Consider McCann, Farrell & Savage v UK
Who were the applicants?
Intelligence suggested a team of known PIRA members (McCann, Savage, Farrell) were planning a bombing in Gibraltar. One of the team was a known explosives expert while the others had been linked as well as convicted for various explosive and terrorist related activities. During surveillance, the team crossed the border from Spain with no resistance from the authorities and subsequently parked a car in a crowded place. In previous times, the IRA had employed remote control detonators and intelligence suggested the car was rigged with explosives with the suspects holding the remote detonator.
A team of SAS soldiers was sent to intercept and arrest them on conspiracy charges, in an operation code-named Operation Flavius. The team, in accordance with their training, shot and killed the suspects which at the time was justified by the teams to be in response to the suspects reaching for what they believed were the detonators. The inquest into the shootings found no breach of Article 2 of the Gibraltar constitution. At the time of the shootings the suspects had neither a detonator nor any explosives. A car was however found registered under one of the suspects names which had been laced with explosive devices of 'ticking time bomb' type and not remote detonators. It appeared that the suspects were on a reconnaissance-mission and had parked their car to save a space for the actual car containing the explosives.
What are the principle facts of the case?
The principle facts of the case was the fact that there had been a breach of article 2 of ECHR. The case went to the ECHR. The court considered whether the shooting was disproportionate to the aims to be achieved by the state in apprehending the suspects and defending the citizens of Gibraltar from unlawful violence. The court basically ruled that the actions of the soldiers at the time met the requirement of absolute necessity because they believed the suspects were reaching for detonators which intelligence and superiors had specifically warned them against.
What are the 2 obligations laid down in the case?
First, the court found a breach in the failure to arrest the suspects at the border so as to safeguard all human lives concerned. Second, the court found that the authorities did not consider the correctness of the intelligence (which turned out to be wrong) and, thirdly, the use of SAS soldiers - combat teams trained to shoot to kill - also amounted to a procedural failure in planning the mission which breached article 2. Nine of nineteen judges dissented: Ryssdal, Bernhardt, Vilhjálmsson, Gölcüklü, Palm, Pekkanen, Freeland, Baka and Jambrek. The court rejected that the U.K. had specifically planned an execution mission and not an arrest mission and dismissed unanimously the applicants' claims save for compensation for legal expenses.
Article 3 – when the state abuses
People often suggest there is nothing worse than being killed by the state. There is – being tortured to death.
Bear in mind however, that Article 3 involves obligations besides the prohibition on Torture.
Ireland v UK
What were the ‘five techniques’?
The five techniques were wall-standing, hooding, subjection to noise, deprivation of sleep, and deprivation of food and drink.
Why was this considered not to be torture?
Although the five techniques, as applied in combination, undoubtedly amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment, although their object was the extraction of confessions, the naming of…