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Peaceful Protest is a Human Right

Taking Kent State Before the UN Human Rights Committee


When Kent State University, the state of Ohio and the US government refused to acknowledge credible new forensic evidence in the 2010 discovery of the Ohio National Guard’s Commands-to-Fire, the Kent State Truth Tribunal sought every legal and official channel to bring these forensic expert findings to light.

In December 2012, after reading a newspaper article quoting Jamil Dakwar, director of the ACLU Human Rights Program, on the landmark decision of the European Court of Human Rights regarding the CIA kidnapping, rendition and torture of Khaled El-Masri, we contacted Dakwar to seek his guidance. 


Jamil Dakwar and Laurel Krause at the UN

In January 2013 the Kent State Truth Tribunal began working with Dakwar when he suggested raising the lack of accountability for the Kent State killings at the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Committee which monitors compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

From the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights the Truth Tribunal learned students and protesters at Kent State on May 4, 1970 were “target assassinated” by forces of the US government; this is also known as extrajudicial executions. Kent State was in effect a firing squad against unarmed student protesters.


In March 2014 the Kent State Truth Tribunal testified before the UN Human Rights Committee at the US 4th periodic review. Hear this BBC interview with Laurel Krause conducted at the United Nations.

Based on our testimony, the UN Human Rights Committee asked the US delegation specifically about the lack of adequate investigation into the Kent State massacre. Deputy Assistant Attorney General Roy Austin stated that "In 1970, four students were killed, were murdered", the first official admission that the campus killings were murders. However, Austin defended the closing of the DOJ investigation despite the new evidence establishing the Commands-to-Fire

Since 2014, the Truth Tribunal continues to participate at the United Nations, seeking truth, accountability, reconciliation and healing for the 1970 Kent State massacre. Read the 2015 United Nations Kent State report.

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