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         United States’ Compliance with the

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

Kent State Truth Tribunal

Response to Follow-Up Report

4th Periodic Report of the United States

from the

110th Session of the Human Rights Committee, Geneva

March 2014

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Read this report at the UN webpage http://bit.ly/1cxCnbY

1 May 2015

I.    Investigate & Examine the Kent State Audio Evidence

Seeking a credible, independent and impartial investigation into the Kent State audio recorded on May 4, 1970 during the 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))

II.   Reporting Organization

The Kent State Truth Tribunal (KSTT) was founded in 2010 upon the emergence of new forensic evidence regarding the May 4, 1970 Kent State Massacre. KSTT is an NGO focused on revealing truth and bringing justice to Kent State Massacre victims and survivors.

Less than a day before her unlawful killing at Kent State University, Allison Krause said, “What’s the matter with peace? Flowers are better than bullets”. On May 4, 1970 Allison Krause was shot dead by U.S. military personnel as she peacefully protested the American Vietnam War and stood for PEACE.

Representing Allison Beth Krause, 19-year-old Kent State University student protestor slain on May 4, 1970: Doris L. Krause, mother & Laurel Krause, sister.

III.  Related Concluding Recommendation of the Committee & the US Delegation’s Response:

At the US 4th Periodic Review on March 13, 2014, two UN Human Rights Committee members addressed the submitted issues of the Kent State Truth Tribunal. Messrs. Walter Kaelin and Yuval Shany flagged the United States regarding the killing at Kent State in several expressed reasons including lack of accountability, concerns related to command responsibility, the use of excessive and deadly force by the military and law enforcement, and US investigatory practices when credible, forensic evidence emerges 40 years later.

The next day the US delegation offered:

We were asked about Kent State: In 1970 four students were killed, were murdered. Nine were wounded. In 1974 the US Department of Justice prosecuted eight of the officers involved in that. The Judge threw out that prosecution. There is nothing we can do now. Between double jeopardy and the statute of limitations, there is nothing we can do. We are aware that there are some who say there’s new evidence. We have looked at that new evidence and that new evidence does not make an unprosecutable case prosecutable.”

Even though the United States claimed Kent State was “murder and killing”, their recent April 1, 2015 response does not include any action taken with regard to the Kent State “unlawful killings”, as outlined in the March 2014 UNHRC concluding recommendations:

The party should ensure that all cases of unlawful killing, torture or other ill-treatment, unlawful detention or enforced disappearance are effectively, independently and impartially investigated, that perpetrators, including, in particular, persons in positions of command, are prosecuted and sanctioned, and that victims are provided with effective remedies. The responsibility of those who provided legal pretexts for manifestly illegal behaviour should also be established.”

The Kent State Truth Tribunal United Nations Reports:

February 2013 Kent State Truth Tribunal UN Submission ~ http://bit.ly/1f2X25i

October 2013 KSTT Shadow Report ~ http://bit.ly/1kBSjfa

February 2014 KSTT Final Update ~ http://bit.ly/1ezn0cG

March 2014 KSTT Addresses the UN Human Rights Committee ~ http://bit.ly/1dgliTW

After the US 4th Periodic Human Rights Review at the United Nations, this tshirt design was created by artist Josh Starcher for the Kent State Truth Tribunal:

KSTT_Reunion13

RECOMMENDATION: The United States must examine forensic evidence of expert Stuart Allen’s digital analysis of the Kent State tape and acknowledge his findings.

IV.  US Unlawful Killings Require Acknowledgement, Credible Investigation & Accountability

When the United States Delegation said, “In 1970, four students were killed, was murdered”, the long held US position that the killings at Kent State were simply a ‘civil rights’ matter was extinguished forever.

Now that the deaths at Kent State have been acknowledged by the State as murder, US authorities are required to treat the Kent State recording as evidence from a cold case homicide, and the tape must be credibly, impartially and independently investigated as noted in the United Nations Human Rights Council from the 26th session on the “Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, social and cultural rights’ mandate of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions:

the obligation of all States to conduct exhaustive and impartial investigations into all suspected cases of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, to identify and to bring to justice those responsible, while ensuring the right of every person to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law, to grant adequate compensation within a reasonable time to the victims or their families and to adopt all necessary measures, including legal and judicial measures, in order to bring an end to impunity and to prevent the recurrence of such executions, as stated in the Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions.”

The requirement for effective investigation includes acknowledgement of new evidence in accordance with international norms such as the United Nations Manual on the Effective Prevention and Investigations of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions, U.N. Doc. E/ST/CSDHA/.12(1991). http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/instree/executioninvestigation-91.html#11

V.   The Current Instituted History of the Kent State Massacre Confuses, Censors and Obfuscates the May 4, 1970 Unlawful Killings

Instead of examining the Kent State tape that emerged in 2010, the US Justice Department has refuted the provenance of the tape, ignored the new evidence, confused what was discovered, discredited the forensic expert and censored the 2010 forensic findings in the Kent State tape. This behavior echoes the tremendous effort on the part of the US government, Kent State University and US Justice Department to hamper and derail efforts for restorative justice to be achieved and Kent State truth to be known by the public since May 4, 1970.

Back in 1979, after nine years of civil litigation, where Kent State plaintiffs sued for wrongful death (the only legal option in the American judicial system), an out-of-court civil settlement was reached, including $15,000 paid by the State for the death of Allison Krause and a statement of regret signed by the Kent State shooters.

Rediscovered on September 2014, was the Kent State Civil Settlement Statement of 1979, authored and signed by the plaintiffs, which shared the sentiments of all harmed in the May 4th Kent State Massacre. The Settlement Statement includes hard-fought-for recommendations to the US government that were patently ignored, never implemented and could have protected the lives of countless Americans.

Following the emergence of the new Kent State evidence, in 2012 Kent State University constructed a $1.1 million visitor center near the killing site. The visitor center exhibits are not factually accurate and whitewash US government complicity; the new Kent State tape evidence is buried, and when mentioned, criticized.

In 2011, forensic expert Stuart Allen was interviewed by CNN on his findings in the Kent State tape and until recently the interview was available to be viewed at CNN.com. This year Stuart Allen’s CNN Kent State interview was removed from the CNN website; watch the CNN scrubbed Stuart Allen interview on youtube.

Will we ever learn the truth of what happened at Kent State?

To date there have been no credible investigations into what occurred at Kent State. This is a terrible precedent. Americans still do not have access to true knowledge through credible investigation of what occurs when US law enforcement and the military kill civilians. The same, flawed US grand jury system only exonerates and protects the police and those in authority. There is no facility for redress in America. Instead victims and surviving families are encouraged to “move on” yet many survivors suffer from harassment by the FBI for many years to come.

RECOMMENDATION: In the coming days, the Kent State Truth Tribunal will be making application to the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Arbitrary and Summary Execution, Mr. Christof Heyns. Mr. Heyns was recommended by Ms. Maria Clara Martin, Chief Americas Sections at the UN in March 2014.

VI.  Truth Tribunals: A New Standard for Citizen-Organized Accountability in America

When the courts fail to bring justice to the injured and when governments prefer to neglect their role in such tragedies, families sometimes turn to alternative means of gathering the truth. After years of exhausting efforts to find out what happened on the day of Allison’s death, and failure to receive any meaningful recognition for the injury suffered by our family, we established the Kent State Truth Tribunal on the 40th anniversary of the killings. We felt the imperative to do this for our family and to come together with others to create an accurate historical account of what occurred at Kent State, also honoring and preserving the first person narratives of original witnesses and participants.

When young Michael Brown was shot to death by US law enforcement in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9, 2014, Allison’s family watched the efforts of the United States to investigation Michael Brown’s unlawful killing, especially noting the parallels between Michael’s killing and Allison’s.

First a State grand jury was instituted and at the conclusion, those in authority failed to bring criminal charges for killing and exonerated US law enforcement. We recognized the similarities in the government’s handling of the killings at Kent State. The results were almost identical with the State grand jury not capable of indicting the police officer that shot Michael dead. Those in authority in Ferguson and at the US Justice Department viewed the killing of Michael Brown through a ‘civil rights’ lens, outrageously ignoring the much more critical crime involved in Michael’s killing by US law enforcement.

Ever since August 2014, deaths of people of color, particularly young people, at the hands of US law enforcement, have been dealt with as civil rights issues, neglecting to hold anyone accountable for the State killing civilians. In America there is no recourse, nor any other judicial avenue, no possibility for redress for acts of State-sponsored murder.

It has become clear that accountability is impossible in the current American judicial system. Because of the flawed system and since the witnesses and participants of civilian death by US law enforcement at Ferguson (Cleveland, Baltimore and more) will not have their truth recorded, known or honored, we wish to offer the use of the Truth Tribunal methodology to enable a citizen-organized campaign for accountability in these situations.

RECOMMENDATION: The Kent State Truth Tribunal seeks direction and support from the United Nations in offering the facility of citizen-organized Truth Tribunals to those harmed by State-sponsored, unlawful killings in America. Our goal is for the KSTT and the United Nations to work together to bring restorative justice and accountability to the United States. How may we get started?

VII.  The Allison Center for Peace

Later in 2015 we will be inaugurating the Allison Center for Peace, a peace destination in America, creating an environment for the discussion and development of peaceful solutions, and focused on fostering peace in America.

As we form our center for peace in America, we invite the United Nations to become involved as a founding partner.

RECOMMENDATION: The Kent State Truth Tribunal wishes to explore an on-going relationship with the United Nations in the development of the Allison Center for Peace on the Mendocino coast of Northern California.

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9/4/14 by Rick Kern, National Veterans Review, Summer 2014

LaurelAllisonUNGlobe

Kent State at the United Nations; National Veterans Review, Summer 2014

An in-depth read on current developments as the May 4, 1970 Massacre at Kent State went before the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva, March 2014. Article located at pages 26-28.

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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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Laurel Krause speaks with David Swanson about May 4, 1970, the Kent State Massacre and her sister Allison.

On March 13/14, 2014, the Kent State Truth Tribunal will be taking the Kent State Massacre to the United Nations as the U.S. has their 4th Periodic Review before the UN Human Rights Committee.

READ the original Kent State Truth Tribunal ‘submission’ to the UN, Human Rights Committee130209_ICCPRKentStateFinalA

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

On May 3, 1970 Allison said, “What’s the matter with PEACE? Flowers are better than bullets.”

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