UK troops must fight under Human Rights Act

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by hansvonhealing, Jun 14, 2007.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. Guardian
    Human rights law protects prisoners of UK troops abroad, rule lords in landmark case

    · Government arguments on Iraq death dismissed
    · Lawyer to seek payouts for other abuse by forces

    Richard Norton-Taylor and Clare Dyer
    Thursday June 14, 2007

    British soldiers who imprison detainees during military campaigns abroad are bound by the Human Rights Act, which prohibits torture and inhuman or degrading treatment, the country's highest court ruled in a landmark judgment yesterday.
    The law lords dismissed arguments by the Ministry of Defence and by Lord Goldsmith, the attorney general, that the act did not apply to UK forces detaining foreign prisoners, in particular Baha Mousa, a Basra hotel receptionist who died while in British custody in 2003.

    By a four to one majority, they ruled that the jurisdiction of the Human Rights Act applied overseas, including to detention centres over which British troops had "effective control".
    Shami Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty, said: "This historic ruling means that there can never be a British Guantánamo anywhere in the world."

    Phil Shiner, the solicitor acting for Mousa's family, called the ruling a "massive breakthrough" in his clients' "efforts to secure accountability for deaths and torture in detention". Last night he said he would push for "huge exemplary damages" for about 20 other Iraqi families who had been mistreated by British soldiers.

    He said evidence from a recent court martial into Mousa's death, and the torture or abuse of 10 other Iraqi detainees, revealed that the government had abandoned a 1972 ban on hooding, stressing, sleep deprivation, food deprivation and noise. It showed UK interrogators were trained in such practices at the military intelligence centre at Chicksands in Bedfordshire; and that the attorney had advised that the Human Rights Act did not extend to British soldiers abroad.

    In 1972, after evidence of abuse in Northern Ireland, Edward Heath, the prime minister at the time, told the Commons that hooding and mistreatment of detainees by British security forces would be banned in "all foreseeable circumstances".

    The law lords' ruling yesterday also opens the way to an independent public inquiry into the Mousa killing and other alleged abuses of Iraqi civilians. It will now be up to the high court to decide whether to demand such an inquiry.

    The government is now likely to be forced to conduct an independent inquiry. The European convention on human rights, which the act enforces in British courts, obliges governments to carry out independent, timely, open and effective investigations when someone dies allegedly at the hands of agents of the state.

    The Lords has ruled in the past that to comply with the human rights convention an inquiry must recommend how to avoid further similar deaths - a factor not covered by a court martial.

    Ms Chakrabarti said yesterday: "The court martial doesn't get to the heart of what went wrong. It doesn't expose legal advice, instructions, training and all of that ... it's not a systemic inquiry into what went wrong. Individual soldiers cannot be left to carry the can, to be scapegoated by the government."

    Lord Goldsmith said last night: "It is of the greatest importance detainees in British custody are not mistreated by our armed forces in any way, wherever they may be in the world. This is now authoritatively confirmed by the Lords judgment."

    The court martial exposed disagreements within the MoD over the legality of hooding and other mistreatment. General Sir Richard Dannatt, the head of the army, has already ordered an internal inquiry into the attitude of senior British officers towards detainees in Iraq and the treatment meted out to prisoners.

    Lord Goldsmith and top MoD lawyers argued that alleged victims of British soldiers could always appeal to the European court of human rights in Strasbourg. The law lords said this would leave a victim without remedy "in the British courts", defeating one of the main purposes of the Human Rights Act.

    The MoD argued yesterday that British soldiers always had been obliged to act within UK domestic law; that included a ban on torture, and respect for the Geneva conventions. "All interrogation cases now are in full compliance with international law," a spokesman added.

    Amnesty International said the government now had to set up a civilian-led resource able to take on "independent ... and thorough investigations into allegations of human rights violations at the hands of UK armed forces personnel".

    Redress, which campaigns for torture survivors, said: "Torture and other forms of ill-treatment will only be eradicated when those responsible know they will be called to account."

    Des Browne, the defence secretary, said: "Since 2003 we have reviewed our practices [with] detention, and where necessary made changes ... If further lessons or action needs to be taken on board as a result of this judgment we will do so."

    The Lords ruling that the act did not protect Iraqi civilians killed by British soldiers who were not in custody at the time did not prevent their families from making separate individual claims in the UK courts. In 2004, two civilians in Kosovo who were injured when their cousin was shot dead through negligence by British peacekeepers won the first successful high court damages claim by civilians injured by peacekeeping forces abroad.

    FAQ: What the ruling means

    Does the law lords' ruling mean that the government must now set up an independent inquiry into how Baha Mousa died?

    Not just yet - the case first has to go back to the high court, where the government could argue that the military police investigation and the court martial of seven soldiers fulfilled the state's obligations to conduct an independent investigation. However, this will not be an easy argument to make in view of case law about what such an investigation should include.

    What are the requirements for an independent investigation?

    The European convention on human rights requires states to carry out an adequate and effective investigation where an individual protected by the convention has been killed as a result of the use of force. The House of Lords held in an earlier case that the investigation must deal with the events leading up to the death and make recommendations for the prevention of similar occurrences, making it hard to argue that a court martial fulfilled the requirements.

    Why was Baha Mousa protected by the Human Rights Act but not the five civilians shot during field operations?

    He was in a British military prison, while the others were merely present in a part of Iraq which was under British control. The 'extraterritorial' application of the act was held to be narrow rather than wide.

    What are the options now for the families of the other five?

    Lawyers for the five families and others in their position plan to take their case to the European court of human rights in Strasbourg. The court's case law also interprets extraterritoriality narrowly, so their prospects are not encouraging.,,2102694,00.html
  2. Don't bring them back then! Allow them to fight to the death out on the ground then!
  3. Fcuking do-gooders!!, living in their teletubby world of rolling green hills, pretty flowers, fluffy bunny rabbits hopping through the meadows as the warm friendly sun beams down on us all holding hands and cuddling each other, CNUTS!!!!, what fcuking planet are these people on, why is it they seem more concerned about arrse soldiers trying to do a fcuking hard job, than kicking out the scum that plot the murder of innocent people in britain, it's people like these that make me projectile vomit with rage! they are clueless as to the real world, they live in their safe little cucoons watching war on tv and saying how awful it all is and why cant we all just live in peace, well newsflash! the world is a shi.tty, stinking, evil place filled with nutters who would quite happely slit your throat given the chance, and it's the young men and women in the british forces who ensure that joe civvie and his hippy mates never have to worry about being dragged from their beds in the middle of the night and buried in some nameless field. Were the best trained and most professional army in the world, how about trusting the training youve paid for and cut us sum fcuking slack!!!!!.

    As George Orwell said - We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those that would do us harm.

    Rant ends.

    (aimed at all do-gooders everywhere :D )

    Anyway, mornin all :lol:
  4. British Soldiers have always treated P.oW's in a humane way, thats what seperates us from the rest of the dregs out there.

    The Labour Party live in a fooking dream world of a perfect ethnic to White ratio population. Were people who kill rape murder, fight us all have more rights than we do.
  5. I'm so annoyed that I really can't put my feelings down in writing....Let down again and again and again and again...I am so glad that I no longer serve and fully respect EVERY single serviceperson who has to put up with this type of shite
  6. I understand that the SA80 A3 model is now in the pre-production stage.

    Instead of firing 5.56mm rounds, it will have a little flag that pops out with a message saying "BANG - Please consider yourself shot. A counsellor will be with your shortly, and your lawyer has been called"

    Flippin' do gooders really don't understand real life do they?
  7. if we must fight under the human rights act - i wonder how far they will take it because under one of the acts we can not be stopped from joining any group or organisation.

    any one want to form a trade union?

    surely under article 2 the government is failing - protecting its people - they must be placing us in harm by sending us to iraq / afgan.
    i wonder how they get away with it.
  8. guess we will have a new MATT to learn soon then.
  9. This thread title is totally misleading. This ruling is nothing about actual fighting, its about the treatment of PWs or detainee's.

    With regards to that nothing has changed in terms of the rules. Geneva convention and RoE still apply as before. What they are saying is that if they do get roughed up they can go to the European court of human rights and try to get compensation.

    No rules have changed here, and its nothing to do with fighting. If I've misread something myself then apologies. But calm down guys.
  10. Excuse me butting in like this but why all the contrived anger?

    The ruling says that if British troops have captured a bad guy then we must treat them humanely. How is this any different to the LOAC that we have been teaching/following for countless years?

    Ok they have said that some of the interegation techniques are no longer allowed, they were always right on the edge of legality anyway so why the outrage?

    No where in there have I seen any mention of the troops being required to actually "fight under Human Rights Act".

    I was always taught that the British forces are always subject to British law no matter where they are or what they are doing, this ruling has not changed that in anyway it has just reinforced it.
  11. Of course our troops must fight legally but, at this rate, I can see the day coming when our forces are not allowed to shoot back when attacked. Instead, they will have to shout, "Cease firing while we send you a human rights lawyer to listen to your grievances and negotiate a settlement acceptable to all parties. If you persist in being naughty, we will send two!"
  12. Since we couldnt beat detainees to death anyway and torture was out as well .Nothings really changed.
    I doubt becoming a prisoner /detainee of hm forces is going to become a fluffy woffy experince full of tea and cake because of it .
  13. This, plus some idiot Colonel Blimp on Radio 4 Today demanding a return to National Service for those too evil and idle to live on a chav sink estate, must just about sound the death knoll for our Armed Forces. Soldiers say now they are worried about an inquiry if they shoot someone. They will be even more worried if there are volumes of Human Rights to be carried about as well.
  14. Unknown_Quantity

    Unknown_Quantity War Hero Moderator

    If the application of the HRA to POWs is so challenging to Britfor then how long before POW handling is contracted out to Sodexho? After all, they've built up a solid reputation with the services alread... Oh yeah, Nevermind.
  15. Biped

    Biped LE Book Reviewer

    So, they've basically chucked this 'human rights' shoit at the MOD. Are they COMPLETELY IGNORANT of the Geneva Convention and what it says about POW's then? After all, these are ARMED ENEMY INSURGENTS being fought by the British Army on foreign soil, and as such, the Geneva Convention to which we are a signatory has far more validity, especially with international courts.

    The next thing you know, we'll be expected to put TV's in their facking cells and pool tables in the halls.

    If these cretins in the courts want these d!ck-heads treated like your average UK prisoner, forget sending the British Army to Iraq, send the plod with their stab vests, flashing blue lights and forms. Perhaps the good old fashioned beat bobby is what is needed to quell this 'civil' unrest.

    "You sir/jihaddi, yes you, please put down the IED, thank you, now, you have the right to remain silent . . ."