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Tooks Chambers has a proud record of defending the rights of the under privileged and the oppressed. From its early days of defending miners and their communities during their year long strike, consistently tackling miscarriages of justice such as the Birmingham Six and representing the family of Stephen Lawrence, to its current involvement in landmark cases such as the Hillsborough Inquests and the AHK judicial review, members of chambers have sought to hold the state to account. The dissolution of Chambers is the direct result of government policies on Legal Aid. The public service we provide is dependent on public funding. 90% of our work is publicly funded. The government policies led by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling are cumulatively devastating the provision of legal services and threatening the rule of law.

In this exclusive interview with PROSPECT, Professor Sen shared his views on the disconnect between theory and practice (00:38); strategies for ensuring justice in non-democratic countries (3:14); the role of art in expression and his favorite artists (8:11); his favorite meal (12:13); and the UC budget crisis (15:11). (via INTERVIEW WITH AMARTYA SEN | PROSPECT)

[Originally posted here on the WITNESS Hub Blog.]

If you watch one thing today, make it this video. And then forward it to 5 people you know.  Why?  Because it features stark and rare testimony from four alleged perpetrators of the mass atrocities in Darfur, and it needs to be seen as widely as possible.

The men – whose identities are obscured – are former members of the Sudanese military and the Janjaweed militia: one was a senior officer in the Sudan Army Finance, one a high-ranking Janjaweed commander, another a Janjaweed footsoldier, and the last a Sudanese soldier.

The story of the genocide in Darfur is told through their eyes – how they were recruited, how
the activities of the army and the militia were financed, how attacks were organised, and even details of individual attacks.

The IHT has an extended piece on the film and its potential importance here.

Please help to ensure that this film is circulated and seen as widely as possible – to this end the film is available with Arabic subtitlesFrench subtitles (updated link – 12 Feb 2009) and German subtitles.  Here’s the Aegis Trust’s press release giving more details, particularly for members of the media: http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/media/darfur/2009/alert/397/

The Aegis Trust is a UK-based human rights organisation founded in 2000, with a specific mandate to prevent genocide worldwide.

[Originally published here as part of WITNESS’s collaboration with Global Voices Online – this post was written by Gavin Simpson]

It fell to the controversial figure of Carla del Ponte, prosecutor at the UN war crimes tribunal in the Hague, to lament the slow progress of justice in the Former Yugoslavia in a lecture she delivered last week. del Ponte picked out Serbia as a country “removed from the European values”, arguing that truth and justice remain “relative concepts, rather than absolute values”.

In the wake of these comments, the time seems ripe to consider how video fits in to the quest for post-conflict justice. How does the use of video relate to such concepts as truth, reconciliation and accountability? It’s an especially interesting question in a region like the Former Yugoslavia, where the population remains so starkly divided in its interpretations of the recent past.

As the Institute of War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) noted, video of historical atrocities is being used as part of the continuing propaganda war in the Former Yugoslavia, and few debates around video footage in 2006 have been as highly-charged as the one that accompanied this video clip, first broadcast by Serbia’s B92 television station in August 2006.

Warning: the following video contains graphic imagery of human rights abuse

The video depicts events that took place during so-called “Operation Storm” in August 1995. It came to light almost exactly eleven years later – the most recent example of video footage apparently released to coincide with the anniversaries of major atrocities committed by different sides in the Balkan wars.

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