Wednesday 14 January 2009

Handover of Prisoners to Iraq by the British

The British authorities ignored an order for temporary measures of the European Court of Human Rights in the very last days of 2008. The case concerned Iraqi detainees, held by British military in Iraq, who were transferred to the Iraqi authorities. This is reported by professor William Schabas on his blog Ph.D. Studies in Human Rights. Since the state parties to the European Convention are bound by such Court orders, the United Kingdom has clearly violated the ECHR here. Apart from this sad legal and human fact, Schabas also points to a very interesting aspect of the situation: the fact that the Court ordered the measure at all. This means indeed that at least prima facie the situation was not considered to be outside the Convention's scope, even though the relevant events took place entirely in Iraq and thus far outside any state party to the Convention. A new signpost in the ongoing discussion on the precise meaning of the hotly debated word "jurisdiction" in Article 1 ECHR.