Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Human rights - a short update

Council of Europe Report:

The 6th Annual Report of the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers has been published.  It deals with Supervision of the execution of judgments and decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. 

Foreign and Commonwealth Office Report:

The FCO has published the 2012 Human Rights and Democracy report.   This is a wide-ranging report looking at human rights issues around the world.

For an update on allegations that the UK was complicit in torture see Watching the Law

European Court of Human Rights:

The 4th Section of the court has given judgment in Aswat v United Kingdom.  

Previous posts touching on Haroon Aswat's case are - Law and Lawyers 25th September 2012 and 14th April 2012 Reflections on Babar Ahmed and others v UK.

In Aswat, the court has held that there would be a violation of Article 3 of the Convention - (Prohibition of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment) - in the event of the applicant’s extradition to the USA solely on account of the current severity of his mental condition. 

At para. 57 of the judgment, the court concluded:

While the Court in Babar Ahmad did not accept that the conditions in ADX Florence would reach the Article 3 threshold for persons in good health or with less serious mental health problems, the applicant’s case can be distinguished on account of the severity of his mental condition. The applicant’s case can also be distinguished from that of Bensaid v. the United Kingdom, no. 44599/98, (ECHR 2001I) as he is facing not expulsion but extradition to a country where he has no ties, where he will be detained and where he will not have the support of family and friends. Therefore, in light of the current medical evidence, the Court finds that there is a real risk that the applicant’s extradition to a different country and to a different, and potentially more hostile, prison environment would result in a significant deterioration in his mental and physical health and that such a deterioration would be capable of reaching the Article 3 threshold  

The Aswat decision is not yet final and it remains to be seen whether the British government will request a reference to the Grand Chamber.

Guantanamo Bay - Hunger Strike:

Please see Watching the Law

1 comment:

  1. Article 44.2(b) of the ECHR states that the judgment becomes final “three months after the date of the judgment, if reference of the case to the Grand Chamber has not been requested”.

    The same 'three month time limit' applied with regard to the extradition of Abu Qatada, however the UK Home Office missed the deadline & Qatada remains here, in limbo.

    I very much suspect that the same circumstances will befall Haroon Aswat, who will be left detained in the UK, without charge....