Friday, 11 April 2008

Faulty army gear may breach human rights, court rules
Possibly another landmark ruling in the UK courts (after yesterday's ruling on the Al Yamamah corruption investigation). opswarfare will revert with more info.

UPDATE: The Guardian article has been updated, with the important summary below
The case followed an inquest into the death in 2003 of Private Jason Smith, a 32-year-old Territorial army soldier sent to Basra, southern Iraq, in June 2003. Two months later, he died from heat stroke in temperatures reaching 60C.

At the inquest in November 2006, Oxfordshire's assistant deputy coroner, Andrew Walker, said Smith died because of "a serious failure to recognise and take appropriate steps to address the difficulty that he had in adjusting to the climate".

However, the coroner refused to consider whether the death breached Smith's rights under article two of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), covering the right to life.

Smith's mother, Catherine, challenged this in the high court, with the MoD listed as an "interested party" after Browne sought legal guidance on whether corners could talk of "serious failures".

While risk was inherent in a soldier's job, the judge ruled today, the MoD had to provide them with proper care.
Another recent case seems to contradict the above judgement. A quick blurb below.
The nine law lords who heard the case - an unusually high number reflecting the importance attached to it - said they sympathised with the families. But they unanimously ruled that the human rights convention did not apply to war.
opswarfare will be looking for more information on this issue.

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