Aaf – best practice human rights framework



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E and others v UK, Z and others v UK).

49 Legal paper, pages 50-52.

50 UN Human Rights Committee, General Comment No. 31, The Nature of the General Legal Obligation Imposed on States Parties to the Covenant, UN Doc. CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.13, 26 May 2004, para 4, “All branches of government (executive, legislative and judicial), and other public or governmental authorities, at whatever level - national, regional or local - are in a position to engage the responsibility of the State Party.”

51 E and others v UK and Z and others v UK, legal paper pages 67-68

52 UN Human Rights Committee, General Comment No. 31, The Nature of the General Legal Obligation Imposed on States Parties to the Covenant, UN Doc. CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.13, 26 May 2004, para. 8.

53 This model, explained in Annex X, involves all interested parties participating to identify:

  • Facts: what happened? Allowing everyone involved to have their say, and determine what happened;

  • Analysis of rights: what are the human rights at stake? Clarifying the human rights issues of everyone involved;

  • Investigation of responsibilities: who is responsible for what? Developing a shared framework of mutual responsibilities;

  • Recall: revisit the interaction at a later day to review progress in implementation of recommendations and remedy.

54 Research report, p 28, 29.

55 Research report, p 28, 30.

56 See also the role of prosecutions emerging from investigations, below.

57 See Legal paper, p 51.

58 UN Committee Against Torture, General Comment no. 2, Implementation of Article 2 of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment by States Parties, UN Doc. CAT/C/GC/2/CRP.1/Rev.4 (2007), para. 8. Cherie Booth Q.C. and Dan Squires consider that this may extend to those in hierarchical structures in institutions, Cherie Booth Q.C. and Dan Squires, The Negligence Liability of Public Authorities, OUP, 2005, para. 7.68.

59 See section on legality, in particular in relation to Article 7 of the ECHR.

60 While the duty of investigation, under Article 3 of the ECHR exists since mid 1990s at the international level, the ECtHR clearly considers that it extends to events much earlier than that (E and others v UK). However the House of Lords (in the Hurst case) considered that the equivalent obligations under Article 2 of the ECHR, existed domestically only since the Human Rights Act 1998 came into force on 2 October 2000. This case is currently being considered by the ECtHR. However the UN Committee against Torture clearly views investigation duties and broader remedies to exist today for historic conduct under the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. See legal paper, pages 11-12; 71-73

61 UN Human Rights Committee, General Comment no 31, para. 15.

62 See Assenov v Bulgaria, para. 102: “where an individual raises an arguable claim that he has been seriously ill-treated by the police or other such agents of the State unlawfully and in breach of Article 3, that provision, read in conjunction with the State’s general duty under Article 1…requires by implication that there should be an effective official investigation. This obligation, as with that under Article 2, should be capable of leading to the identification and punishment of those responsible.” and legal paper pages 53-

63 M.C. v Bulgaria, Judgement of 4 December 2003, para 151.

64 E and others v UK and Z and others v UK

65 Dhaou Belgacem Thabti v. Tunisia (187/2001), UN CAT, UN Doc. A/59/44(14 November 2003) 167 (CAT/C/31/D/187/2001) at para 10.6.

66 Manfred Nowak and Elizabeth McArthur, The United Nations Convention Against Torture, a commentary, OUP, 2008, p 418,, p 432, para 53, citing concluding observations and view of the UN CAT.

67 There are also indications that the European Convention of Human Rights may require investigation and prosecutions in respect of abuses of other rights. In one case, for example the ECtHR found a violation of article 8 where Dutch criminal law did not provide for prosecution where an individual (due to incapacity) was unable to lodge a criminal complaint of rape. X and Y v Netherlands, (8978/80)(1986 8EHRR235).

68 Or where an “arguable claim” of torture or ill-treatment by agents of the State is made – see Assenov v Turkey, 1998, legal paper, p 53.

69 M.C. v Bulgaria, Judgement of 4 December 2003, para 151, legal paper, p 56.

70 See legal paper, pages 54-55.

71 UN CAT, General Comment 2, para 18., Legal paper, p 47.

72 E and others v UK, 2002, para 110; Z and others v UK, Judgement of 10 May 2001, para 109.

73 UN Human Rights Committee, General Comment no. 31, General Comment No. 31 [80] Nature of the General Legal Obligation Imposed on States Parties to the Covenant : . 26/05/2004. UN Doc. CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.13, 26 May 2004 para 18.

74 As the UN Human Rights Committee has stated, “the problem of impunity for these violations…may well be an important contributing element in the recurrence of the violations.” UN Human Rights Committee, General Comment no. 31, para. 18. The assessment of whether it is reasonable not to investigate in these circumstances will depend on an assessment of the remedies available as a whole. See legal paper, p 59.

75 Nowak and McArthur, p 415, para 5: “such investigations do not necessarily lead to a full criminal investigation or even prosecution, but perhaps to a disciplinary sanction or only to a better knowledge about the risks of torture [and ill-treatment] and how such risks can be more effectively prevented.” (see legal paper, p 58.)

76 M.C. v Bulgaria, 39272/98, 2005.

77 Report of the independent expert to update the Set of principles to combat impunity, Diane Orentlicher, UN Doc. E/CN.4/2005/102, 18 February 2005, para 59.

78 Recent documentation produced by the Scottish Government in relation to the Pilot Forum suggests that “information on individuals will only be disclosed if alleged abusers named at the Pilot Forum are known to be working with children or vulnerable adults at present.” www.survivorscotland.org

79 As the Minister stated at the time "I am pleased to inform Parliament that we have been actively scoping the adaptation of the principles of a truth and reconciliation model. We are committed to that. We are considering good practice examples for establishing a forum to give survivors the chance to speak about their experiences and to help them come to terms with the past. That will provide an invaluable opportunity to establish the facts, learn from the suffering and use the experience to help us protect and provide for children in the future." Adam Ingram MSP, Minister for Children and Early Years, Official Report of the Scottish Parliament, 7 February 2008, http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/business/officialReports/meetingsParliament/or-08/sor0207-02.htm

80 See research paper, p 37, 42, 44, 47.

81 Elsewhere in the documentation on the Pilot Forum this formulation is presented differently as “information on individuals will only be disclosed if alleged abusers named at the Pilot Forum are known to be working with children or vulnerable adults at present.” SG documentation, “Annex A, What is the Pilot Forum? A Message from Tom Shaw who will chair the Pilot Forum” www.survivorscotland.org.uk

82 Scottish Government Question and Answer document on the Pilot Forum. www.survivorscotland.org

83 International Center for Transitional Justice, Canada: submission to the Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council, fourth session 2-13 February 2009, para 17.

84 The confidential committee and the investigations committee in Ireland interacted, in that all witnesses before the confidential committee were offered an interview and some a full hearing , where evidence was particularly “profound”. In practice where a number of similar allegations were made in respect of the same institution, only some proceeded to a full hearing.
While the Scottish Government has thus far not committed to an investigations committee model, citing the hugely escalating costs in the Irish process, it has been suggested to the Commission that the experience of other inquiries, such as the recent Dublin Inquiry, may offer a cost effective alternative.
Another aspect of the Irish experience which has been considered extremely successful was to hold a series of “emergence hearings” and other public hearings, at which matters of public record, such as existing criminal convictions would be set down in advance of further hearings. These emergence hearings involved institutions and survivors. (Information provided to the Commission on the Irish experience. Survivors’ groups also expressed to the Commission the need for “acceptance by all the parties of the previous court findings whereby individuals have been found guilty and abuse upheld.”)
Different jurisdictions have taken different approaches to prosecutions for historic crimes. Whereas there have been a number of prosecutions in Scotland and Ireland, for example, a leading commentator in Australia suggests that there has been a “complete lack of prosecutorial interest in the many claims of abuse arising from the Stolen Generation in Australia”. (Chris Cunneen, “Legal and Political Responses to the Stolen Generation: lessons from Ireland?”, Indigenous Law Bulletin v.5 no.27 Sept 2003, pages 14-19.)


85 Scottish Government documentation related to the Pilot Forum appears to place the emphasis for pursuing criminal cases on the survivor. As an information note which accompanied the announcement of the Pilot Forum states, “participation in the Pilot Forum does not mean that people can’t continue to pursue criminal or civil cases against their alleged abuser(s).” The only envisaged exception to this, as noted earlier, is where “this is essential to prevent harm to others, for example where the person that they say abused them is still working with or has the case of children or adults.” See legal paper, pages 65, UN Committee against Torture, “Amnesties are generally incompatible with the duty of States to investigate such acts; to guarantee freedom from such acts within their jurisdiction; and to ensure that they do not occur in the future.” The ECtHR has found that “when an agent of the State is accused of crimes that violate Article 3, the criminal proceedings and sentencing must not be time-barred and the granting of an amnesty or pardon should not be permissible”.

86 This is the case where the state itself has violated an individual’s rights and also where the State has failed to protect an individual from acts or omissions of others which amount to human rights abuses.

87 See E and others v UK and UN CAT concluding observations on New Zealand (legal paper pages 70-72).

88 The importance of prompt remedies, particularly for older survivors, emerged from the research (research paper, throughout). The Legal paper points out the requirement that reparations be “adequate, effective and prompt” (legal paper, page 64).

89 Klass and Others v. Germany (A/28) (1979-80) September 6, 1978. The case involved surveillance of the applicant in connection with a criminal investigation.

90 İlhan v Turkey, no. 22277/93, ECHR 2000-VII, judgement of 27 June 2000.

91 Paulino Tomás v. Portugal (2003)

92 See Report of UN Independent Expert to update the Set of principles to combat impunity, p 17 (legal paper, p 81-82). As the Independent Expert warns, based on international experience, “When a reparations programme functions in the absence of other justice measures, the benefits it distributes risk being seen as constituting the currency with which the State tries to buy the silence or acquiescence of victims and their families.”

93 See Legal paper pp 64-68; 94-97

94 See E and others v UK.

95 UN HRC, General Comment no. 31, para. 15.

96 E and others v UK pointed to gaps in the current framework for remedies of historic abuse in Scotland (and the equivalent English case of Z and others v UK did the same in respect of England).

97 In Australia the Senate Committee examining institutional child abuse recommended that governments review the law and consider amending limitation legislation (Parliament of Australia, Senate Community Affairs Committee, Forgotten Australians: a report on Australians who experienced institutional or out-of-home care as children, 2004. In Canada, the federal government stopped using technical defences to contest civil cases initiated by Aboriginal people who experience historical abuse in , Canada and Ireland have all addressed the issue of limitation to civil claims in considering reparations for survivors of historic child abuse. In Ireland for example the reparations package included an amendment to the statute of limitations. (see annex 3). In developing similar human rights frameworks other national human rights institutions have suggested that no limitation period should be applied to monetary compensation mechanisms for historic child abuse (Australian HREOC, 1997, recommendation 17(3)).

98 Ireland passed the Statute or Limitations (Amendment) Act 2000, which retrospectively extended the period within which a person may bring a civil claim arising out of child sexual abuse in circumstances where the person bringing the claim is deemed to be “under a disability”’. (Compensation Advisory Committee (2002) Towards Redress and Recovery. Report to the Minister for Education and Science, Dublin, January 2002. (Also known as the Ryan Report. Full text: http:/www.rirb.ie/ryanreport.asp), p 512-52. ‘In such cases the normal three year period does not begin to run ... until he or she overcomes the psychological injury’. The amendments still allow for judicial discretion in allowing for dismissal of claims. Section 3 of the Act provides that the court retains the power ‘to dismiss an action on the ground of there being such a delay between the accrual of the cause of the action and the bringing of the action as, in the interests of justice, would warrant its dismissal’.

99 Scottish Law Commission, Report on Personal Injury Actions: limitation and prescribed claims, December 2007, Scot Law Com No. 207, p 60-62.

100 Judge calls for abuse law change, BBC News, 5 December 2008, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/7768129.stm reporting statements by Lord McEwan in A v N [2008] CSOH 165, para 26, “I have an uneasy feeling that the legislation and the strict way the courts have interpreted it, has failed a generation of children who've been abused and whose attempts to seek a fair remedy have become mired in the legal system."

101 See legal paper pages 73-78 and in particular Stubbings and others v United Kingdom (Application No. 22083/93), legal paper p 75-76. The ECtHR noted that there may be a need in the near future to amend rules on limitation of actions on historic child abuse (at para 56).

102 See legal paper, pages 77-78.

103 Scottish Law Commission, Report on Personal Injury Actions: limitation and prescribed claims, December 2007, Scot Law Com No. 207, p 58-59.

104 see research report, p 30.

105 Most of the survivors who participated in research to inform this framework felt reparations should be an element of the Forum (Research report, p 28). Other national human rights institutions which have developed human rights frameworks for addressing historic abuse of children have also recommended a comprehensive approach to reparations. The Australian HREOC (as it was then) recommended in 1997 that “reparation should consist of “1. acknowledgement and apology; 2. guarantees of non-repetition; 3. measures of restitution; 4. measures of rehabilitation, and; 5. monetary compensation” (recommendation 3).

106 Factory at Chorzow, PCIJ (Permanent Court of International Justice), Ser A, No 17 (1928). Also in the European human rights system, the ECtHR has stated, “A judgment in which it finds a breach imposes on the respondent State a legal obligation under [Article 46 of the ECHR] to put an end to the breach and to make reparation for its consequences in such a way as to restore as far as possible the situation existing before the breach.”, Assanidze v Georgia, no. 71503/01, ECHR 2004-II, judgement of 8 April 2004, para. 198.

107 See views of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Restitution, Compensation and Rehabilitation for Victims of Gross Violations of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (legal paper, p 60) and research paper, p 31 where survivors clearly envisaged a wide range of reparations from which survivors could determine the appropriate reparations for themselves. p 36 “people should be able to chose the type of counselling/support they required”.

108 UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Restitution, Compensation and Rehabilitation for Victims of Gross Violations of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, ‘Study concerning the right to restitution, compensation and rehabilitation for victims of gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms’, UN Commission on Human Rights, Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, forty-fifth session, UN Doc. E/CN.4/Sub.2/1993/8, 2 July 1993 at 56.

109 Van Boven Principles, IX, para 15. This has been the case in other contexts such as Ireland, where institutions such as churches have provided elements of reparation including compensation.

110 Research report, p 36. Family tracing was seen to be very important to witnesses in the Irish process.

111 Some participants in the Scottish Government consultation were in favour of compensation, noting problems with civil litigation and enduring financial hardship. However others took the view that compensation could be pursued through different mechanisms such as the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (however the report of the consultation did not mention that this mechanism is limited to acts which were criminal at the time and to acts after 1964).

112 for example for physical or mental harm, lost opportunities including employment, education and social benefits, material damages and loss of earnings including earning potential, moral damage and any costs for legal or expert assistance and medical, psychological and social services”. See legal paper, pages 62, 86-87.

113 a precise calculation of the sums necessary to make complete reparation … may be prevented by the inherently uncertain character of the damage flowing from the violation ... An award may still be made notwithstanding the large number of imponderables involved in the assessment of future losses, though the greater the lapse of time involved the more uncertain the link becomes between the breach and the damage. The question to be decided in such cases is the level of just satisfaction, in respect of both past and future pecuniary loss, which it is necessary to award to each applicant, the matter to be determined by the Court at its discretion, having regard to what is equitable.” , Z and others v UK, application 29392/95, 2001, para. 120. (legal paper, page 86-87).

114 Z and others v UK (Legal paper pages 66-68).

115 ibid and E and others v UK (Legal paper pages 66-68).

116 the Catholic Church in Ireland has put up a substantial amount of money to assist financial compensation. At this stage, I am not persuaded that we should follow that model, but, as I said, I am open to persuasion and argument." Adam Ingram MSP, Minister for Children and Early Years, Official Report of the Scottish Parliament, 7 February 2008, http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/business/officialReports/meetingsParliament/or-08/sor0207-02.htm

117 Scottish Law Commission, Report on Personal Injury Actions: limitation and prescribed claims, December 2007, Scot Law Com No. 207, p 58-59.

118 “£800,000 for children’s home sex abuse victims”, Scotsman, 2 October 2009.

119 The Scottish Government consultation suggests a majority of respondents supported the inclusion of therapeutic rehabilitation within the Forum and other remedies. Research to support this framework suggests survivors would also benefit from drug and alcohol rehabilitation (research report, p 36).

120 The Scottish Government consultation suggests a majority of respondents supported the inclusion of education and training within the Forum and other remedies.

121 Most of the survivors contacted during research to support this framework felt that the Forum should be held in public (Research report, p 30), as did institutions and staff (research report, p 41).

122 The summary of responses to the Scottish Government consultation on the AAF suggests clear coalescence around historical record and public recognition, with privacy to be determined by the individual. Most of the survivors who participated in research to support this framework took a similar view (research report, p 30-31).

123 Other national human rights institutions developing human rights frameworks for addressing historic abuse have recommended that churches and other non-governmental agencies acknowledge that role and in consultation with survivors make such formal apologies and participate in such commemorations as may be appropriate. (Australian HREOC, 1997, recommendation 6) Views in the Scottish Government consultation on apology were split, however participants appeared to have unanswered questions, considering that this would be

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