War Crimes, Annoyance Injunctions, and the Whole Life Tariff Saga – The Human Rights Roundup

13 January 2014 by

ICC HRRWelcome back to the UK Human Rights Roundup, your regular delectable dossier of human rights news and views.  The full list of links can be found here.  You can find previous roundups here.  Links compiled by Adam Wagner, post by Celia Rooney. 

This week, the International Criminal Court has received a dossier detailing the UK’s involvement in abuse in Iraq.  Meanwhile, the House of Lords has put up a fight over the so-called ‘annoyance injunctions’, while the Government has sought to find a solution to the European Court of Human Rights’ ruling on whole life tariffs.

In the News

War Crime allegations in Iraq: UK Officials in front of the ICC?

The Independent has reported that the International Criminal Court (ICC) has received a dossier detailing abuse by UK forces in Iraq, and is now investigating the matter as a formal complaint. The dossier is said to catalogue a wide range of abuses perpetrated by UK soldiers from 2003-2008 – from hooding to humiliation, death threats to sexual assault.

This news is likely to trouble a number of top military and political figures in the UK, whose role in the affair will be up for closer scrutiny.  In response, however, the UK government have argued that proceedings before the ICC are unnecessary, in light of the fact that the matter is being thoroughly investigated domestically – see our latest post on the approach of the domestic courts to the allegations. 

IPNAs – the New ASBO

This week, the House of Lords rejected the Government’s Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill, sending it back to the Commons by a vote of 306 to 178.  The Bill makes a wide range of proposals, but perhaps most controversially has called for the creation of an injunction to prevent nuisance and annoyance (IPNA).  If eventually passed, the IPNA would be the latest in an expanding number of civil preventive orders.  Such orders are civil in nature – thereby avoiding strict rules of criminal procedure – but punish a breach of the order with criminal sanctions.  This is despite the fact that, often, no single instance of the conduct in question is itself criminally punishable.  The orders are thus aimed predominantly at repeated anti-social behaviour, rather than specific criminal acts.

The IPNA is the progeny of the Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO).  Unlike the latter, however, the proposed injunction does not require any threat of ‘harassment, alarm or distress’, but instead is set at the lower threshold that conduct may ‘reasonably be expected to cause nuisance or annoyance’.  Liberty has noted the breadth of this provision, which it argues could feasibly apply to almost anyone.  Last week, the Lords supported an amendment proposed by Lord Dear that, like the ASBO, the IPNA should require more than just nuisance or annoyance. 

Whole Life Tariffs or 100-Year Sentences?

Last week’s roundup reported on the Government’s proposed solution to the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights in Vinter and Others v UK – a Strasbourg decision which stated that whole life tariffs, where an individual can only be released on compassionate grounds, were incompatible with the Convention if there was no real possibility of release or review.  Previous Human Rights Blog posts on this case, by Rosalind English, can be found here and here.  The roundup noted that the Government were proposing 100-year sentences in place of whole life tariffs in order, it was reported, to circumvent the decision. Joshua Rozenberg suggested that the Governments plan was ‘risible’, and left domestic judges to deal with the reality of the ruling.

This week, however, in an action plan submitted to the Council of Europe as a formal response to the judgment, the Government appear to simply have stalled the decision. The Government makes clear that it has made no final decisions on what must be done in light of the judgment, as the Guardian have reported, and also suggests that whole life tariffs will still be considered as a viable option when the Government appeal a number of sentences it considers to be too lenient later this month.

In Other News

  • This week, a jury found that the death of Mark Duggan, shot dead by a Metropolitan Police officer in Summer 2011, was lawful. The  sparked riots in London in 2011, and the trial has been marred by conflicting accounts of the facts involved.
  • Responding to a call-for evidence from the House of Lords Select Committee, a group of lawyers have this week suggested that the Mental Capacity Act 2005 may not be compliant with the European Convention on Human Rights.  The system of representation in court for ‘protected persons’ under the Act does not mandate that a judge must meet an individual before ruling on their capacity and, in light of ‘marked variation’ in the approaches of different judges, the group suggest that new guidance is needed on the matter.
  • France’s highest court has reinstated a ban on a comedy show by Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, a controversial comic accused of anti-Semitism.
  • Michael Mansfield QC has spoken to the Mirror about the contribution legal aid cuts made to the recent closure of Tooks Chambers, which he founded in 1984.
  • The Government is carrying out a review of the European Union’s competences.  The consultation deadline for this exercise is this Monday, 14th January.
  • Professor Aoife Nolan has reflected on what the ‘blacklisting’ of tenants on housing benefits tells us about the UK’s commitment to human rights here.
  • The Guardian has considered the progress of the Al-Sweady Inquiry, which is investigating the aftermath of the so-called ‘Danny Boy’ battle in Iraq.  The inquiry heard from Brigadier Andrew Kennett this week, about orders to move dead bodies from the battle scene to the British Army base. 

Case Comment 

Perinçek v Switzerland Application No. (27510/08)

Dirk Voorhoof has commented on this case, which involved the conviction of the former Chairman of the Turkish Workers’ Party for denying the Armenian genocide.  The Strasbourg court found that the conviction breaches Article 10 of the European Convention, which protects freedom of expression, and said that the key question was whether such action was necessary in a democratic society.  The Court noted that Perinçek had not denied the existence of the atrocities in question, but had rather challenged the label of genocide that had been attached to them.

Interestingly, the Court noted that it must be mindful of the risk of installing historical truth by law, where there was not general consensus on the matter.  The exception to this, however, was denial of the Holocaust, for which it suggested there was general consensus.  Commenting on the case, Voorhoof argues that the Court should have made it clearer that any conviction for the denial of historical facts – even those for which the law recognises that there is general consensus – can only be a justified restriction of Article 10 if it incites violence or hatred. 

In the Courts 

European Court of Human Rights

A decision to give a child his or her father’s surname, which was based solely on the sex of the parents, was a violation of Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) when read with Article 8 (respect for private and family life).

Slovakian courts breached Article 10 in finding a newspaper liable for certain publications, where the court had failed to balance the claimant’s right to privacy with the newspaper’s freedom of expression.  Certain crucial considerations, like the context of the publication, the public interest in it, and the good faith of the publisher, had not been taken into account.

Court finds a violation of Article 2 (right to life), Article 3 (prohibition on torture), Article 5 (right to liberty and security), and Article 13 (right to an effective remedy), in light of Russia’s response to the disappearance of 36 men, presumed dead, in Chechnya.

Upcoming Events

To add to this list, email Adam Wagner.  Please only send events which i) have their own webpage which can be linked to, and ii) are relevant to the topics covered by this blog.

UK Human Rights Blog Posts

1 comment;

  1. KF says:

    The Lords have not “rejected the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill, sending it back to the Commons by a vote of 306 to 178”. The vote you refer to was on an amendment to one specific clause of the Bill (to do with IPNAs, as you say), not the entire Bill. The Bill has not yet gone back to the Commons, but is due for further debate in the Lords on 20, 22 and 27 January.

Comments are closed.

Welcome to the UKHRB

This blog is run by 1 Crown Office Row barristers' chambers. Subscribe for free updates here. The blog's editorial team is:
Commissioning Editor: Jonathan Metzer
Editorial Team: Rosalind English
Angus McCullough QC David Hart QC
Martin Downs
Jim Duffy

Free email updates

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog for free and receive weekly notifications of new posts by email.




Aarhus Abortion Abu Qatada Abuse Access to justice adoption AI air pollution air travel ALBA Allergy Al Qaeda Amnesty International animal rights Animals anonymity Article 1 Protocol 1 Article 2 article 3 Article 4 article 5 Article 6 Article 8 Article 9 article 10 Article 11 article 13 Article 14 article 263 TFEU Artificial Intelligence Asbestos Assange assisted suicide asylum asylum seekers Australia autism badgers benefits Bill of Rights biotechnology blogging Bloody Sunday brexit Bribery British Waterways Board Catholic Church Catholicism Chagos Islanders Charter of Fundamental Rights child protection Children children's rights China christianity citizenship civil liberties campaigners civil partnerships climate change clinical negligence closed material procedure Coercion Commission on a Bill of Rights common law communications competition confidentiality consent conservation constitution contact order contact tracing contempt of court Control orders Copyright coronavirus coronavirus act 2020 costs costs budgets Court of Protection covid crime criminal law Cybersecurity Damages data protection death penalty defamation DEFRA deportation deprivation of liberty derogations Detention Dignitas diplomacy disability disclosure Discrimination disease divorce DNA domestic violence duty of care ECHR ECtHR Education election Employment Environment Equality Act Equality Act 2010 Ethiopia EU EU Charter of Fundamental Rights EU costs EU law European Convention on Human Rights European Court of Human Rights European Court of Justice evidence extradition extraordinary rendition Facebook Facial Recognition Family Fatal Accidents Fertility FGM Finance foreign criminals foreign office foreign policy France freedom of assembly Freedom of Expression freedom of information freedom of speech Gay marriage gay rights Gaza Gender genetics Germany Google Grenfell Gun Control Health HIV home office Housing HRLA human rights Human Rights Act human rights news Human Rights Watch Huntington's Disease immigration India Indonesia injunction Inquests insurance international law internet inuit Iran Iraq Ireland islam Israel Italy IVF ivory ban Japan joint enterprise judaism judicial review Judicial Review reform Julian Assange jury trial JUSTICE Justice and Security Bill Law Pod UK legal aid legal aid cuts Leveson Inquiry lgbtq liability Libel Liberty Libya lisbon treaty Lithuania local authorities marriage Media and Censorship mental capacity Mental Capacity Act Mental Health military Ministry of Justice modern slavery morocco murder music Muslim nationality national security naturism neuroscience NHS Northern Ireland nuclear challenges nuisance Obituary parental rights parliamentary expenses scandal patents Pensions Personal Injury physician assisted death Piracy Plagiarism planning planning system Poland Police Politics Pope press prison Prisoners prisoner votes Prisons privacy Professional Discipline Property proportionality prosecutions Protection of Freedoms Bill Protest Public/Private public access public authorities public inquiries quarantine Radicalisation rehabilitation Reith Lectures Religion RightsInfo right to die right to family life Right to Privacy right to swim riots Roma Romania round-up Round Up Royals Russia saudi arabia Scotland secrecy secret justice Secret trials sexual offence shamima begum Sikhism Smoking social media social workers South Africa Spain special advocates Sports Standing starvation statelessness stem cells stop and search Strasbourg super injunctions Supreme Court Supreme Court of Canada surrogacy surveillance sweatshops Syria Tax technology Terrorism tort Torture travel treason treaty accession trial by jury TTIP Turkey Twitter UK Ukraine universal credit universal jurisdiction unlawful detention USA US Supreme Court vicarious liability Wales War Crimes Wars Welfare Western Sahara Whistleblowing Wikileaks wildlife wind farms WomenInLaw Worboys wrongful birth YearInReview Zimbabwe


This blog is maintained for information purposes only. It is not intended to be a source of legal advice and must not be relied upon as such. Blog posts reflect the views and opinions of their individual authors, not of chambers as a whole.

Our privacy policy can be found on our ‘subscribe’ page or by clicking here.

%d bloggers like this: