Promoting Justice /
Protecting Rights

Accountable Policing and Justice

At its broadest, the concept of contemporary accountability refers to the “guarantees of non-recurrence” of major human rights violations established following a conflict. It involves many areas of society but with the common aim of establishing a fair and just system in which all people can have trust and confidence.

In a narrower sense, the concept refers to the laws, mechanisms and institutions which govern and hold to account the actions of the state, especially those elements entrusted with coercive powers. The goal of transitional justice, the term used in regions overcoming a past of violent conflict and building a new polity, is a society based on human rights and the rule of law. Progress towards that goal is essential if peace is to be based on confidence by all people in the institutions of state. Arguably, such progress is even more essential in a situation like ours where people with different national aspirations and even allegiances must share the same political and geographical space. One of the keys to contemporary accountability is policing and Justice.

Latest press releases and publications

23
Mar

COVID-19, Northern Ireland, and emergency law: A CAJ briefing note

Northern Ireland faces a real and pressing public health emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both the UK and Irish governments have introduced emergency legislation in response to this crisis. Emergency legislation in times of crisis can be necessary and actively support positive action to protect human rights. The general principle is that emergency measures...
18
Mar

CAJ response to UK government’s ‘new approach’ to legacy

CAJ shares the dismay of victims’ groups and others at the statement on legacy given by the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) today. This statement appears to envisage the abandonment of the structures proposed in the Stormont House Agreement (SHA) in favour of a new ‘fast-track’ process, the detail of which is entirely unclear. It seems...
10
Mar

Submission to the Committee of Ministers in relation to the supervision of the cases concerning the action of the security forces in Northern Ireland (January 2020)

The Committee of Ministers is the decision-making body of Europe’s leading human rights organisation, the Council of Europe. At the start of March 2020, the 1369th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies was held to look at the execution of judgements made by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in a series of cases in...
Cover of OSJI CAJ joint principles
05
Mar

Principles and Guidelines on Protest and the Right to Information

Social protests provide an important avenue for people to exercise their right to freedom of expression and their right to peaceful assembly. However, in recent years, many jurisdictions have placed new restrictions on protests, which often do not comport with international law and do not enhance public safety (or serve another legitimate purpose). In response...
20
Dec

Tribunal judges divided on MI5 secret approvals for serious crime

Five judges of the UK’s Investigatory Powers Tribunal have given a divided ruling over a secret MI5 policy allowing security service agents to commit serious crimes on UK soil. The judges decided 3-2 that MI5’s policy was lawful. The claimants in the case confirmed they would immediately seek permission to challenge the ruling at the...
11
Dec

CAJ Annual Report 2019

We are living in strange times, dominated by Brexit, but the work of CAJ has continued, unabated, over the last twelve months. In our latest annual report, CAJ’s key achievements from the last year are highlighted, including the establishment of two brand new projects to take our work forward. Introduction to the report: This has...
14
Nov

CAJ concern at ongoing secrecy regarding MI5 remit over British Army operations in Northern Ireland

CAJ has expressed concern at the ongoing secrecy over the potential operational relationship between MI5 and military units operating in Northern Ireland. This follows a ruling by the First-tier Tribunal (Information Rights) (1) to block disclosure of a section (henceforward referred to as ‘the disputed paragraph’) of the British Army’s terms of reference for ‘Operation...
21
Oct

Just News Autumn 2019

Inside this issue: A series of articles examine how amendments to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill 2019 on equal marriage, abortion law, and legacy will impact our society. Dr John Topping of Queen’s University Belfast writes about the PSNI’s use of ‘everyday’ stop and search powers. The Chair of the Northern Ireland Business and...
23
Sep

Submission to the Committee of Ministers in relation to the supervision of cases concerning the action of the security forces in Northern Ireland (July 2019)

On the 23 September 2019, the Council of Europe (CoE) Committee of Ministers, which oversees the implementation of the judgements of the European Court of Human Rights (ECthR), will meet in Strasbourg to consider whether there has been progress in implementing the requirements of a number of court judgements. It is expected that this will...

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