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Archive for the ‘UN Human Rights Committee’ Category

May 4, 2014 by Julie Segraves, Examiner.com

Forty-four years ago today, on the college campus of Kent State in Ohio, four students were killed with rifle fire from the Ohio National Guard while protesting America’s expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia. Ten days after Kent State, two students, James Earl Green and Phillip Lafayette Gibbs, were killed on the campus of Jackson State University by the Mississippi State Police, also for protesting the Vietnam War.

Four years after the tragic event in Ohio, eight of the Guardsmen were indicted by a grand jury for willfully violating the rights of the dead and wounded students, but the charges were dismissed because the judge said the government failed to prove its case. In 1979, each family received $15,000 and a Statement of Regret from the United States government for what happened that day, but no one was held accountable for the deaths of four students on their college campus and no apology was ever offered.

Though the United States government held hearings on the matter and determined that the Guardsmen opened fire after being spooked by what they believed was sniper fire, a copy of a tape recorded at the scene and digitized several years ago revealed that the Guard was ordered to shoot. The FBI destroyed the original recording and the Justice Department refused to reopen the case upon being informed of the new evidence.

To date, no one has been held responsible for the killing of Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer and William Knox Schroeder, but this year that may change.

The family of Allison Krause and Emily Kunstler, daughter of William Kunstler who defended the Chicago Seven, established the Kent State Truth Tribunal in 2010 in light of the new evidence in the form of the digitized audio tape.

On March 14, 2014, Krause’s sister Laurel, appeared before the United Nations Human Rights Committee in its 4th Periodic Review in Geneva, Switzerland. The United States was represented by Roy L. Austin, Jr, the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights.

Krause requested an “independent, impartial investigation into the May 4 Kent State massacre (Article 2 (Right to remedy); Article 6 (Right to life); Article 19 (Right to freedom of expression); Article 21 (Right to peaceful assembly)).”

The Tribunal’s submission in 2013, that led to their invitation to the 4th Periodic Review, made clear that it believes that “Failure to ensure justice and accountability for the Kent State massacre has set a precedent that the U.S. can continue to harass, abuse, and even kill protestors.”

It cites as justification for this statement that “suppression of peaceful assembly continues today. Since the Occupy movement began in 2011, protestors have been labeled as domestic terrorists by the F.B.I. and have been arrested in massive numbers for peaceful protests and assemblies.”

In an email, Krause related that at the UNHRC hearing, Roy L. Austin, Jr, referred to the deaths of the students as “murder.” Krause says she will be following up with Austin and copying the UN on all correspondence.

She is also planning to request a UN special rapporteur in extrajudicial killings.

The United States government is required, in the next year, to answer to the charges made by the Kent State Truth Tribunal. Perhaps by the next anniversary of this sorry date in American history, the families will have received justice.

For the four Kent State students, however, they found the cost of freedom, and the price was their lives.

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On March 13, 2014 the Kent State Truth Tribunal addressed the United Nations Human Rights Committee at the United States 4th Periodic Review in Geneva:

My sister Allison Krause was one of four students shot to death by American military personnel in the parking lot of her university campus at Kent State, Ohio on May 4, 1970 as she protested the Vietnam War. I was fifteen years old when this happened. I have come here today to ask that the United States be held accountable for failing to fully investigate this incident and its own complicity in the crimes that took place and to deliver justice to the victims and their families. Allison stood for peace and died for peace on May 4th.

My mother Doris Krause, now 88 years old, is not able to travel due to her failing health. Even though Mom’s not here, she helped write these words and believes in them. Our sentiments are shared by family members and by many others present at Kent State at the time of the shootings, as well as concerned citizens who have also longed for accountability for the historic, and tragic, series of events at Kent State.

For 44 years the United States government has refused to admit that four young students … children … were killed at Kent State. There has not been a credible, independent, impartial investigation into Kent State. No group or individual has been held accountable. Even in 2010 upon the emergence of undeniable, credible forensic evidence pointing to direct US government involvement, there has still not been a full accounting of the events on and near that day, and no remedy delivered to the victims.

Because of the failure of the US government to pursue accountability and deliver redress to victims, we ask the UNHRC to press the US to initiate a new investigation of Kent State, with a particular focus on the forensic evidence that emerged in 2010. The right to assemble and protest is professed as a cherished American value and is a fundamental facet of our democracy. The Kent State precedent has cast a shadow over this democracy for over 40 years. If Kent State remains a glaring example of government impunity, it sends a message that protestors, especially young men and women, can be killed by the state for expressing their political beliefs. My sister died protesting for peace and I would like to honor her memory by ensuring that this never happens to another American protestor again.

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Kent_State_massacreOn May 4, 1970, members of the Ohio National Guard fired between 61 and 67 shots into a crowd of unarmed anti-war protestors at Kent State University in Ohio, killing four students and wounding nine others. My 19-year-old sister, Allison Krause, was one of four students shot to death by the Ohio National Guard in the parking lot of her university campus as she protested the Vietnam War. I was 15 years old at the time.

It has been 44 years, and the U.S. government still refuses to admit that it participated in the killing of four young students at Kent State. There has not been a credible, independent, impartial investigation into Kent State. No group or individual has been held accountable. In 2010, after undeniable forensic evidence emerged pointing to direct U.S. government involvement in the killings, Emily Kunstler and I founded the Kent State Truth Tribunal (KSTT). Our hope was to finally receive a full account of the tragic events and to see that the victims and their families receive redress. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice refused to reopen the case, claiming there were “insurmountable legal and evidentiary barriers.”

But justice for Allison doesn’t have to end there. To that end, we are traveling to Geneva, Switzerland, next week to demand accountability for the Kent State massacre before the United Nations Human Rights Committee, which will be reviewing U.S. compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), one of the few human rights treaties ratified by the United States.

The right to assemble and protest is a cherished American value and is a universal human right. But the United States – and so many other proclaimed democracies around the world – repeatedly and shamelessly commits gross violations of this human right. We were recently reminded of extensive U.S. government surveillance of anti-war activists in the 1960s, but sadly, such dangerous activity isn’t a thing of the distant past. As recently as 2011, with the start of the “Occupy” movement, protestors were labeled “domestic terrorists,” surveilled by the FBI, and arrested in massive numbers for nonviolent demonstrations and assemblies.

The Kent State precedent has cast a shadow over our democracy for over 40 years. If Kent State remains a glaring example of government impunity, it sends a message that protestors can be killed by the state for expressing their political beliefs. This lack of accountability and hostility towards peaceful expression flies in the face not only of our Constitution, but also our international human rights commitments.

Though we are a small organization, KSTT is committed to seeking justice for the victims of the Kent State massacre. Next week, representatives from KSTT will be briefing the U.N. Human Rights Committee about the United States’ failure to provide full accountability for the Kent State massacre. We hope the Committee will ask our government to provide answers regarding its complicity in the killing of peaceful protesters, or at the very least acknowledge its failure to conduct a thorough and credible investigation. We intend to make it clear that we have not forgotten the horrific event that took place at Kent State. Allison stood for peace and died for peace. May no other protestor in the U.S. ever have to pay the price she paid for her peaceful political expression and dissent.

Laurel Krause is a writer dedicated to raising awareness about ocean protection, safe renewable energy and truth at Kent State. She is the cofounder and director of the Kent State Truth Tribunal

 

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AllisonStoodForPeace.-1

On February 9, 2013, the Kent State Truth Tribunal and Allison’s family began working with the United Nations in Geneva. Kent State questions and issues were submitted, and were accepted by the United Nations. Inquiries into the United States’ Report on their compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as the United States participates in its 4th Periodic Review before the Human Rights Committee at the UN.

READ the original Kent State Truth Tribunal ‘submission’ to the UN, Human Rights Committee 130209_ICCPRKentStateFinalA

READ the Kent State Truth Tribunal ‘shadow report’ to the UN, Human Rights Committee submitted October 2013 KSTTShadowReportFINAL

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