I/A Commission, Jamaica: The cases of Mickey Hill, Anthony Nelson, Jevaughn Robinson, Lance Zab and Paul Wallace
The clinic has filed petitions on behalf of the family members of five victims of police executions against the State of Jamaica before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The petitions allege violations of the victims and family members’ rights protected by the American Convention on Human Rights, namely the Right to Life (Article 4), Right to Personal Integrity (Article 5), Right to a Fair Trial (Article 8), Rights of the Child (Article 19), and Right to Judicial Protection (Article 25), in relation to Jamaica’s general obligations under Articles 1 and 2.
The individual cases are as follows (click the hyperlinks to access the individual petitions):
- November 4, 2010, Mickey Hill was waiting for the bus at a street corner when he was shot multiple times by a police officer after being ordered to reach into a paper bag at his feet. Subsequently, the officers planted a weapon at the scene, threatened witnesses at the scene, and removed his body. To date, no trial has been set for this case.
- On Wednesday, January 7, 2009, Anthony Nelson and his cousin, were sitting at a construction site when they were approached from behind by three police officer who shouted, “Do not move.” One officer grabbed Mr. Nelson, shoved him and shot him several times, killing him. The matter was submitted to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) on September 30, 2009 for a ruling on whether to charge and prosecute the officers involved. The matter is still pending before the DPP.
- On August 28, 2007 14 year-old Lance Zab was beat, shot and killed by police, with no apparent provocation, according to eye witnesses. The police officers then left the premises with the body of the deceased. The case was referred to the DPP on January 15, 2010 for a ruling, which is still pending.
- On September 22, 2008 13-year-old Jevaughn Robinson, barefoot and unarmed, was shot and killed by police officers from behind a wall in an open lot. The police then drove away with the body, returning half an hour later and lit a fire where the body had been removed. The matter was submitted to the DPP on April 14, 2009 for a ruling, which is still pending.
- On September 19, 2009 42-year-old Paul Wallace was approached from behind by a police officer while on a property cutting wood. The officer called out to Mr. Wallace and shot him several times from behind. The matter was referred to the DPP in December 2009 for a ruling, which is still pending.
All victims and their families are represented in Jamaica before the domestic courts by Jamaicans For Justice, with whom we worked and coordinated in the preparation of these petitions.
These cases of extrajudicial and unlawful killings all fall with a well-documented pattern of hundreds of fatal police shootings per year, which are rarely, if ever, adequately investigated or punished by the State. The impunity enjoyed by police for these killings is virtually absolute. The deaths of these victims and the suffering of their families are the direct results of deficient investigatory, prosecutorial, and judicial actions that operate together to shield police from accountability. In these cases, the failures of Jamaican authorities have led to a deplorable miscarriage of justice.
The aim of bringing these cases before the Inter-American Commission is to provide individual reparations to the family members, instigate reforms in the Jamaican justice system to investigate and prosecute all cases of police-involved killings in a prompt and effective manner, and to enact reforms to prevent police immunity in the future.
The petitions, submitted in June of 2013, are currently in the admissibility phase of the proceedings before the Inter-American Commission.
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