R (Al-Skeini) v Secretary of State for Defence

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
JudgeLord Justice Rix,OR
Judgment Date13 June 2007
Neutral Citation[2004] EWHC 2911 (Admin)
Docket NumberCase No: CO/2242/2004
CourtQueen's Bench Division (Administrative Court)
Date13 June 2007
Between:
The Queen On The Application Of - Mazin Jumaa Gatteh Al Skeini And Others
Claimants
and
The Secretary Of State For Defence
Defendant
and
The Redress Trust
Intervener

[2004] EWHC 2911 (Admin)

Before:

The Right Honourable Lord Justice Rix and

The Honourable Mr Justice Forbes

Case No: CO/2242/2004

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE

QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION

DIVISIONAL COURT

Royal Courts of Justice

Strand, London, WC2A 2LL

Rabinder Singh QC, Michael Fordham, Shaheed Fatima and Professor Christine Chinkin (instructed by Public Interest Lawyers) for the Claimants

Professor Christopher Greenwood QC, Philip Sales and Cecilia Ivimy (instructed by The Treasury Solicitor) for the Defendant

Edward Fitzgerald QC, Mark Henderson and Joseph Middleton (instructed by Bhatt Murphy) for the Intervener by way of written submissions

Hearing dates: 28th, 29th and 30th July and 30 November 2004

Summary

(this note forms no part of the judgment)

1

In this judgment of the court, the Divisional Court considers the claims of six claimants, relatives respectively of Iraqi citizens who have died in provinces of Iraq where and at a time when the United Kingdom was recognised as an occupying power (viz between 1 May 2003 and 28 June 2004). The first five claimants' relatives were shot in separate armed incidents involving British troops. The sixth claimant's son, Mr Baha Mousa, died in a military prison in British custody. The claims are for judicial review, on the basis that article 2 and (in the case of the sixth claimant) also article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights applies, by reason of the Human Rights Act 1998, to these claims.

2

This judgment is only concerned with two preliminary issues: (1) whether the deaths took place within the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom so as to fall within the scope of (a) the Convention and (b) the Act; and (2) whether, if so, there has been a breach of the requirements under articles 2 and 3 of the Convention regarding an adequate enquiry into those deaths.

3

The judgment first decides, on the basis of a consideration of Strasbourg jurisprudence, that a state party's jurisdiction within article 1 of the Convention ("The High Contracting Parties shall secure to everyone within their jurisdiction the rights and freedoms defined in Section 1 of this Convention") is essentially territorial; that exceptionally such jurisdiction extends to outposts of the state's authority abroad such as embassies and consulates; that this exception can apply to a prison operated by a state party in the territory of another state with the consent of that state; but that it does not apply to the total territory of another state which is not itself a party to the Convention, even if that territory is in the effective control of the first state; and that therefore only the case of the sixth complainant, in respect of his son's death in a British prison in Iraq, was within the United Kingdom's jurisdiction and thus within the scope of the Convention. It follows that, in the opinion of the court, the claims of the first five claimants must fail.

4

Secondly, the judgment decides, on the basis of a consideration of the Act, that its scope is also essentially territorial but also extends exceptionally, like the Convention, to the case of outposts of the United Kingdom's authority abroad such as embassies and consulates and in this case the prison in Iraq in which the death of Mr Baha Mousa occurred. It follows that, in the opinion of the court, the sixth claim is capable of falling within the Convention and the Act.

5

Thirdly, the judgment decides, on the basis of a consideration of the facts relating to the death of Mr Baha Mousa and the surrounding circumstances, that the enquiries that have taken place into his death are not adequate in terms of the implied procedural requirements of articles 2 and 3 of the Convention.

Index to Al-Skeini Judgment

Introduction

2–8

General background

9–13

The post-conflict government and administration of Iraq

14–39

The position of the United Kingdom's armed forces in Iraq during the relevant period (i.e. 1 May 2003 to 28 June 2004)

40–46

Investigations into civilian deaths

47–54

The facts of each of the six cases

55–89

Case 1: Hazim Jum'aa Gatteh Al-Skeini

56–59

Case 2: Muhammad Abdul Ridha Salim.

60–63

Case 3: Hannan Mahaibas Sadde Shmailawi

64–67

Case 4: Waleed Sayay Muzban

68–76

Case 5: Raid Hadi Sabir Al Musawi

77–80

Case 6: Baha Mousa

81–89

Jurisdiction under the Convention

90

The provisions of the Convention

91–95

The travaux préparatoires of the Convention

96–99

Other relevant international texts

100–107

The essential structure of the issue between the parties concerning the jurisdiction of the Convention

108–116

Bankovic v. Belgium (2001)

117–126

The Strasbourg jurisprudence

127–201

X v. Federal Republic of Germany

128–129

Cyprus v. Turkey

130–137

Hess v. United Kingdom

138–140

X and Y v. Switzerland

141–143

X v. United Kingdom

144–145

Tyrer v. United Kingdom

146–148

W v. United Kingdom

149

Soering v. United Kingdom

150–153

Thanh v. United Kingdom

154

Chrysostomos, Papachrysostomou and Loizidou v. Turkey

155–157

Drozd and Janousek v. France and Spain

158–166

WM v. Denmark

167–169

Loizidou v. Turkey

170–174

Loizidou v. Turkey (Merits)

175–176

Cyprus v. Turkey

177–180

Yonghong v. Portugal

181–182

Cyprus v. Turkey

183–187

Al-Adsani v. United Kingdom

188–189

Bankovic v Belgium

190–191

Öcalan v. Turkey

192–195

Ilascu v. Moldova and Russia

196–201

Issa v Turkey

202–222

Domestic jurisprudence

223–239

R (Abbasi and another) v. Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and Secretary of State for the Home Department

224–228

R (on the application of Quark Fishing Ltd) v. Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

229–231

Regina (Ullah) v. Special Adjudicator

232–239

Jurisprudence of other nations

240–243

Cook v. The Queen

241

Rasul v. Bush

242

Conclusions derived from this jurisprudence

244–280

The principles as applied to the facts

281–288

Jurisdiction under the Human Rights Act 1998

289–307

R(B) v. Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

308–317

Procedural requirements of articles 2 and 3 of the Convention

318–325

The procedural obligation as applied on the facts

326–341

Other Remedies

342–343

Conclusion

344–345

Lord Justice Rix
1

This is the judgment of the court to which both members have contributed.

Introduction

2

The claimants in these proceedings are all relatives of deceased Iraqi civilians ("the deceased"), who have been killed by or in the course of action taken by British soldiers in the period following completion of major combat operations in Iraq and prior to the assumption of authority by the Iraqi Interim Government (i.e. the period 1 May 2003 to 28 June 2004). The defendant is the Secretary of State for Defence ("the Secretary of State").

3

This judgment is concerned with the determination of two preliminary issues (as to which, see paragraphs 5 and 6 below) arising out of the claimants' application for judicial review of the Secretary of State's alleged failure and/or refusal: (i) to conduct independent inquiries into the deaths of the deceased, (ii) to accept liability for those deaths and (iii) to pay just satisfaction.

4

Stated in general terms, the claimants' application for judicial review concerns the legal responsibilities of the Secretary of State under section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 ("the HRA") in relation to the civilian deaths in question. It is the claimants' case (as originally pleaded) that the Secretary of State acted in breach of section 6 of the HRA, in particular by his violation of the procedural obligations under article 2 (the right to life) of the European Convention on Human Rights ("the Convention"), in failing and/or refusing to conduct independent inquiries into the deaths of the various deceased.

5

On 11 May 2004, at the hearing of the claimants' application for permission to apply for judicial review, Collins J granted the claimants permission to apply in relation to the two preliminary issues to be determined in these proceedings and (inter alia) ordered that the remainder of the application for permission be stayed until the determination of those preliminary issues: see paragraph 1 of the order of Collins J, made by consent on 11 May 2004 ("the 11 May Order").

6

Accordingly, these proceedings are concerned with the determination of the following two preliminary issues, as modified later by agreement between the parties (as to which, see paragraph 8 below): see the terms of paragraph 2 of the 11 May Order:

"2. There shall be a hearing to determine the following preliminary issues:

2.1 Whether the European Convention of [Human] Rights and the Human Rights Act 1998 apply to the circumstances of this case; and

2.2 Whether the procedural duty under Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights has been violated by the Defendant."

7

By the same Order, Collins J also granted permission to amend the original claim form as follows: (i) to include Daoud Mousa (the father of Baha Mousa: as to whom, see below) as a new claimant and (ii) to amend the original grounds of the application to include (where relevant) a complaint that the Secretary of State...

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