CEASEFIRE has submitted a response to the Ministry of Justice consultation to abolish the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA) and instead replace it with a new Bill of Rights. CEASEFIRE’s submission, drafted by legal expert Dr Stuart Wallace, responds specifically to the section on the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the HRA.
CEASEFIRE’s view is that any attempt to remove overseas military operations from the application of human rights law, whether by means of an international protocol, domestic legislation, or derogation, poses a severe threat to the rights of civilians. The government also faces formidable obstacles in its proposals for this and is unlikely to achieve its aims.
Rather than trying to change the application of the law to military operations, the government should take alternative approaches to address underlying problems which lead applicants to use the ECHR/HRA system in the first place.
CEASEFIRE makes the following recommendations to the government:
- Improve enforcement of IHL in military operations
- Offer alternative, independent and effective forums for complaints to be addressed
- Conduct prompt, independent, impartial and effective investigations where alleged violations occur in theatre and improve investigation methods
- The UK should seek complementary application of IHL and IHRL during military operations, as this is consistent with the UK’s other legal obligations and international legal practice.
Our report Reparations for Civilian Harm in Military Operations: Towards a UK Policy examines compensation claims for civilians harmed by UK military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of these claims are made under the Human Rights Act 1998.
Read our full submission here. Our thanks goes to Dr Stuart Wallace for drafting this submission.