Johannesburg - A decade on, the family of slain South African photojournalist Anton Hammerl is still seeking justice and has called on the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to act on his case.
Penny Sukhraj-Hammerl, his widow, has made an appeal to the UNHRC in Geneva, Switzerland, to secure justice for his death in Libya in 2011, after a decade without answers or accountability for his death.
The former Saturday Star chief photographer was killed in Libya while covering the country’s civil war. His remains have yet to be found.
He was a dual South African and Austrian national living in the UK, at the time of his death.
“It’s been 10 very difficult years enduring an injustice, which has stripped us and left our family severely traumatised and feeling agony because of the helplessness,” Sukhraj-Hammerl said during a virtual side event of the 47th session of the UNHRC on Monday afternoon.
The event was to raise awareness of Hammerl’s case and the continuing impunity for crimes against journalists in Libya.
“Government inaction has deprived Anton and his family of justice. For 10 years demands for answers have been met with silence, misinformation and worse lies,” said International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) deputy general secretary Jeremy Dear.
Sukhraj-Hammerl added that there were questions that haunted her, Hammerl’s children, his parents and brother.
“We want to know who killed Anton? What did they do with his body?
“What did they do with his possessions, including his camera? Where are his killers now?”
Her campaign is supported by media organisations, unions and non-profit organisations including the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation, Justice for Journalists Foundation, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the IFJ, the James W Foley Legacy Foundation, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the SA National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) and the Redress Trust.
On April 1, just days after the 10th anniversary of Hammerl’s death, the family’s legal team from Doughty Street Chambers in London filed three complaints with the UN.
The complaints state that there was “a clear indication from the outset that Mr Hammerl,
a civilian, had been unlawfully targeted and that there were reasonable grounds to suspect that his killing constituted a war crime” in violation of international law.