Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Ingrid Burke, Pitt Law '11, traveled to the ICTR in Tanzania with Professor Charles Jalloh through Pitt Law's Center for International Legal Education...
The ICTR was created in 1994 by the United Nations Security Council to prosecute violations of international law committed during the Rwandan genocide. To date, the ICTR Trial Chambers have completed the trials of 50 accused individuals and are in various stages of completing an additional 16 trials. At present, 11 fugitives remain at large. The ICTR Appeals Chamber in the Hague has completed the trials of 31 accused individuals and expects to complete another 19 trials by the end of 2013. While the Appeals Chamber has another two and a half years to reduce its caseload, the ICTR's trial chamber has only until the end of 2011, in accordance with the Tribunal's most recent Report on the completion strategy of the ICTR (closure report). This leaves open an important question: are Rwandan courts suitable for the transfer of lower to mid-level, at-large indictees?
Even before visiting the ICTR, I had formed an opinion on this question. While Rwanda's ability to fairly try and punish genocide defendants has been debated in recent years, I believed that it would be most beneficial for the Tribunal to transfer its remaining lower to mid-level cases to Rwanda's national jurisdiction upon closure. While Prosecutor Jallow reaffirmed this belief, it was challenged by representatives of the defense counsel.
Procedurally, the ICTR has primary jurisdiction over individuals charged with genocide, war crimes, and
crimes against humanity. While Rwandan courts may exercise jurisdiction over genocide suspects by indicting and prosecuting them, the ICTR retains the right to request the transfer of such individuals to its chambers for prosecution. This broad jurisdictional grant was deemed necessary for the sake of uniformity and the Tribunal's ultimate effectiveness. However, the ICTR now has an interest in transferring cases of lower to mid-level indictees to the Rwandan national courts due to its impending closure. Key ICTR officials have manifested this interest in both express and implied actions. For instance, Prosecutor Jallow sought to refer five cases to Rwandan national courts, but in each case, the Prosecutor's transfer request was denied on the basis of fair trial concerns. The ICTR has also implied a desire to transfer appropriate cases to Rwandan national courts pending reform of the country's judicial system. The Prosecutor and the Tribunal's president have given speeches on the topic, and the ICTR has published press releases concerning its efforts to rebuild the Rwandan judicial system.
The ICTR's interest in transferring cases to Rwandan courts can also be traced to evolving language in the ICTR's Rules of Procedure and Evidence (RPE). The RPE were amended to include Rule 11 bis, which gives the Tribunal discretion to transfer cases to appropriate national jurisdictions. Rule 11 bis serves the dual purpose of granting the Tribunal jurisdiction over the most notorious indictees while allowing it to reduce its caseload by transferring indictees charged with less serious crimes to other jurisdictions. In the rule's original form, there were only a few jurisdictions designated as appropriate for the transfer of ICTR cases. In its amended form, Rule 11 bis establishes three options for transferring cases at the ICTR President's discretion. The ICTR may transfer the case to the state where the crime was committed, the state where the defendant was arrested, or a state that has jurisdiction and is willing and able to hear the case. The language of Rule 11 bis has changed several times since being added to the RPE, and each evolution seems to be intended to ease the transfer of cases to Rwanda.
As mentioned above, the Prosecutor has unsuccessfully attempted to transfer cases to Rwanda's national courts on five separate occasions. These cases were rejected for several reasons, including concerns over the appropriateness and applicability of punishments for genocide, the adequacy of protection for defense witnesses, witnesses' ability to enter Rwanda to testify, and ethnic biases that could affect the trials' impartiality. Nevertheless, when I asked Prosecutor Jallow about future attempts to transfer cases to Rwanda under Rule 11 bis, he seemed confident that the cases would be accepted. At the time, he had planned to file another Rule 11 bis case early this summer. However, according to the most recent closure report, he now expects to hold off on filing a new Rule 11 bis request for the transfer of cases to Rwanda until the end of 2010:
Consultations are ongoing with Rwanda with a view to resolving a number of issues related to witness protection and other matters raised by the Trial Chambers and the Appeals Chamber in their decisions on prior requests for referrals under Rule 11 bis. The Prosecutor intends to file further applications for referral of fugitives' cases to Rwanda. It is expected that the applications will be made towards the last quarter of 2010.Some of the concerns surrounding the original transfer requests have been alleviated, as the Tribunal recently trained Rwandan legal professionals and established a witness protection program with video link capabilities. However, the recent arrest of American defense counsel and JURIST Forum contributor Peter Erlinder may have thrown the Prosecutor's plans into disarray.
The Tribunal's various defense teams were less assured about Rwanda's capacity to fairly adjudicate cases. They expressed concern about the fairness of trials, citing a well-documented trend of difficulties faced by defense counsel in locating and obtaining evidence. Rwanda also has a history of witness intimidation and harassment, which poses a serious threat to defense teams and their ability to fairly advocate for their clients.
The ICTR is currently divided on the issue of case transfers. On the one hand, Rule 11 bis seems to be constructed with the intention of ultimately transferring cases to Rwanda. On the other hand, the language of Rule 11 bis is contradicted by case law, i.e., the five previous refusals of Rule 11 bis cases.
In light of Rwanda's progress, concern expressed by defense counsel, while well-founded, is likely outdated. In reality, the ICTR has done a great deal to address the problems that led to fair trial concerns in the five previous Rule 11 bis cases. Accordingly, it is my opinion that transfer of the Tribunal's lower to mid-level cases to Rwanda is in the best interest of both Rwanda and the international community. As a consequence of the genocide, Rwanda's government was dismantled, and afterward, the judiciary was forced to rebuild. Since the end of violence, the Tribunal has played an active role in rebuilding Rwanda's institutions by providing funding, training, and promises of future monitoring. If Rwanda accepts the transfer cases, its judicial infrastructure will become more stable and experienced. In turn, judicial stability will promote reconciliation and peace, because the judiciary has proven itself as the sole governmental body capable of treating the issues that have plagued the country's recent past. Rwandan courts will also have easier access to evidence and witnesses than the ICTR. Currently, there are costs associated with transporting witnesses and evidence from Rwanda to Tanzania. In addition to wasting money and prolonging the judicial process, these costs could be burdensome for other jurisdictions if Rwanda declines to accept the transfer cases. Finally, there are public policy grounds for supporting the transfers of suitable cases to Rwanda. The international community's recognition of Rwanda's judicial and political stability will promote foreign investment and trade, thereby facilitating economic growth and, ultimately, domestic business and entrepreneurship.
The international community will benefit from the transfer of cases to Rwanda, as well. A successful closure to the ICTR would constitute a welcome return on the international community's investment, since the ICTR has been funded by foreign governments since its inception. Furthermore, it would lend legitimacy to international criminal tribunals. Prior to 1994, tribunals like the ICTR and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) did not exist. The United Nations Security Council based these tribunals' creation on its Chapter VII power to take non-military action to restore international peace and security. This was a tenuous basis for authority, and there was a significant risk that the tribunals' legitimacy would be challenged. However, the tribunals have had many successes, and their legacies have important implications for the future of international criminal law. The satisfaction of the Security Council's original goals of national reconciliation and restored peace in Rwanda would set an important precedent for the effective adjudication of future international atrocities.
While it is impossible to predict the outcome of the Prosecutor's Rule 11 bis case, I side with Prosecutor Jallow in hoping that it will be successfully transferred to Rwanda. This is in the best interest of both the Rwandan judiciary's stability and the benefit of international criminal law in the future.
Photos: David Kaplan
Monday, June 28, 2010
Brittany Conkle, Pitt Law '10, recently visited the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania, as part of a program sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and the Center for International Legal Education. She shares her perspective...
While I would normally classify my luck as uneven to bad, my fortune changed when the University of Pittsburgh hired Professor Charles C. Jalloh before the start of my third year. Professor Jalloh has worked as counsel in the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Section of the Canadian Department of Justice and as the Legal Advisor to the Office of the Principal Defender at the Special Court for Sierra Leone. In addition, he has clerked for two judges at the ICTR and has written insightful scholarly articles on many topics. Given his impressive accomplishments, when I saw that Professor Jalloh was teaching an International Criminal Law Seminar in my last semester as a law student, I couldn't sign up fast enough. At that time, I was unaware that there would be a special component to the class: an optional trip to the ICTR in Arusha, Tanzania, over spring break. This was not just a sightseeing trip with a few hours spent at the ICTR. Rather, it was planned down to the minute and included lectures and presentations from every department of the Tribunal, in addition to informal opportunities to meet other young lawyers and ask questions about their experiences as interns at the Tribunal.
Our meeting with the Chief Prosecutor was scheduled for our first day in Arusha. We could tell that he was coming before he even made it down the hall to our conference room. There was a flurry of activity outside the door, a woman instructed us to stand when he entered, and the sound of swishing robes filled the room. Then, suddenly, there he was, a tall man with traditional Gambian robes and an inviting smile. While I'm fairly certain that all of us were nervous to be meeting with him, we were put at ease when we noticed that the Chief Prosecutor didn't seem to take himself, or the trappings of his office, too seriously.
I knew that we had only twenty minutes to meet with the Prosecutor, as he was only scheduled to briefly introduce us to the prosecution's perspective on the ICTR before leaving to attend to other business. Professor Jalloh had stressed to us that the Chief Prosecutor is exceptionally busy and that we were lucky to get any time with him. After all, this is a man who must make extremely difficult prosecutorial decisions regarding genocide and other crimes against humanity on a daily basis. Knowing all of this, I assumed that the Prosecutor would breeze in, briefly welcome us to Arusha and the Tribunal, and then go about his busy day.
However, Chief Prosecutor Jallow started the meeting by asking us to introduce ourselves. We went around the room, stated our names and, as prompted by the Prosecutor, named our specific interests in law. I was the first to introduce myself, and thought I could get by with just my name. "And would you like to work in international criminal law when you finish your schooling?" he asked. I blurted out the first thing that came to mind: "I'd actually like to work here." Inwardly, I cringed, but the Prosecutor just smiled and chuckled in a way unique to those who hire others for very desirable positions.
The Prosecutor's opening remarks centered on the ICTR and prosecution's accomplishments to date, in addition to the ICTR's goals for the future. The Prosecutor outlined the prosecution's present focus: to finish the cases remaining on the ICTR's docket, to continue tracking the eleven remaining fugitives from justice and encourage state cooperation in arresting them, to continue working with the Rwandan judiciary in preparation for the transfer of cases to Rwanda, and to preserve evidence in cases against those who have not yet been arrested. In the interest of preserving evidence for future cases, the Prosecutor can now call witnesses prior to trial in order to record their testimony in case of the witnesses' death or unavailability when the fugitive is finally apprehended. Of course, the witness is cross-examined by a lawyer from the defense, as well.
After his remarks, the Prosecutor opened the floor to questions from our group. He answered questions on the disclosure problems existing within the ICTR, as witnesses regularly provide information relevant to many separate cases that must be discovered and disclosed. He also spoke of the problems that the ICTR has faced in relocating witnesses and the difficulty of getting countries to accept them. Finally, he talked about the improvement of Rwanda's judicial system and his hope that the Tribunal judges will allow cases to be transferred to Rwanda.
I could tell from the rapt expressions around the room that the other visitors were also enjoying this rare opportunity to hear from someone who makes such difficult decisions. But what made the meeting truly exciting was that the Prosecutor really seemed to enjoy himself. He encouraged our questions, gave thoughtful and seemingly candid answers, and appeared thoroughly interested in what eleven law students from the University of Pittsburgh had to say. As a result, twenty minutes turned into forty-five. It was only after he finally left the room and we all exhaled that we realized our good fortune. It is a rare opportunity to spend time with a man who is changing and advancing international criminal law every day in his capacity as Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Kristine Long, Jurist Student Staff Association (JSSA) President, Pitt Law '11, attended the First Annual JSSA Debate...
The two participants, Jeffrey Addicott, Director of the Center for Terrorism Law at St. Mary's University of Law and Susan Herman, President of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), have written prolifically on national security and terrorism issues. Both have been featured writers on JURIST's Forum service, and it was incredibly fortunate to have both speak about the relevant legal changes in terrorism law. At the beginning of the debate, I incorrectly assumed that the speakers would hold opposing views based on their respective organizations. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Addicott and Herman had common concerns and beliefs about terrorism and national security.
Professor Addicott launched the debate with a single question: "Are we at war?" If so, he argued, the United States under both Presidents Bush and Obama has acted in accordance with the laws of war with respect to its treatment of enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Addicott said that if the United States is not at war, then the government's actions are illegal and in violation of both domestic and international law. He argued that the United States is indeed at war and said that it is within the President's power to make war under Article I of the Constitution. He further cited a September 20, 2001 address to Congress in which President Bush made clear that the 9/11 attacks were an act of war and that the US government would respond with a War on Terror against Al Qaeda. In addition, he said, both Congress and the Supreme Court have acknowledged a state of war with the creation and affirmation of decisions rendered by Military Tribunals, which are permitted only during times of war.
But even if the question of whether the United States is at war is binary, the process by which the United States finds and tries enemy combatants is not as simple.
This murky and vague process is exactly what concerns Professor Herman. While she does not necessarily question whether the US is at war, she is troubled by the scope with which the US applies its traditional war powers to a non-traditional enemy. In the past, she said, war and enemies were readily discernible - enemies wore distinct uniforms and countries formally declared war on one another. However, terrorism and terrorists do not fit this traditional paradigm. The concern posed by Professor Herman, in response to Professor Addicott's question, is: "What are the limits to the United States' war powers? She said that under the guise of its state of war in Afghanistan, the United States can detain American and foreign citizens, both domestically and internationally. She said that by labeling citizens "enemy combatants," the United States can question and detain them for years with limited rights. Yet, Professor Herman wonders, if the international legal community cannot cohesively define a terrorist act, how can it begin to define the term "enemy combatant"? She did not disagree with Professor Addicott's state-of-war analysis, but she was adamant that the US needed to establish a transparent process by which citizens or enemy combatants can receive a fair trial and due process.
Despite some diverging opinions, both Addicott and Herman agreed that there are differences between criminal and terrorist acts and that the legal community has yet to clearly distinguish between the two extremes. Both participants cited anecdotal evidence that is troubling to either side: a college student was detained and questioned in an airport for merely having Arabic flashcards whereas detainees found innocent and released went on to commit terrorist acts.
Currently, governments are at odds as to how to combat the War on Terror with traditional legal principles, and the US Supreme Court continues to wrestle with the issue of what constitutes fair process. In the cases Hamdi v. Rumsfeld and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the Court failed to form a majority opinion as to the proper legal position courts should take with respect to enemy combatants. The cases did hold, however, that US citizens have the right to challenge their detention on the basis of due process. In contrast, under the Geneva Conventions, the government has the right to indefinitely detain non-citizens until the end of the war.
The speakers' questions illuminated the difficult task governments and legislatures have in creating terrorism policy. While the participants did not take completely opposite positions, there does appear to be tension between robust national security and individual civil liberties. In my opinion, the two principles must be balanced, but such a balancing act has eluded this government for generations. As Alexander Hamilton stated in Federalist No. 8, "safety from external danger is the most powerful director of national conduct. Even the ardent love of liberty will, after a time, give way to its dictates." In maintaining that balance, our government must be aware of the consequences of moving too far in either direction.
The questions posed by legal scholars and governments are integral to how the general public perceives the war on terror. Thus, informed public debates such as this one are vitally important to maintaining America's legal tradition of a marketplace of ideas. The dissemination of information is a positive step toward properly addressing the murky issues of terrorism and national security.
Friday, June 18, 2010
Sara Burhan Abdullah, Pitt Law LLM '08 and JD '11, was an observer to the Iraqi Constitutional Review Committee through the University of Utah Quinney School of Law's Global Justice Project: Iraq. She shares her experiences with the issue of environmental protection in Iraq...
The debate occurred within the Constitutional Review Committee while it was considering revision of the federal and regional governments' shared powers under Article 114 of the Constitution [PDF]. The Kurdish representative argued strongly that the Kurdish region should have the sole power to monitor and protect its environment. On the other hand, the federal government argued that primary responsibility for drafting environmental policy should be federal, although implementation could be left to the regions. The CRC members debated this single point for over an hour, with each side attempting to grab as much power as possible. While the Kurdish region has enjoyed some autonomy from the Iraqi central government since 1991, the issue of Kurdish political autonomy is historically contentious and continues to be politically sensitive. As a result, the issue of environmental protection had become a political tug of war between the country's two main governmental authorities - the central government in Baghdad and the Kurdish regional government based in Erbil.
The debate's contentiousness is not surprising given the sensitivity surrounding the proper allocation of power between the Iraqi central government and the Kurdish regional government. The irony, however, is that in the legal context of environmental policy, the tug-of-war between the two governments was over a fiction. Neither the Kurdish nor the federal government has a real environmental protection policy.
The absence of an environmental protection policy is not due to a lack of laws regulating the environment. Both the federal government and the Kurdish region have passed laws and regulations for environmental protection. The Iraqi Parliament recently enacted Law No. 27 of 2009 [PDF, Arabic], For the Improvement and Protection of Environment, issued in Official Gazette No. 4142 of 2010. This detailed and strict law sets forth punishments for companies and individuals that violate environmental standards. It also upheld and affirmed existing regulations that outline environmental standards in specific detail. The Kurdish region has a similar law, No. 8 of 2008 [PDF, Arabic].
Yet, the reality of environmental protection is somewhat different. While the committee members were in the midst of their debate, I had mental images familiar to every Iraqi currently living in Baghdad -- the Tigris River filled with trash, untreated sewage, and garbage, all in violation of Law 27. In the Kurdish region, the situation is hardly different. The lovely mountains of the Kurdish region, where Iraqis picnic on the weekends, are invariably covered with trash, and thousands of empty bottles lie in unsightly piles on green fields. I started to laugh as I listened to the members' heated arguments, since the passion surrounding policy control was in apparent ignorance of the reality of the country's neglected, serious environmental condition. There just does not seem to be the political will to take the actions necessary to implement a real environmental policy.
The session ended that day with the members having made no progress, divided as ever over who should control a non-existent policy. I decided to prepare a brief documentary report for the committee by taking photos of the country's environment. I wanted the committee to look at environmental problems across the country and then develop a policy or plan to implement and enforce existing laws and related regulations in areas clearly under their control, whether Baghdad for the federal government or Sulaymaniya for the Kurdish government. Then a fight over policy might make more sense. Federalism had become such a sensitive issue that it was provoking debates over who could exercise authority in an area of law - environmental protection - where neither government seemed anxious to actually act.
I tried to take some photos of the part of the Tigris River that upset me the most - an area near Baghdad's Historic "Suspension Bridge" that I crossed every day, hoping for a nice and relaxing view of the river but instead finding floating garbage and empty bottles. Unfortunately, security regulations prevented me from taking a photograph of the river from that point. I could only secretly take photos of other areas of the river that were farther from checkpoints or other military bases or police stations. Then, during a trip to visit my family in Sulaymaniya, in the heart of the Kurdish region, I had the chance to take photos of the Azmar Mountain's most beautiful picnic area, which is covered by thousands of empty bottles and trash. Some of these photos can be seen in this article, but sadly, I never had the opportunity to submit them to the committee. The committee never met regularly again, and as election time neared, the members became occupied with their reelection.
The litter I saw on the mountains and in the streams represents only a small part of the environmental problems faced by the Iraqi people. The Iraqi government, both regional and federal, has failed to address these problems and other environmental concerns such as the consequences of Saddam Hussein's use of chemical weapons. All contribute to Iraq's water, air, and soil pollution, and affect the health of Iraqi people.
These problems require urgent action by some authority, regional or national. I hope that a younger and more assertive generation will ask more from its leaders and demand that they take a step toward bringing actual policy into force, rather than arguing about who is responsible.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Ekaterina Sivolobova, a student in the Faculty of Law at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, writes about the problem of legal impunity in Uruguay...
The amnesty law of Uruguay, Law 15.848, is also known as the "Ley de Caducidad" (Expiry Law) and was enacted in December 1986 as a result of an agreement between the political parties and the military. This amnesty law has prevented the investigation and adjudication of Uruguay's military and police for illegal detentions, systematic tortures, killings, and forced disappearances committed during the country's civil-military dictatorship.
By enacting the Expiry Law, Uruguay has certainly violated international human rights principles and treaties signed and ratified by the state. The Expiry Law violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the American Convention of Human Rights, and the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture.
The Expiry Law disregards fundamental legal rights. It obstructs investigations, prevents access to justice, and violates the right to be heard by a competent, independent, and impartial tribunal. Additionally, it contravenes the right to judicial protection by not guaranteeing victims and their families protection against acts that violated fundamental rights recognized by Uruguay's constitution. The Expiry Law also prevents access to the truth, frustrating the investigation of violations of the rights to life, liberty, and physical and psychological integrity. Furthermore, Articles 3 and 4 of the Expiry Law grant the executive the authority to decide, without the right of appeal, whether cases filed in Uruguay's courts would be subject to the Expiry Law. This is in direct contravention of the principle of separation of powers embodied in the Uruguay Constitution. By enacting this law and perpetuating it for 24 years, Uruguay has both guaranteed complete impunity from prosecution for crimes committed during the dictatorship and ignored its obligations as a state.
Nevertheless, there have been two attempts to use the referendum provision set forth in Article 79 of Uruguay's constitution to overturn the Expiry Law. Article 79 establishes the right to call for a referendum on a given law, and is an institutionalized form of direct democracy that permits the citizenry to enact or nullify a law. On April 1989, the first referendum was called on the legitimacy of the Expiry Law, which had been enacted four years earlier. By a popular vote, the Expiry Law was upheld with 57% of the votes in its favor. This disappointing decision was attributed to the then-current transition to democracy, institutional instability, and tensions between the military and civilian government. As a result of this referendum, human rights violations and criminal impunity went unaddressed for 20 years.
A second referendum on the Expiry Law was called on October 25, 2009. Once again, the referendum failed to pass, with 53% of the votes supporting its validity and 47% calling for its nullification. This result has been attributed to Uruguayans' ignorance of the referendum due to a lack of information available in the media. The continued validity of the Expiry Law has been a disappointment to the victims of the Uruguayan dictatorship and their families. However, as Jose Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch, has said, "the plebiscite results are disappointing, but let's not forget that accountability is not a popularity contest that should be decided by majorities, [...] Uruguay has an international legal obligation to investigate, prosecute, and try those responsible for heinous crimes, and the courts should continue to prosecute appropriate cases."
After two failed attempts to overturn the Expiry Law through referendums, opponents have discussed other possibilities. Currently, the discussion has centered on whether this law could or should be reinterpreted, derogated, or declared null and void. Without addressing the implications of international human rights law, the discussion persists due to different political interests. Because these three options vary widely in legal effect, it is important to clearly understand each when considering Uruguay's obligations.
A reinterpretation of the Expiry Law would examine and clarify the law's textual meaning. Generally, reinterpretation presupposes different or contradictory interpretations and applications among courts. Until 2005, however, Uruguay's Expiry Law had been interpreted and applied uniformly. Nevertheless, if this law were to be reinterpreted, its new reading would only take effect from that date forward, with no application to previously concluded cases. Those cases would remain covered by the amnesty law. Furthermore, reinterpretation would not nullify the Expiry Law, but rather affirm its validity and purpose. Because re interpretation of the Expiry Law would result in the law's continued legal force, it should not be considered a serious option.
A second option is to derogate the Expiry Law. Derogation would result in the Expiry Law's cancellation and prevent its application to future cases. However, just like reinterpretation, derogation would not have any effect on previously concluded cases. Furthermore, to derogate the amnesty law would imply that the law has legal status, whereas the Expiry Law should not be given any legal credence. Because derogation of the Expiry Law would preserve prior legal impunity, it should also be rejected.
The third option is to declare the Expiry Law null and void. This would imply that the amnesty law, because it violates jus cogens (compelling law) norms, is, and always has been, illegitimate. Therefore, nullification of the amnesty law would extinguish all of its effects, including decisions from previous cases. This would return to victims the right to truth, the right to justice, and the right to reparations. As a result, I hope that nullification is the course chosen by Uruguay.
Nullification is a valid option, as the Uruguayan Constitution gives the legislature the power to issue new laws, modify existing ones, and declare laws unconstitutional. Using this power, Uruguay's legislature has previously declared at least 2 laws null and void, setting a precedent for nullification of the Expiry Law.
The Expiry Law's 20 year history in Uruguay has constituted a continuous violation of human rights, contravening fundamental rights granted by the Constitution and by the international human rights treaties to which Uruguay is a party. Uruguay has an obligation to remove all obstacles to the investigation and punishment of those responsible for the tortures, killings, illegal detentions, and forced disappearances during the dictatorship - including those cases that have already been decided. Uruguay must adopt the necessary legislative measures to comply with international standards and provide retributive and restorative justice to the victims of the Uruguayan civil-military dictatorship.
Photos: Ekaterina Porras Sivolobova
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