July 28, 2023Jurisdiction RISE Coalition Rise Coalition
On Friday the 21st of July, the Rise Coalition and Rights & Security International (RSI) hosted a webinar on Effective Investigations into Killings. Led by RSIs Team Lead on International Civic Space, Simón Hurtado Delgado, and moderated by Jacob Smith, RSIs UK Accountability Team Lead, the event saw Dr Nazia Latif, Fausto Salvadori, Daniel Holder, Julio Poveda and Diana Freed share their insights and experiences on best practices for CSOs advocating for law enforcement action.
Dr Nazia Latif, RSIs Northern Ireland Consultant, kicked the session off with a discussion of investigations in a post-conflict society. Anchoring her presentation on the case of Jordan v UK 2003 (37 EHRR 2) which was taken to the European Court of Human Rights, Nazia discussed the important principles of prompt and transparent investigations which also involved victims' families. Unfortunately, 20 years after 3 inquests into Jordan’s death no effective investigations have been carried out. Nazia also discussed the transformative roles civil society organisations played in advocating with and on behalf of victims and their families amidst an underfunded environment. She stated the credibility CSOs gained in the Northern Ireland context by taking an apolitical stance. This would later enable them to engage in other approaches such as using interlocutors across divides to carry out investigations which confirmed incidents of collusion with state agencies.
Fausto Salvadori, founder of Rise Coalition partner Ponte Journalismo in Brazil, followed with his presentation and analysis of a failing justice system unable to carry out investigations. Fausto began by acknowledging the mothers at the frontline of pursuing justice, paying homage to the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo in Argentina. He then proceeded to contextualising the racial nature of police killings in Brazil. According to statistics, 83% of people killed by the police are black people with policing centred around the control and suppression of poor black people in favelas. Their financial means also make it difficult to pursue justice and investigations. Fausto also highlighted the systemic issues in the justice system where public prosecutors believe that police brutality is necessary to deal with crime in Brazil and are therefore reluctant to investigate crimes committed by police. Fausto also shared his experiences of using journalism and media to create transparency by documenting stories of police brutality. Ponte Journalismo is currently carrying out investigations on police violence across different states in Brazil to paint a clear picture of police killings in the country.
Daniel Holder, Director of the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ), took us back to the Northern Ireland context discussing CAJ action in the 1980s. Continuing the thread of impunity from the previous presentation he detailed how in the first few years of the conflict there were around 200 people shot dead by the military and yet there were 0 convictions, 0 prosecutions and 0 police investigations into the killings. Daniel highlighted CAJ action working with families to gather evidence as they could not rely on police to do so. This evidence gathered was extremely useful in historical cases that had not been subjected to effective investigations. Daniel also talked about the progress that has seen strong accountability within policing and prosecution embedded through procedural duties and the reliance on. He stressed the need for vigilance by civil society amidst ongoing intimidation of lawyers and human rights defenders.
Finally, Julio Povedo and Diana Freed, RSIs Consultants on digital security, talked through digital security awareness even as CSOs engaged in work to ensure effective investigations into killings through threat modelling, establishing security programs (defence in depth) and employee education. Julio and Diana also provided tips to ensure the information CSOs gather in the process of carrying out investigations into unlawful killings are kept safe and secure.
RSI would like to thank all the panellists for their insightful contributions and participants for their engagement. You can watch the full webinar here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55vrJGv5ZRM
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