Third party intervention in Al-Saadoon v UK

These written comments are submitted on behalf of the ICJ and other human rights groups and relates to the Al-Saadoon v UK case.

This case concerns the transfer, by United Kingdom forces in Iraq, of prisoners held by the United Kingdom in detention facilities in Iraq, to the custody of the Iraqi authorities, contrary to interim measures indicated by this Court.
These submissions analyse three of the important issues of principle raised by the case: the nature and extent of extra-territorial jurisdiction under the Convention (Part I of this brief); the rules and principles applicable where obligations under the Convention conflict with other obligations under international law (Part II); and the duty to comply with interim measures indicated by the Court under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court (Part III).
The interveners’ submissions therefore address questions 1, 2 and 7 of the Questions to the Parties. Our submission considers these issues with reference to principles of international law and jurisprudence of other international and regional tribunals, with a view to providing the Court with an international legal context in which to consider the matters before it.
Throughout the jurisprudence of the Court, and that of other international tribunals, it is made clear that binding interim measures are a vital mechanism indicted in urgent cases where there is an immediate risk of irreparable harm.
The necessity of compliance with interim measures of human rights tribunals also follows from the nature of the rights which such measures commonly protect: where they are indicated to prevent irreparable harm to absolute and non-derogable Convention rights, including the right to freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the right to life, or the right to fair trial, there is a particular imperative to uphold them.
The obligation to comply with the Convention in good faith and in light of its object and purpose requires that such obligations be strictly and consistently adhered to, in all cases, and with all efforts of all institutions of the State, irrespective of the State Party’s view of the merits of the case, including on issues of jurisdiction. Exceptions to or qualifications of this rule would undermine the capacity of the Court to provide real and effective protection of the Convention rights.

United Kingdom-Al Saadoon and Mufdhi ECHR-legal submission-2009 (full text, PDF)

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