Mr. Reinhold Hanning at his trial ©AFP/Getty Images
Today, the Detmold Court in Germany sentenced Mr. Reinhold Hanning to five years in jail for his former role as a guard at Auschwitz from 1942 to 1944. The 94-year-old was found guilty of being an accessory to the murder of at least 170,000 people. Mr. Hannig had acnkowledged that he knew what was happening in the camp but that he did nothing to stop it.
During the trial, about a dozen Auschwitz survivors testified. Mr. Hanning told the court “I am ashamed that I saw injustice and never did anything about it and I apologise for my actions. I am very, very sorry.”
Until 2011, German prosecutors were required to provide evidence that defendants were directly involved in the killings. That changed with the conviction of John Demjanjuk, when a judge concluded that his activities as a camp worker in Nazi-occupied Poland amounted to complicity in mass murder.
Durham Law School seeks to appoint a Chair/Reader in Criminal Law. Durham Law School welcomes applications from exceptional scholars with research and teaching interests in the broad field of Criminal Law. Expertise in criminal evidence or gender/feminist perspectives would be advantageous.
The appointee would be invited to play a leading role in the Centre for Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, which seeks to support research collaboration and engagement within and beyond the university.
Successful applicants will, ideally, be in post by 1 September 2016. Applicants should clearly state in their application for which post or posts they wish to be considered. Shortlisted applicants will be asked to provide samples of their publications prior to interview.
The closing date for applications is 13 March 2016.
For more information, click here.
Commissioner José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez
IACHR Rapporteur on the Rights of Human Rights Defenders
Following information received in recent years by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) through public hearings and visits, criminal law is allegedly being used against human rights defenders in some countries in retaliation for their work in defending and promoting human rights. Regarding this issue, the Commission, in its Second Report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in the Americas, expressed its concern regarding the issue of criminalization, understood as opening groundless criminal investigations or judicial actions against human rights defenders which not only has a chilling effect on their work, but can also paralyze their efforts to defend human rights since their time, resources, and energy must be devoted to their own defense.
As noted by the Commission, criminalization of the defense of human rights is a complex phenomenon that may be perpetrated in different ways, by both state and individual actors. According to the information received by the IACHR, in some States both public officials and private individuals –including businesses or employees of private companies, for example– reportedly use criminal law to subject human rights defenders to legal proceedings in order to repress or discourage social protest or criticism of public officials. Often, these cases are said to be based on criminal charges devised in ways that run contrary to international law. Moreover, in some States, legal bodies reportedly issue precautionary measures in criminal cases, such as pretrial detention or bond, presumably in order to discourage and restrict the efforts of human rights defenders during critical junctures in the causes they are defending.
Given the seriousness of the situation, the IACHR Rapporteurship on Human Rights Defenders published a questionnaire of consultation with States and civil society for the elaboration of a report on the the Criminalization of Human Rights Defenders through the Misuse of Criminal Law.
The answers must be sent here before October 16, 2014 with the following words in the Subject: Questionnaire on Criminalization.