The Committee on International Human Rights of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York
The Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, New York University School of Law
International law places obligations on the UK when deporting individuals to countries where they may face a real risk of torture. Although the Refugee Convention allows refugees to be removed if they pose a risk to national security, the absolute prohibition on torture in the European Convention on Human Rights was interpreted in the case of Chahal v United Kingdom as precluding a ‘balancing act’ between a person’s national security risk and the risk that he may be tortured on return.
Initially, it appeared that the Government would intervene in a case before the European Court of Human Rights (Ramzy v Netherlands) seeking to overturn the decision in Chahal. However, the case was overtaken by events and the issue was considered in a different case, Saadi v Italy. In that case the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights upheld the reasoning in Chahal.
The Government has also sought to use Memorandum of Understanding with foreign governments as a means to facilitate the deportation of foreign nationals. This approach has had mixed results, but has been upheld by the courts in some cases.
In a recent court case involving Abu Qatada, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the authorities cannot deport him to Jordan, in circumstances where evidence that could be adduced against him is likely to have been obtained by the torture of third parties. The court ruled that this would amount to a breach of Article 6 of the Convention, since allowing the use of evidence obtained by torture during a criminal trial would amount to a flagrant denial of justice. In reaching this decision, the Strasbourg court overruled a (judicial) decision of the House of Lords. After receiving further diplomatic assurances from Jordan, the Government are making renewed legal efforts to deport Abu Qatada.
- Expressive arts therapies: Working with survivors of torture
- The Effects and Effectiveness of Using Torture as an Interrogation Device: Using Research to Inform the Policy Debate
- None Dare Call It Torture: Indexing and the Limits of Press Independence in the Abu Ghraib Scandal
- Analysis of problems and needs in the area of torture prevention (ATLAS OF TORTURE)