On 23rd November 2011 the Law and Lawyers blog looked at The unfolding aftermath of the Iraq War and considered the decision of the Court of Appeal (Civil Division) in R (Ali Zaki Mousa) v Secretary of State for Defence
 EWCA Civ 1334 where the court (Maurice Kay, Sullivan and
LJJ) held that an investigatory process into allegations of
ill-treatment committed by British armed forces personnel did not meet
the requirements of Article 3 of the European
Convention on Human Rights as interpreted and applied by the European
Court of Human Rights. The investigatory process had been set up by the
Secretary of State for Defence and involved an Iraq Historic
Allegations Team (IHAT) reporting to the Iraq Historic Allegations Panel
07.06.2006 – Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly rapporteur Dick
Marty today revealed what he called a global “spider’s web” of CIA
detentions and transfers and listed seven Council of Europe member
states who could be held responsible, in varying degrees, for violations
of the rights of named individuals by colluding in these operations.
The Washington based Constitution Project has published its Task Force Report on Detainee Treatment. It is a lengthy pdf document (600 pages) but a 'quick read' is possible by looking at pages 1 (Statement) and 9 (Findings and Recommendations).
The following is by Jesselyn
Radack - National Security & Human Rights Director for the
Government Accountability Project, the USA's leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization. It is reproduced from Government Accountability Blog
The Constitution Project's Task Force on Detainee Treatment is an independent, non-partisan group that produced a report comprehensively documenting the United States' descent into torture. The Task Force released a 600-page report today.
U.S. forces, in many instances, used
interrogation techniques on detainees that constitute torture. American
personnel conducted an even larger number of interrogations that
involved “cruel, inhuman, or degrading” treatment. Both categories of
actions violate U.S. laws and international treaties. Such conduct was
directly counter to values of the Constitution and our nation.
'The promotion and protection of human rights is at the heart of the UK’s
foreign policy objectives. I, along with my ministerial team,
consistently raise human rights violations wherever and whenever they
occur. And with this in mind, I am delighted to introduce the FCO’s
2012 Annual Human Rights and Democracy Report, which details our efforts
to promote human rights during 2012.'
The School of Law at Queen Mary, University of London and the British Institute of Human Rights hosted the launch of the Human Rights Collegium (HRC),
a collaborative initiative focused on providing scholarly expertise,
research and teaching on human rights. The inaugural HRC lecture was
given by Justice Albie Sachs, author, activist and retired judge on the Constitutional Court of South Africa. The event was chaired by Geraldine
Van Bueren, Professor of International Human Rights Law, Queen Mary,
University of London and Co-Director of the HRC.
The Home Secretary (Theresa May) decided that prominent Iranian Mrs Maryam Rajavi may not enter the United Kingdom on the basis that her entry into the United Kingdom would not be
conducive to the public good. The reasons are based principally on
foreign policy and security grounds, not on fears about Mrs Rajavi's
The process of trying to establish the truth about events during the Iraq War and its aftermath continues.
On 4th March 2013, the Al-Sweady Inquiry commenced. A preliminary hearing was held 3 years ago on 9th March 2010 and four "Directions" hearings took place in the period up to 18th December 2012. All this appears to be a particularly slow, cumbersome and already costly process with costs (at February 2013) of almost £16m.
The Inquiry is chaired by retired High Court Judge Sir Thayne Forbes and is being held under the Inquiries Act 2005. It was set up by Labour Minister Bob Ainsworth and given the following terms of reference:
The Tribunal sought to investigate the crimes committed by the
Islamic Republic of Iran against the country’s political prisoners
during the 1980s, when between 15,000 and 20,000 citizens were tortured
and executed under the power of the Khomeini’s Fatwa (Telegraph 4th February 2001) for holding
beliefs that conflicted with the regime. The Tribunal heard firsthand
accounts of the appalling atrocities committed against Iranian citizens. The
Islamic Republic of Iran was invited to participate in the trial but refused to engage with the Tribunal process.
The Tribunal comprised 6 respected jurists under the chairmanship of Judge Johann Kriegler (Judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa 1994-2002) and was assisted by
Assisted in the extraordinary rendition of individuals, gave the CIA intelligence that led to the extraordinary rendition of individuals, interrogated individuals who were later secretly detained and extraordinarily rendered, submitted questions for interrogation of individuals who were secretly detained and extraordinarily rendered, and permitted use of its airspace and airports for flights associated with extraordinary rendition operations.
The background to the case was that people attending an outdoor meeting
(Jurga) in Waziristan on 17th March 2011 were killed by what the claimant (Mr
Khan) asserted to be a missile fired from an American drone. One of
those killed was Mr Khan's father. The allegation that the drone strikes are linked to agents of the US government and to UK employees of GCHQ was based on various reports which were summarised in a 'respectable but unconfirmed' report in the Sunday times 25th July 2010. The British government neither confirmed nor denied the allegations though the government has consistently said that its operations are in accordance with the law. This assertion was not seen by the court as breaching the 'no comment' policy.
Mr Khan wished to challenge, by judicial review, what he described as
a 'decision' by the Secretary of State relating to employees of GCHQ
passing information to the USA. He sought a declaration that where a
person passes such information and does so with foresight that there is a
serious risk that the information would be used to target or kill an
individual then the person passing the information would not be entitled
to a defence of combatant immunity and may be liable under English
criminal law (e.g. for encouraging murder - Serious Crime Act 2007 Part 2 -
etc). Accordingly, the Secretary of State had no power to direct or
authorise the passing of such information.
There are no aspects of modern life untouched by law. My main interests are criminal law, constitutional law, human rights, family law, european union law and some aspects of international law. I also enjoy music (classical, traditional jazz and good brass bands), walking and interesting conversation.
In law, the word "obiter", refers to remarks which are "by the way." My own comments are also "by the way" - I write about events which happen to interest me. I do not seek to dictate or even to persuade: merely to comment and inform and this blog must never be used as a substitute for professional legal advice.