Law and Conscience Project

Statements of Concern

Global Assistance

Lawyers At Risk in China

Justice For Women

Underground Railroad

 

Global Legal Assistance

HRLF also provides assistance to other attorneys involved in the litigation of human rights cases. These include dozens of human rights cases filed in such countries as the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Korea, Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada, Taiwan and Athens.

Recent Highlights

Several Judges have issued preliminary favorable opinions. These include:

Argentina

HRLF has assisted in a case filed in Argentina against Luo Gan, Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the People’s Republic of China, Director of the Committee for Politicians and the Law, and Vice-director and Direct Coordinator of the Office for Controlling Falun Gong 610. When the case came before Magistrate Judge Octavio Aráoz de Lamadrid of the National Federal Criminal and Correctional Court No. 9, the judge, although ultimately forwarding the case to the National Supreme Court of Justice, issued several important statements regarding the status of crimes against humanity in international and domestic law. Judge Aráoz de Lamadrid found that there was universal jurisdiction over crimes against humanity committed extraterritorially, and that these violations of human rights should be judged pursuant to the domestic law of Argentina (which incorporates international law) and principles of jus cogens in international law. Judge Aráoz  de Lamadrid continued, finding that the Argentine State had a duty not only to respect, but also to guarantee human rights, and that the State is complicit in the crimes if it fails to use due diligence in preventing or adjudicating human rights violations. The court found that States have a duty to prevent, investigate, and punish human rights and that failure to do so by reference to national law is a violation of this duty. The court therefore refused to follow the Justice Department’s recommendation to dismiss the case, and it did so on the grounds that the State has a duty to prosecute violators of crimes against humanity.  The Supreme Court referred the case back to Judge Lamadrid, allowing him to continue with his investigation. Judge Lamadrid has investigated the case with tenacity, interviewing witnesses in many different countries, and adding Jiang Zemin as a defendant in the case. The case is currently pending before Judge Lamadrid.

Israel

HRLF has assisted in a case filed by Falun Gong practitioners against the government of the People’s Republic of China before the Israeli Sanhedrin in 2007. The Sanhedrin refused to dismiss the claim on the basis of diplomatic immunity, holding that immunity only binds states and that the Sanhedrin, which is “not an agent of the government of Israel,” is not bound by principles of immunity but rather by “a living body of Law and Morals.” The Sanhedrin also refused the Chinese Embassy’s request to dismiss the case based on China’s assistance to the Jewish people during World War II. The Sanhedrin distinguished between the Chinese nation and the government of the nation, and wrote that the court has a duty to examine the “alleged suffering of a large segment of the Chinese people.” It made parallels between the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China and the persecution of the Jews at the hands of the Nazis during World War II. In reaching its conclusions, the court refused to adhere to “normal rules of procedure and evidence” and accepted indirect, hearsay, and circumstantial evidence from a variety of sources, including a letter submitted by HRLF. The court concluded that China must assure the minimum liberties guaranteed by morality and Chinese law and must allow missions to China to investigate China’s compliance with human rights norms. It also held that China’s human rights violations should be settled before the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, or those nations and athletes participating in the games will be indicating their indifference to the human rights violations in China and their support for China’s suppression of Falun Gong and other unpopular groups. In this regard, the Sanhedrin drew a parallel between the 2008 Olympic Games and 1936 Olympic Games in Germany, writing, “the participation of many nations in the 1936 Olympic Games in Germany under Hitler was interpreted as consent to his regime.” It continued, “Ignoring the spilling of the blood of innocent people may even encourage more bloodshed,” and it found that participation in the 2008 Olympics was an indirect danger to world peace.

See, http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/world/the-sanhedrin-stands-against-persecution-of-falun-gong-1542.html.

Tibet Case

HRLF collaborated with the Comite de Apoyo al Tibet to file supplemental material on behalf of Tibetan victims from Aba Tibet.

KG v. Lian Guanglie et al.

The COMITE DE APOYO AL TIBET (CAT) filed a criminal case on behalf of Tibetans subjected to torture, extrajudicial killing, disappearance, and other human rights abuses in Lhasa, China, with the Central Court of the Audiencia Nacional on [date]. The defendants in the case are: Lian Guanglie, current Defense Minister of China and member of the Central Military Commission; Gang Huichang, Minister of State Security and Vice Minister of Security; Zhang Qingli, Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party in the Autonomous Region of Tibet; Wang Lequan, member of the Politburo in Bejing; Li Dezhu, Director of the Ethnic Affairs Commission; General Tong Guishan, commander of the PLA in Lhasa; General Zhan Guihia, Political Commissar of the military command of Chengdu; and Meg Jianzhu, current Minister of Public Security and member of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party. Judge Santiago Pedraz Gomez accepted the case on January 11, 2006.

In March 2009, HRLF filed additional material to the Court with CAT on behalf of HRLF’s client KG, the brother of a Tibetan nomad who was summarily executed by the local police under the direct orders of the Defense Minister of China, the Minister of State Security, the Minister of Public Security, and several other of the defendants named above. Judge Santiago Pedraz Gomez accepted KG’s case soon thereafter. Based on these and other submissions, the Judge issued an international rogatory commission to the Minister of Justice of the PRC based on the Treaty of Judicial Assistance in Criminal Matters between Spain and China, dated July 21, 2005, instructing the Minister of Justice of China to inform the defendants: (1) of the Court’s acceptance of the cases against them based on their purported participation in the perpetration of crimes against humanity, (2) that their cases are being investigated by the Court, (3) that they have a right to defend themselves according to Spanish law, and (4) that they must provide an address where they can be notified by the Court. The Judge additionally requested authorization from the Chinese Ministry of Justice to permit their judicial commission to go to China to question the defendants directly should they refuse to come to Spain to testify before the Court.

 

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