-person conference is an important milestone in the process of reforming and reducing the use of pretrial detention. Click here for the Justice Initiative&rsquo;s conference presentation, &ldquo;The Scale and Health Consequences of Pretrial Detention around the World&rdquo;: <br />
<a href="http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=104144">http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=104144</a>.<br />
<u><br />
AFRICA</u><br />
<br />
<strong>Justice Initiative Intensifies West African Engagement with Taylor Trial </strong><br />
As part of its efforts to promote greater media coverage and public awareness of Charles Taylor&rsquo;s trial in The Hague, the Justice Initiative intensified its work with Sierra Leonean journalists and civil society during the court&rsquo;s judicial recess in August. Among other activities, the Justice Initiative provided training to Sierra Leonean journalists in the use of the <a href="http://www.CharlesTaylorTrial.org">www.CharlesTaylorTrial.org</a> website as a resource for developing news stories and engaging in outreach efforts to inform local communities about the trial. For more information on the Taylor trial and Special Court in Sierra Leone click here: <a href="http://CharlesTaylorTrial.org/">http://CharlesTaylorTrial.org/</a>.&nbsp; <br />
<br />
<u>ASIA</u><br />
<br />
<strong>Justice Initiative Calls for Investigation of Torture Allegations in Kazakhstan&nbsp; </strong><br />
The Justice Initiative in June called for a government investigation into recent allegations of torture and ill-treatment by police in Kazakhstan. The victim, Denis Polienko, alleges that he was illegally detained by police and tortured into confessing to the murder of his neighbor. According to Polienko, he was severely beaten, suffocated with a plastic bag, and threatened with rape and harm to his wife. As a result, he sustained facial fractures and damage to his eyesight and now suffers post-traumatic stress disorder. His coerced confession was then used as evidence of his guilt in a criminal trial. Although a court halted the trial&mdash;citing &ldquo;gaps in the investigation&rdquo;&mdash;and returned the case to prosecutors for additional investigation and inquiry into his allegations of torture, Polienko still faces charges. Click here to read more about the case:<br />
<a href="http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=104107">http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db /resource2?res_id=104107</a>.<br />
<br />
<strong>Latest Khmer Rouge Tribunal Report Covers New Crime Site and Progress on the Five Cases</strong><br />
The Justice Initiative released in May a report on current challenges and progress at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), the court established to try surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge. The 25-page report provides an overview of recent developments in the cases of all five defendants now in the court&rsquo;s custody: Ieng Sary, Khieu Samphan, Nuon Chea, Kaing Guek Eav, and Ieng Thirith. The report also looks at developments outside the courtroom, including the appointment of a UN expert advisor to help revise the court&rsquo;s budget and streamline administrative operations of the UN&rsquo;s side of the court. The report is available here: <a href="http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=104086">http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=104086</a>. <br />
<br />
<u>EUROPE</u><br />
<br />
<strong>Justice Initiative Helps Push Investigation of CIA &ldquo;Black Sites&rdquo; in Poland</strong><br />
Poland&rsquo;s chief prosecutor, in early August, opened an investigation into the existence of secret CIA &ldquo;black sites&rdquo; in Poland and the possible complicity of Polish agents in torture and other abuses. The investigation&mdash;which top officials of the Council of Europe and the European Union have been calling for since 2007&mdash;was hailed by human rights groups as a major step in pursuit of accountability for abuses committed in the U.S. &ldquo;war on terror.&rdquo; The Polish Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights had been calling for such an investigation&mdash;and seeking information about Polish knowledge of CIA violations&mdash; since March 2006. In January of 2008 the Polish Helsinki Foundation, with input from the Justice Initiative and pursuant to Poland&rsquo;s 2001 Access to Information Law, filed requests for information regarding Polish collaboration with the CIA&rsquo;s rendition program. In response, in March, the Polish government released some!
  information, the first time that the law had been used to obtain information considered by some to constitute state secrets. In addition, the Polish Helsinki Foundation helped a journalist from a leading Polish weekly to prepare an extensive article about CIA flights. Shortly after this article appeared, the prosecutor finally took action. Click here for a BBC News account of the investigation: <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7581143.stm">http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7581143.stm</a>.<br />
<br />
<strong>Justice Initiative Intervenes in Bosnian Constitution Case</strong><br />
In August, the Justice Initiative submitted to the European Court of Human Rights an amicus brief challenging provisions in the Constitution of Bosnia-Herzegovina that restrict eligibility for high-level political office to certain ethnic groups. According to the constitution, only ethnic Serbs, Croats, and Bosniaks can serve in the Bosnian legislature or as the country&rsquo;s president. The provision excludes members of Bosnia&rsquo;s other ethnic groups, as well as individuals who refuse to be classified by ethnicity. The Justice Initiative&rsquo;s brief, filed in the case of <em>Finci and Sedjic v. Bosnia</em>, argues that the provision is ethnically discriminatory because it privileges dominant ethnic groups while barring ethnic minorities. Click here to read the brief: <a href="http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=104145">http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=104145</a>.<br />
<br />
<strong>German Employment Case Focuses on Religious and Ethnic Discrimination</strong><br />
In July, the Justice Initiative submitted an expert opinion in the case of <em>Diakonische Werk Hamburg v Y. Fadia</em> in Hamburg Regional Labor Court, challenging religious and ethnic discrimination in employment. The case concerns a Christian charity, Diakonische Werk Hamburg (DWK), which refused to hire a non-Christian woman unless she converted to Christianity. The applicant, a German citizen of Turkish ethnic origin, does not observe or practice any religion and refused to convert. The woman was applying for a non-religious position counseling immigrants, as part of a secular advice service that DWK provides on behalf of the German state. DWK acknowledges that the applicant met all substantive requirements for the job. Under German and European Union antidiscrimination law, religious institutions may treat individuals differently on the basis of religion only when religious faith is a genuine occupational requirement for a job, such as that of a pastor or a religious t!
 eacher. But this exception clearly does not apply in the DWK case, the Justice Initiative asserted in its filing. Click here to read the Justice Initiative&rsquo;s brief, available in English or German: <a href="http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=104117">http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=104117</a>.<br />
<br />
<strong>Karadi&#263; Arrest Hailed as a Triumph for Victims and for Justice</strong><br />
The arrest in July of one of the world&rsquo;s most notorious fugitives, Radovan Karadi&#263;, on genocide and other charges, is a milestone in international justice and signifies major if long overdue progress by Serbia, the Justice Initiative said. But Serbia must still move quickly to arrest Karadi&#263;&rsquo;s wartime ally, Ratko Mladi&#263;, to fully stake its claim in the new Europe. &ldquo;Karadi&#263;&rsquo;s arrest is a historic event, which indicates a sea-change in Serbia&rsquo;s commitment to joining its neighbors as a full member of the European Union,&rdquo; said Robert O. Varenik, then acting executive director of the Justice Initiative. &ldquo;Serbia took a great leap forward but now must follow through with the immediate arrest of Mladi&#263;.&rdquo; Karadi&#263; and Mladi&#263; were indicted 13 years ago by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes for their role!
  s as alleged architects of crimes committed during the Bosnian war in the 1990s. With the ICTY set to shut down by 2011, time is running out to bring the men to justice. Click here to read more: <a href="http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=104118">http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=104118</a>. <br />
<br />
<strong>Rights Groups Demand Investigation of CIA&rsquo;s Extraordinary Rendition Program</strong><br />
The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the Justice Initiative met in Berlin in June with lawyers from Germany, Macedonia, and the United Kingdom to discuss the latest developments in the CIA rendition case of German citizen Khaled El Masri.<br />
El Masri was seized by Macedonian authorities on December 31, 2003. He was detained incommunicado for 23 days, then handed over by the Macedonians to CIA agents who videotaped, blindfolded, and injected him with drugs, then flew him in chains to Kabul, Afghanistan. In Kabul he was tortured in a prison that his lawyers believe was the infamous CIA-run &ldquo;Salt Pit&rdquo; detention center. The CIA soon realized they were holding an innocent man, yet El Masri was held for more than four months before being released without charge. On May 28th, 2004, El Masri was flown by the CIA to Albania and dumped on an isolated roadside in the middle of the night. Albanian authorities thereafter placed him on a return flight to Germany. At the meeting, participating attorneys presented further legal actions already filed or being prepared in the United States, Macedonia, and Albania. In addition to the lawsuit against Germany filed in June, these include a petition against the United Sta!
 tes at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, an upcoming criminal complaint in Macedonia, and freedom of information requests in Albania and Macedonia. Click here to learn more:<br />
<a href="http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=104096">http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=104096</a>.<br />
<strong><br />
Groundbreaking Report Assesses Impact of Yugoslavia Tribunal</strong><br />
A report published by the Justice Initiative in May examines the impact of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in Serbia. <em>Shrinking the Space for Denial: The Impact of the ICTY in Serbia</em> is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the court&rsquo;s impact in a country directly affected by its work. The report, by Diane Orentlicher, professor of international law at American University&rsquo;s Washington College of Law and special counsel to the Justice Initiative, was published in conjunction with the fifteenth anniversary of the ICTY&rsquo;s founding.<br />
The 134-page report provides a detailed look at the ICTY&rsquo;s role and challenges in:<br />
&bull;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Dispelling the impunity of Serbians accused of playing a key role in atrocities committed in the Balkan wars of the 1990s;<br />
&bull;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Contributing to Serbian society&rsquo;s progress in acknowledging and condemning Serbian leaders&rsquo; and institutions&rsquo; role in those atrocities; and<br />
&bull;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Strengthening the rule of law in Serbia. <br />
Click here to download the full report: <a href="http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=104091">http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=104091</a>.<br />
<u><br />
LATIN AMERICA</u><br />
<strong><br />
Chile Adopts Historic Law on Transparency and Access to Information&nbsp; </strong><br />
President Michelle Bachelet of Chile promulgated the Law on Transparency and Access to Information on August 11, 2008, culminating a four-year campaign led by long time Justice Initiative partner Pro Acceso. The law recognizes the right to information held by public bodies, significantly narrows areas of exception, obliges public bodies to respond to citizen requests within 20 days and creates a four-person Council for Transparency to implement and interpret the law. Chile now has arguably the strongest access to information law in South America and will be the first country to establish an implementation body. The Justice Initiative provided technical assistance to support Pro Acceso&rsquo;s campaign, which included colloquia, analyses of legislative drafts, forceful advocacy in the mass media, participation in parliamentary discussions, and organization of a British Council-supported study mission to England for legislators and government officials. Of particular importanc!
 e was the 2006 decision of the Inter-American Court in the landmark case of <em>Claude Reyes</em>, in which the court&mdash;citing a joint Pro Acceso-Justice Initiative study&mdash;ruled that Chile was in violation of the American Convention on Human Rights&rsquo; guarantee of the right to information. The court called on Chile&rsquo;s government not only to pass a law but also to train government officers in its implementation. For more on the Claude Reyes case, click here: <a href="http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=103448">http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=103448</a>. <br />
<strong><br />
Report Issues Stinging Indictment of News Censorship, Abuse of Public Money, across Latin America</strong><br />
Government interference with press freedom threatens editorial independence and access to unbiased news in seven Latin American countries, according to a report released in August. The new report&mdash;jointly produced by the Association for Civil Rights, an Argentine human rights organization, and the Justice Initiative&mdash;catalogues abuses in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Peru, and Uruguay, including the widespread use of public funds to reward or punish news coverage. Authorities in Latin America have long used violence, legal harassment, and intimidation to silence outspoken journalists. <em>The Price of Silence: The Growing Threat of Soft Censorship in Latin America</em> uncovers a less obvious but growing trend of officials using financial incentives and regulatory powers to control the press. The 200-page report documents various types of interference, including evidence of direct government payments to journalists in Colombia and Peru; local au!
 thorities in Chile dictating what journalists can write about; and high-ranking government officials in Costa Rica attempting to use radio and newspaper advertising contracts to influence the outcome of a protracted political battle. The report is available online in Spanish or English at: <a href="http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=104124">http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=104124</a>.<br />
<strong><br />
Inter-American Commission Orders Protective Measures for Victim of Arbitrary Deprivation of Nationality </strong><br />
In August, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights granted the Justice Initiative&rsquo;s request for precautionary measures in the case of Emildo Bueno, a Dominican citizen of Haitian descent whose public fight against arbitrary deprivation of his nationality resulted in threats and physical harm to him and his family. The commission granted the request of the Justice Initiative and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) to order the government of the Dominican Republic to investigate thoroughly attacks on the Bueno family and to provide them with security protection. The commission&rsquo;s agreement to extend precautionary measures is the latest indication of international human rights bodies&rsquo; growing concern about discrimination in access to nationality in the Dominican Republic. Click here for more information, in Spanish: <a href="http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=104146">http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=1!
 04146</a>.<br />
<br />
<u>NORTH AMERICA</u><br />
<br />
<strong>U.S. Senate Hears Justice Initiative Testimony on Crimes against Humanity</strong><br />
In June, Justice Initiative Special Counsel Diane Orentlicher provided expert testimony on crimes against humanity to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee&rsquo;s Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law. Noting that &ldquo;United States law does not yet proscribe crimes against humanity,&rdquo; Orentlicher stated: &ldquo;I urge this subcommittee to produce legislation making crimes against humanity a federal crime and establishing a jurisdiction to prosecute such crimes.&rdquo; Orentlicher&rsquo;s full testimony, which examines American leadership in defining the concept of crimes against humanity and explores recent and current examples of such crimes, is available here: <a href="http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=104147">http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=104147</a>.<br />
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<em>Note: This report describes activities undertaken by the Open Society Justice Initiative, an operational program of the Open Society Institute, in accordance with regulations applicable to 501(c)(3) organizations. It also describes activities carried out and funded by the Open Society Policy Center (a 501(c)(4) organization).</em><br />
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The URL for this page is: <a href="http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=104148">http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=104148</a>.</font></font><em><em></em></em></font></p>
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<div><em>The Open Society Justice Initiative, an operational program of the <a title="http://www.soros.org/" target="_blank" href="http://www.soros.org/"><span>Open Society Institute (OSI)</span></a>, pursues law reform activities grounded in the protection of human rights, and contributes to the development of legal capacity for open societies worldwide. The Justice Initiative combines litigation, legal advocacy, technical assistance, and the dissemination of knowledge to secure advances in the following priority areas: anticorruption, equality and citizenship, freedom of information and expression, international justice and national criminal justice. Its offices are in Abuja, Budapest, London, New York and Washington DC.</em></div>
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