OMCT welcomes principled stand on re-opening landmark torture case


Ireland:OMCT welcomes principled stand on re-opening landmark torture case

Geneva, 3 December 2014. The World OrganisationAgainst Torture (OMCT), the principal global civil society coalition againsttorture, today welcomes the Irish Government over its decision to seek there-opening of the 1971 case on UK torture techniques in Northern Ireland.

‘This iscourageous, principled and significant’, said Gerald Staberock, OMCT SecretaryGeneral in a comment by the leading global coalition against torture.

The OMCTconsiders that the case can bring justice and truth to those subjected to thistreatment and that it comes at a crucial moment of time when the prohibition oftorture, cruel and inhuman treatment remains challenged globally when fightingsecurity threats.

In 1971 theEuropean Court of Human Rights seized by the Irish Government had held that the‘so-called five techniques’, including hooding and other stress and duresstechniques used by the UK security forces in the midst of the ‘troubles’ inNorthern Ireland amounted to prohibited cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

Many in theanti-torture movement have for long felt that such techniques should have beenconsidered as torture, or would at the very least qualify as such underinternational law today. Following media revelations[1]based on previously classified information it is now suggested that the UKauthorities used treatment amounting to torture and about having misled thecourt at the time. The Irish Government is reported to seeking the formal reopeningof the case.

Bringingthe case to the European Court of Human Rights 40 years ago had a clearingeffect on the debate on torture and cruel and inhuman or degrading treatment inEurope at the time. It fostered the global cause against torture, including theUKs own anti-torture policies drafted since.

‘Just like40 years ago we need a ruling that clears all ambiguity over how much crueltyis torture. Re-opening such a case also reminds us of the force of theinter-state complaint procedure under the European Court of Human Rights thathas unfortunately been long forgotten’, the OMCT noted

For further information, please contact:

OMCT, +41(0) 22 809 49 39,


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