The United Nations Does not Comply with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Sep 17, 2016 by


– Interview with International Human Rights Litigator Abbe Jolles

International Human Rights Litigator at Abbe Jolles Attorney at Law Speaks with Eurasia Diary on the Worst Human Rights Violations across the world from Washington DC.

Eurasia Diary: First, I want to ask about the worst prison countries, because of your experience in human rights work across the globe?

Abbe Jolles: Well, the worst country is well known. It’s North Korea. It’s on the top of the list. I’m able to work in one way or another in most all other counties, even those with terrible  human rights records. So for me no country is out of the question except for North Korea. I’ve been received by some  questionable  regimes and have managed  success on behalf of my clients. When I am trying to get someone out of jail I am willing to speak to and interact with anyone.

Eurasia Diary: You have been working as a human rights lawyer for many years, not only in USA, but all over the world so please tell me a bit about your background?

Abbe Jolles: I’ve been working as a human rights lawyer for many years. What makes me effective is all my experience trying cases both in United States and around the world. This is the good news for my clients, but it is negative for me personally, because people don’t generally like effective human rights lawyers. So from time to time I am threatened. There is no substitute for experience when defending human rights in legitimate courts and tribunals. I have years of experience and that scares a lot of people.

I was the First American woman admitted to the International Criminal Court. I am the only American admitted to the African Court of Human and Peoples rights.

I had a land mark result at the Rwanda Tribunal and am friends with my adversaries until today. We communicate often. They have left the UN and from time to time we collaborate. I expect to co-counsel a case with one of them in the near future as they now do human rights work. Working with them we become a “killer” team, a perfect team.

Eurasia Diary: From the point of view of an international human rights lawyer how do you see the United Nations Dispute Tribunal?

Abbe Jolles: Well, UN Dispute Tribunal is a difficult venue but it is not impossible. I engage with my adversaries there just like I do all over the world. As a result I manage some success on behalf of my clients.  Many of the people that I represent before the UN Dispute Tribunal are located around the world. Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, Sudan and other conflict zones. They risk their lives daily and for that they are paid a premium so they can afford private counsel. I have had a pretty good success rate. My heart really goes out to these guys, because they are doing the real work on the ground like saving lives and providing food and shelter.

Eurasia Diary: What was your reaction to the jailing of Al Jazeera journalists in Egypt by the Sisi regime ?

Abbe Jolles: It’s very disturbing. I would love to be invited there and engage with them about the importance of press freedom world wide.   To be clear though there is absolutely no justification for locking up journalists, ever.    And it is important that we speak out each and every time a journalist is jailed or otherwise abused.

Eurasia Diary: In your experience what can you tell us about the prison conditions in Africa?

Abbe Jolles: Prisons are by definition uncomfortable places but certain standards are required by the Uniform Declaration of Human Rights and the Uniform Covenant of Civil and Political Rights. In many places, in my opinion based on my experience, these standards are not met. When you  travel around certain parts of Africa and you see little children improperly clothed, without proper nutrition and then you visit the prisons and see how they treat prisoners it is heartbreaking. Those arrested starve if their families can’t afford to bring them food.

In Tanzania where I was for sometime, United Nations prisoners share the prison facility with the local prison population. So, on one side were UN prisoners who were fed   and well cared for and on the other side, housing the local inmates, they had nothing. As I said if their families did not bring them food they did not eat. The non-UN prison guards were provided shacks, without plumbing, just out side the prison grounds. It was a stark contrast.

Eurasia Diary: How can you compare prisons of USA and Europe with others?

Abbe Jolles: First I understand that it’s not nice to be in prison anywhere. But at least in Europe and United States were moving towards eliminating solitary confinement, which is inhumane. I think it’s going to happen. It is now being used very rarely if at all. But in many other countries solitary confinement is acceptable. And they say that it’s humane.  Solitary confinement is an unacceptable inhumane way to treat human beings.

Eurasia Diary: How do you see the torture and prisoner mistreatment in Guantanamo?

Abbe Jolles: That’s absolutely unacceptable too. I was shocked. It was horrific. I think those involved now agree and admit that its unacceptable. It never should have been permitted to happen. In my reading about Iraq and from contacts there and in the US, it is my understanding this has completely stopped.

Eurasia Diary: And what is the ICC position on solitary confinement and other inhumane prisoner treatment?

Abbe Jolles: The ICC prison is clean and prisoners even have cooking facilities. But the ICC keeps prisoners in solitary confinement. Several times I have had to ask the Red Cross to go in to check on a prisoner in solitary confinement in the ICC detention facility. A couple of years ago the ICC refused to admit me to the prison to see one of my clients. They kept my client in isolation until he agreed to accept a Dutch lawyer, who had never ever tried a case in the Netherlands or anywhere else in the world. So the ICC prison looks good from the outside but upon closer inspection you find serious problems.


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