20 May, 2010

Foreign Affairs and the new government: will they be all that much different? No. 2

The Coalition government has published its full Coalition Agreement and the Policy statements for Foreign Affairs may be seen at paragraph 15.  Interestingly, reform of the United Nations Security Council is referred to and an intention to support Japan, India, Germany, Brazil having permanent seats on the Council as well as "African representation".

The new Foreign Secretary has announced that there will be an inquiry into allegations of British complicity in  torture - The Guardian 21st May.   Hague stated - "It is vital to remember that torture does not help us defeat terrorists; it helps them to try to justify their hostility to us".  The precise form and details of the Inquiry remain to be announced.  The Guardian reports that "government lawyers" are expected to offer out of court settlements to certain claimants following the case of Al Rawi and others v Security Service and others [2010] EWCA Civ 482.  In that case, the Court of Appeal refused the use of "Special Advocates" in civil proceedings.  "Special Advocates" have been used in some areas (e.g. at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission) so that the evidence against a person is not disclosed other than to the judge(s) and the special advocate(s).  It is not disclosed to the affected individual or to his own lawyer.

See also The Guardian 20th May - "Torture and Rendition:   Inquiry expected to expose officials who colluded".

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