Friday, July 8, 2011

Court ruling 'paves way for UK Iraqi abuse hearings'

A court ruling that UK troops in Iraq were bound by human rights law should pave the way for a public inquiry, lawyers have said.

Judges at the Strasbourg court said soldiers overseas were bound by the European Convention on Human Rights. The decision came after relatives of six Iraqis - who it is alleged were ill-treated by British troops - took the UK to court. The UK argues the convention does not apply to troops serving outside Europe. Four years ago, the House of Lords - now the UK Supreme Court - ruled there was no UK human rights jurisdiction surrounding the deaths or wrongful detention of six civilians.

'Historic day'
But it accepted UK responsibility under the convention in the case of hotel receptionist Baha Mousa, because he was in a British military building in Basra at the time of the alleged brutality which led to his death.

This is a monumental judgement. Today is a historic day for human rights in Europe and beyond” The judges said that in the "exceptional circumstances" when UK forces assume responsibility for security in parts of Iraq, they remained under rules obliging signatory member states to safeguard the right to life and liberty.

The relatives of those who died - apart from Baha Mousa - were awarded £15,200 (17,000 euro) each in damages, and a total of £44,700 (50,000 euro) in costs and expenses. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands