The Full Wiki

Extrajudicial killings: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


(Redirected to Extrajudicial killing article)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For extrajudicial executions see also Assassination.

Extrajudicial killings are the illegal killing of leading political, trade union, dissident, religious, and social figures by either the state government, state authorities like the armed forces and police (as in Liberia under Charles G. Taylor), or criminal outfits such as the Italian Mafia.

Extrajudicial killings and death squads are most common in the Middle East (mostly in Palestinian territories and Iraq[1][2][3][4][5]) Central America[6][7][8], Afghanistan, Bangladesh[9], India and Indian-administrated Jammu and Kashmir[10][11][12][13][14][15], several nations or regions in Equatorial Africa[16][17][18], Jamaica[19][20], Kosovo[19][20] , many parts of South America[21][22][23], Chechnya[24], Russia[25], Uzbekistan, North Ossetia, parts of Thailand[26][27] and in the Philippines.[27][28][29][30][31][32]


Cold war usage

The former Soviet Union and Communist Bloc countries used to kill dissidents via extrajudicial killing during the Cold War. Those who were not killed were sent to 'Gulag' prison camps.

Nguyễn Văn Lém (referred to as Captain Bay Lop) (died 1 February 1968 in Saigon ) was a member of the Viet Cong who was summarily executed in Saigon during the Tet Offensive. The picture of his death would became one of many anti- Vietnam War icons in the Western World.[33]

During the 1960s and throughout the 1970s, death squads were used against the Viet Cong cadre as well as supporters in neighbouring countries (notably Cambodia). See also Phoenix Program (also known as Phung Hoang). The Viet Cong also used death squads of their own against civilians for political reasons.

Argentina used extrajudicial killings as way of crushing the liberal and communist opposition to the military junta during the 'Dirty war'[34] of the late 1960s and most of the 1970s.Alianza Anticomunista Argentina, a far-right death squad mainly active during the "Dirty War". The Chilean Junta of 1972 to 1992 also committed such killings. See Operation Condor for examples.

During the Salvadoran civil war, death squads achieved notoriety when far-right vigilantes assassinated Archbishop Óscar Romero for his social activism in March 1980 . In December 1980, three American nuns, Ita Ford, Dorothy Kazel, and Maura Clarke, and a lay worker, Jean Donovan, were raped and murdered by a military unit later found to have been acting on specific orders. Death squads were instrumental in killing hundreds of peasants and activists, including such notable priests as Rutilio Grande. Because the death squads involved were found to have been soldiers of the Salvadoran military, which was receiving U.S. funding and training from American advisors during the Carter administration,[6] these events prompted outrage in the U.S. and led to a temporary cutoff in military aid from the Reagan administration[citation needed], although Death Squad activity stretched well into the Reagan years (1981–1989) as well.

Honduras also had death squads active through the 1980s, the most notorious of which was Battalion 316. Hundreds of people, teachers, politicians, and union bosses were assassinated by government-backed forces. Battalion 316 received substantial support and training from the United States Central Intelligence Agency.[35]

One of the earliest cases of extrajudical killings was in Weimar Germany.[36]


Iraq has also suffered badly since the post-invasion insurgency of 2005.

Iraq was formed by British partitioning and domination of various tribal land in the early 20th century. Britain granted independence to Iraq in 1932, on the urging of King Faisal, though the British retained military bases and transit rights for their forces. King Ghazi of Iraq ruled as a figurehead after King Faisal's death in 1933, while undermined by attempted military coups, until his death in 1939. The United Kingdom invaded Iraq in 1941 (see Anglo-Iraqi War), for fear that the government of Rashid Ali al-Gaylani might cut oil supplies to Western nations, and because of his links to the Axis powers. A military occupation followed the restoration of the Hashemite monarchy, and the occupation ended on October 26, 1947. Iraq was left with a national government led from Baghdad made up of Sunni ethnicity in key positions of power, ruling over an ad-hoc nation splintered by tribal affiliations. This leadership used death squads and committed massacres in Iraq throughout the 20th century, culminating in the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein.[37]

The country has since become increasingly partitioned following the Iraq War into three zones: a Kurdish ethnic zone to the north, a Sunni center and the Shia ethnic zone to the south. The secular Arab socialist Baathist leadership were replaced with a provisional and later constitutional government that included leadership roles for the Shia and Kurdish peoples of the nation. This paralleled the development of ethnic militias by the Shia, Sunni, and the Kurdish (Peshmerga).

There were death squads formed by members of every ethnicity.[38] In the national capital of Baghdad some members of the now-Shia police department and army (and militia members posing as members of police or armed forces) formed unofficial, unsanctioned, but long-tolerated death squads.[39] They possibly have links to the Interior Ministry and are popularly known as the 'black crows'. These groups operated night or day. They usually arrested people, then either tortured[40] or killed [41] them.

The victims of these attacks were predominantly young males who had probably been suspected of being members of the Sunni insurgency. Agitators such as Abdul Razaq al-Na'as, Dr. Abdullateef al-Mayah, and Dr. Wissam Al-Hashimi have also been killed. These killings are not limited to only men; women and children have also been arrested and/or killed.[42] Some of these killings have also been simple robberies or other criminal activities.

A feature in a May 2005 issue of the magazine of theNew York Times claimed that the U.S. military had modelled the "Wolf Brigade", the Iraqi interior ministry police commandos, on the death squads used in the 1980s to crush the left-wing insurgency in El Salvador.[43]

Western news organizations such as Time and People disassembled this by focusing on the aspects such as probable militia membership, religious ethnicity, as well as uniforms worn by these squads rather than stating the United States-backed Iraqi government had death squads active in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.[44]


During the 1950s a regime was put in power through the efforts of the CIA, in which the Shah (hereditary monarch) used SAVAK death squads to kill thousands. After the revolution death squads were used by the new regime. In 1983 the CIA gave one of the leaders of Iran Khomeni information on KGB agents in Iran. This information was probably used.The Iranian regime later used death squads occasionally throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s however by the 2000s it has appeared to almost entirely if not all cease their operation. This partial Westernization of the country can be seen paralleling similar events in Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, and Northern Iraq beginning in the late 1990s


The New People's Army (NPA) groups known as "Sparrow Units" were active in the mid-1980s, killing government officials, police personnel, military members, and anyone else they targeted for elimination. They were also supposedly part of an NPA operation called "Agaw Armas" (Filipino for "Stealing Weapons - "), where they raided government armories as well as stealing weapons from slain military and police personnel. A low level civil war with south Moslems, Al-Qaeda sympathizers and communist insurgents has led to a general break down of law and order. The Philippines government has promised to curb the killings, but is itself implicated in many of the killings.[28]

Extrajudicial Killings Summit

The 22nd PUNO Supreme Court is set to hold a National Consultative Summit on extrajudicial killings on July 16 and 17, 2007 at the Manila Hotel. Invited representatives from the three branches of the government will participate (including the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the PNP, CHR, media, academe, civil society and other stakeholders).

  • Puno will give the keynote speech and closing remarks. Puno searches for major solutions to solve forced disappearances.
  • During the first day of the summit, the speakers will present their respective papers comprising significant inputs from their respective sectors, while on the second day, the participants will break out into 12 groups (chaired by a Justice) and take part in a workshop. Local and international observers (the diplomatic corps and representatives from various international organizations) will be accredited.
  • Puno announced that "the summit highlight will be a plenary session where each of the 12 groups shall report to the body their recommended resolutions. The reports and proposals will be synthesized and then transmitted to the concerned government agencies for appropriate action."
  • The earlier slated Malacañang-sponsored "Mindanao Peace and Security Summit (July 8–10, 2007 at Cagayan de Oro City), focussed on how to make the anti-terror law, or the Human Security Act (HSA) of 2007, more acceptable to the public.[45][46]
  • On July 16, 2007, Justices, activists, militant leaders, police officials, politicians and prelates attended the Supreme Court's two-day summit at the Manila Hotel in Manila City to map out ways to put an end to the string of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines. Bayan was set to launch their "silent protest," but expressed support for the high court's initiative. Director Geary Barias, chief of the police's anti-killings Task Force Usig, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Yñiguez, re-elected party-list Representatives Satur Ocampo (Bayan Muna) and Crispin Beltran (Anakpawis) attended. Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno said that the "National Consultative Summit on Extrajudicial Killings and Forced Disappearances: Searching for Solutions," would help stop the murders. Delegates were given 12 to 15 minutes each to share their insights and knowledge about the matter. Yniguez accused the government of failing to actively pursue investigations on the hundreds of killings and the Catholic Church was alarmed that victims have been denied their "fundamental right" to live.
  • Based on Yniguez-church's count, the number of victims of extrajudicial killings has reached 778, while survivors of "political assassinations," was pegged at 370. He also noted 203 "massacre" victims, 186 people who involuntarily disappeared, 502 tortured, and others who were illegally arrested. Yniguez similarly criticized the government's alleged insistence on implementing its Oplan Bantay Laya I and II (the military's counter-insurgency operation plans which militants have said consider legal people's organizations as targets).
  • Meanwhile, Bayan urged the Supreme Court to "check serious threats to civil liberties and basic freedoms" including the anti-terror law or the Human Security Act of 2007, which took effect on July 15 despite protests from leftist groups.
  • Vice President Teofisto Guingona Jr. will join Bayan and other leftist groups as petitioners in their formal pleading before the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the law. Human rights lawyer Atty. Edre Olalia of the International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL) will serve as lead counsel. Bayan chair Carol Araullo said the respondents will include members of the Anti-Terrorism Council headed by Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita and Raul Gonzalez. Earlier, [CBCP president Angel Lagdameo] pointed out at least 5 provisions of the law that may threaten civil liberties: Sec. 19 allows detentions of mere suspects for more than three days in the event of an actual or terrorist attack, while Section 26 allows house arrest despite the posting of bail, and prohibits the right to travel and to communicate with others; Sec. 39 allows seizure of assets while Sec. 7 allows surveillance and wiretapping of suspects; Sec. 26 allows the investigation of bank deposits and other assets.[47]

United Kingdom (UK)

During the Irish war of independence in 1916-21, the British forces organised several secret assassination squads. In 1920 alone the Royal Irish Constabulary Reserve Force murdered the mayors of Limerick and Cork cities. In Limerick, the replacement mayor was also murdered, while in Cork, the new mayor died after a 74 day hunger strike.[citation needed]

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, various paramilitary groups and members of the British armed forces and the Royal Ulster Constabulary killed without lawful excuse during The Troubles.[48][49] During the 30 years of the The Troubles in Northern Ireland, both nationalist and loyalist paramilitary forces organised assassination squads. Notable cases include Brian Nelson, an Ulster Defence Association member and British Army agent convicted of sectarian murders.[50][51][52]


Reportedly thousands of extrajudicial killings occurred during the 2003 anti-drug effort of Thailand's prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Rumors still persist that there is collusion between the government, rogue military officers and radical right wing/ anti-drugs death squads. [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] Both Muslim [11] and Buddhist [12] sectarian death squads still operating in the south of the country.

Human rights groups

Many human rights organisations like Amnesty International along with the UN are campaigning against extrajudicial punishment .[7][53][54][55][56]

In popular culture

The subject of extrajudicial punishment was examined in the stage play and subsequent film A Few Good Men. In this film, two marines are put on trial for the death of another marine due to their administering of a Code Red (a military colloquial speech term for extrajudicial punishment) on him.

See also


  1. ^ Torture and Extrajudicial Killings in Iraq
  2. ^ ei: Extrajudicial Killings
  3. ^ USA: An Extrajudicial Execution by the CIA? | Amnesty International
  4. ^ Proof of US orchestration of Death Squads Killings in Iraq
  5. ^ Soccer Dad: Extra-judicial killings, hamas style
  6. ^ a b El Salvador death squads
  7. ^ a b Document Information | Amnesty International
  8. ^ El Salvador: War, Peace, and Human Rights, 1980-1994
  9. ^ Bangladesh: Release Journalist and Rights Activist | All American Patriots
  10. ^ The problem of "encounter deaths" - extra-judicial killings - in India (by K. C. Saleem) - Media Monitors Network (MMN)
  11. ^ BBC NEWS | World | South Asia | Kashmir's extra-judicial killings
  12. ^ USA Condemns India over Kashmir
  13. ^ The Politics of Extra-judicial Killings
  14. ^ US Tamils call for stop to extra-judicial killings by Sri Lanka
  15. ^ India: Extrajudicial killings under the spotlight
  16. ^ Planet Ark : Villagers Tortured to Death in Ivory Coast Park - UN
  17. ^ Ivory Coast
  18. ^ Ivory Coast First Lady Leads Death Squad, Report Alleges (
  19. ^ a b Louis-Jodel Chamblain - JAMAICAOBSERVER.COM
  20. ^ a b,12592,1659296,00.html] [
  21. ^ "World Report 2002: Venezuela". Human Rights Watch. 
  22. ^ "World Report 2003: Venezuela". Human Rights Watch. 
  23. ^ Brazil: Irene Khan urges government collaboration to end violence | Amnesty International
  24. ^ Philippines army accused of killing political activists - Asia, World - The Independent
  25. ^ BBC NEWS | UK | Obituary: Alexander Litvinenko
  26. ^ THAILAND: Extrajudicial killing, impunity
  27. ^ a b
  28. ^ a b STOP Extra-Judicial Killings in the Philippines
  29. ^ Scared Silent: Impunity for Extrajudicial Killings in the Philippines
  30. ^
  31. ^ [1] Radio Pinoy USA]
  32. ^ PC(USA) News: ‘Graft and corruption’
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^ When a wave of torture and murder staggered a small U.S. ally, truth was a casualty. - Prisons, California, Ronald Wilson Reagan -
  36. ^ Germany on the Eve of the Great Depression: Archive Entry From Brad DeLong's Webjournal
  37. ^ Daily Kos: History of Iraq: 1933 - 1939
  38. ^ "U.S. cracks down on Iraq death squads". CNN. 2006-07-24. 
  39. ^ US patrols to weed out militias posing as Iraqi police | World news | The Guardian
  40. ^ Iraq's Death Squads
  41. ^ [2]
  42. ^ "'25,000 civilians' killed in Iraq". BBC. 2005-07-19. 
  43. ^ "The Way of the Commandos". The New York Times. 2005-05-01. 
  44. ^ BBC NEWS | Middle East | Iraq 'death squad caught in act'
  45. ^, SC slates summit on extrajudicial killings
  46. ^ GMA NEWS.TV, Chief Justice unfazed by Palace meet
  47. ^ GMA NEWS.TV, Justices, activists, prelates map out ways to end killings
  48. ^ Hsw
  49. ^ Opinion: A grim lesson from Ulster
  50. ^ CAIN: Issues: Violence - 'Violence in Northern Ireland, 1969-June 1989'
  51. ^ BBC News | EUROPE | N.Ireland police arrest 2 suspected of sectarian killing
  52. ^ BBC News | UK | Tit-for-tat murders in N Ireland
  53. ^ Project on Extrajudicial Executions
  54. ^ UN independent expert on extrajudicial killings urges action on reported incidents
  55. ^ Dickey: Iraq, Salvador and Death-Squad Democracy - Newsweek The War in Iraq -
  56. ^ Special Forces May Train Assassins, Kidnappers in Iraq - Newsweek The War in Iraq -

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address