Thursday, July 7, 2011

Strasbourg Court Verdict Could Change Conduct of War by EU States?

In a significant expansion of the EU Convention on Human Rights, the Strasbourg court ruled recently that UK troops had to comply with the convention even though they were engaged in hostilities in Iraq. I haven't read the full judgment yet but this looks like something that could potentially change the conduct of hostilities in non-convention states, at least by EU countries. It might also have implications for anti-piracy operations by EU navies off the coast of Somalia. From the CNN report:
"following the removal from power of the Baath regime and until the accession of the Iraqi Interim Government, the United Kingdom (together with the United States) assumed in Iraq the exercise of some of the public powers normally to be exercised by a sovereign government.

"In particular, the United Kingdom assumed authority and responsibility for the maintenance of security in (southeastern) Iraq," the court said. "In those exceptional circumstances, a jurisdictional link existed between the United Kingdom and individuals killed in the course of security operations carried out by British soldiers during the period May 2003 to June 2004. Since the applicants' relatives were killed in the course of United Kingdom security operations during that period, the United Kingdom was required to carry out an investigation into their deaths."

The court only seems to be requiring an investigation. I assume that if the investigation found that the use of lethal force was justified, it might satisfy convention obligations?