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UK Human Rights Violations in Northern Ireland

Committee of Ministers takes stock of United Kingdom reforms and calls for further measures to comply with judgments of the European Court of Human Rights on Northern Ireland

The Committee of Ministers has adopted an Interim Resolution on the execution by the United Kingdom of a number of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. The judgments found violations of Article 2 of the European Convention (right to life) in Northern Ireland due to the failure to conduct effective investigations into the deaths of the applicants’ next-of-kin (cases of Jordan, McKerr, Kelly and others, Shanaghan, McShane and Finucane).

The Committee took note with interest of measures taken or under way to remedy failings found in the investigative procedures concerning these deaths at the hands of the police or armed forces in Northern Ireland or in circumstances giving rise to allegations of collusion between the security forces and the killers.

The Committee recalled its consistent position that there is a continuing obligation to conduct effective investigations inasmuch as procedural violations of Article 2 were found in these cases. It called on the Government to take all outstanding individual measures in these cases rapidly and to keep the Committee regularly informed of the measures taken.

Some of the recent measures which are subject to the Committee's on-going assessment include the Inquiries Bill – which is intended to serve as a basis for a further inquiry in one of the cases – and the recommendations made to improve the coroners’ system following the Luce Review.

The European Court’s judgments require states to adopt all measures necessary to grant applicants appropriate redress and to prevent similar violations in future. This process is supervised by the Committee of Ministers.

The full text of the Interim Resolution, which provides a comprehensive picture of the measures taken or under way in these cases, is available at: http://www.coe.int/T/E/Com/press/News/2005/20050224_rec_cm.asp


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