UK parliament rights panel says control orders violate Europe convention

[JURIST] The UK Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights [official website; JURIST news archive] said in a report [text] issued Sunday that so-called control orders [BBC backgrounder] issued by the government to limit the movement and conduct of uncharged terror suspects violate the European Convention on Human Rights [text] and should give way to actual criminal prosecutions. In its summary of findings, the report's group of cross-party authors from both the House of Commons and House of Lords said:

The Committee has acknowledged the genuine dilemma of governments facing a threat from international terrorism: what to do about individuals in their country who pose a serious threat but cannot be deported or prosecuted. It has taken the view that the only human rights compatible answer is to find ways of prosecuting such individuals...

In the Committee's view, the Government could do much more to overcome the main obstacles to criminal prosecution, notably by allowing use of intercept material. The Committee also notes [UK independent anti-terror law reviewer] Lord Carlile's emphasis on the need for an exit strategy from control orders and considers that the most effective strategy would be a variety of measures to facilitate criminal prosecution. The Committee is reinforced in this view by the disappearance of three people subject to control orders, which shows their limitations as a means to protect the public. And the Government's claim that these people do not pose a threat to the public because they were not planning to commit terrorist acts in the UK raises questions about whether control orders are being used for the purposes for which Parliament was told they were necessary, namely to protect the public from the risk of harm by suspected terrorists.
Control orders were first brought in [JURIST report] by the Tony Blair government in 2005, and apart from being politically controversial have already run into repeated problems in the courts [JURIST report].


 

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