‘Crime against humanity’: Human rights experts issue damning report on police killings of Black Americans

International commissioners find ‘alarming, national pattern of disproportionate use of deadly force’ in US

Louise Hall
Tuesday 27 April 2021 14:35
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A new report by human rights experts has said the killing and injury of Black people at the hands of police in the US amounts to crimes against humanity that should be investigated under international law.

The 188-page report, which sees human rights experts from 11 countries evaluate violence against Black people in the US, says that their findings from a number of cases warrant investigation by the International Criminal Court.

“The Commissioners find an alarming, national pattern of disproportionate use of deadly force not only by firearms but also by Tasers against people of African descent,” the report says.

It adds: “Many Black people are killed in broad daylight to intimidate communities and because officers don’t fear accountability.”

The report concludes that the experts found “violations of the rights to: life, security, freedom from torture, freedom from discrimination, mental health, access to remedies for violations, fair trial and presumption of innocence, and to be treated with humanity and respect.”

Experts say that their evaluation of a number of cases show that “murder, severe deprivation of physical liberty, torture, persecution of people of African descent, and other inhumane acts” have occurred as part of a widespread or systematic attack against Black people in the US.

“The Commissioners find that, within the cases they examined, a disproportionate use of excessive force by police led to the deaths of the 43 Black people in the cases they examined,” the report reads.

They conclude a prima facie case of crimes against humanity and ask the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to initiate an investigation into their findings.

“This finding of crimes against humanity was not given lightly, we included it with a very clear mind,” Hina Jilani, one of the 12 commissioners who led the inquiry, told The Guardian.

“We examined all the facts and concluded that there are situations in the US that beg the urgent scrutiny of the ICC.”

The Commission of inquiry was composed of distinguished human rights experts from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

“There are 12 Commissioners, including prominent judges, lawyers, professors, advocates and UN special rapporteurs,” the report says.

The evaluation, first reported byThe Guardian, came following the civil unrest that swept the US following the murder of George Floyd in May 2020.

In addition to their findings, the Commissioners also say that cis- and transgender Black women, girls, and femmes are disproportionately killed by police in the United States.

They accuse the US of disproportionate use of excessive force by police, saying it led to the deaths of the 43 Black people in the cases examined.

“I was taken aback that this country, which claims to be a global champion of human rights, itself fails to comply with international law,” Ms Jilani told the newspaper.

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