Joint Open Letter to EU Authorities - RE: LAW TRAIN project aimed at harmonizing and sharing interrogation techniques between Israel, Belgium and Spain
Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation,
Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and
Security Policy and Vice- President of the European Commission
Jan-Smith - Director General for Research and Innovation
Dear Mr Jan-Smith,
Belgian, Spanish, Palestinian and international civil society organizations, we
would like to express our concerns to you regarding the Horizon 2020 funded
project LAW TRAIN.
in May 2015, the LAW TRAIN project is aimed at harmonizing and sharing
interrogation techniques between the different countries involved, in order to
face new challenges in transnational criminality. The project is coordinated by
the Israeli Bar Ilan University and includes the participation of the Israeli
Ministry of Public Security, the Federal Public Service Justice in Belgium, the
Ministry of Justice of Portugal, the Civil Guard of Spain. In addition to these
public institutions, some private actors, including the Catholic University of
Leuven (Belgium) are involved. The project, which will run until 30th April
2018, has a 5.095.687,5 € budget, half of which will be transferred to the
Israeli institutions involved in the project. At the end of August, the
Ministry of Justice of Portugal announced its withdrawal from the project
because of its controversial nature.
may know, in its fifth periodic review on Israel published in June 2016, the UN
Committee against Torture denounced Israel’s uses of torture and cruel, inhuman
and degrading treatment as well as use of illegal practices during
interrogations by the police and prison staff, in particular against
Palestinians and migrants. The participation and allocation of funds to the
Israel Ministry of Public Security through the LAW TRAIN project is therefore
problematic as this entity is in charge of the national police and the prison
services, both responsible for serious human rights violations.
we would request that you provide us with the following information:
the details of the human rights impact
assessment of the project;
the details of the concrete human
rights safeguards put in place and measures taken to ensure
that the project
will not directly or indirectly generate or contribute to human rights
how the project and the interrogation
techniques developed under the LAW TRAIN project integrate a human rights
dimension and how they are framed to concretely promote the respect for human
rights and improve the police records in that regard; the methodology that will
be used in the project to assess the effectiveness and impact of the training
programmes on the prevention of human rights violations and, in particular, on
the prevention and eradication of torture (e.g. how the project will assess its
impact in reducing the number of cases of torture), including gender-based
violence, and ill-treatment.
prohibition of torture is a peremptory norm of international law, which creates
an obligation for the EU not to facilitate violations of such norms and to
actively cooperate to bring violations to an end.
would also like to highlight the illegality of financing an Israeli entity
which is headquartered in Occupied East Jerusalem, namely the Israeli police.
This practice is contrary to the differentiation policy, which has been adopted
by the EU to comply with its international obligations. Indeed the violations
of peremptory norms of international law by Israel, including the denial of
Palestinians' right to self-determination and the extensive destruction and
appropriation of property, raise for the EU and the rest of the international
community an obligation of non-recognition of the situation resulting from the
violations, and subsequently the duty not to engage in activities or render aid
or assistance that may amount, lead to or instigate the commission of
internationally wrongful acts.
we have doubts that the project will not be used for military purposes and
would like to receive the relevant information in that regard.
the serious human rights violations which one of the project's beneficiaries is
associated with and the EU obligation of non-recognition of Israel’s settlement
enterprise, we urge the European Commission and Horizon 2020 to immediately
stop funding the LAWTRAIN project.
light of the concerns expressed above, we request a meeting with you to further
discuss the appropriate actions to be implemented.
internationale des ligues des droits de l’Homme (Int)
pro derechos humanos (ES)
Centrale générale-FGTB (BE)
des Droits de l’Homme (BE)
pour le tiers monde (BE)
Ouvrier Chrétien - MOC (BE)
Mondiale Contre la Torture (Int)
Christi Vlaanderen (BE)