Promoting Justice /
Protecting Rights

Combating Impunity

“Impunity” is the term used for a systemic failure to hold people, especially state agents, accountable for human rights violations. It is hugely destructive of the rule of law and erodes faith in the justice system and state institutions in general.

The longer it goes on, the more it poisons contemporary society, even when it relates to crimes of the past. A failure to hold a state to account for patterns of past human rights violations, fuels the risk that they will be repeated at home or abroad when similar circumstances arise. This is why impunity is a prime target of human rights activists throughout the world.

Latest press releases and publications

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...
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...
20
Sep

NI Court of Appeal holds that the Hooded Men were tortured and that there should be a new investigation

The Court of Appeal in Belfast today held that the treatment meted out to the ‘Hooded Men’, if it occurred today, would “properly be characterised as torture”. They further held that the Chief Constable had promised a criminal investigation, which has not yet happened, but that any investigation by the PSNI Legacy Investigation Branch or...
02
May

Representatives of three NI NGOs to address the UN on the UK’s record on torture

Next week representatives of three local NGOs will be travelling to Geneva to address members of the United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT) regarding the UK’s compliance with its international obligations on the prevention of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment. Andrée Murphy and Irati Aiesta from Relatives for Justice, Gemma McKeown from the Committee...
21
Mar

Submission to the UN Committee Against Torture on the UK’s Sixth Periodic Report on compliance with the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

The UK is currently undergoing the sixth periodic review of its compliance with the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which it ratified in 1988. All states signed up to the treaty have a duty to prevent and investigate torture, support victims of torture, and ensure perpetrators are...
15
Mar

Committee of Ministers decision – international community asks UK to provide timeframe on introducing Stormont House Agreement legacy legislation into Westminster

The Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers has published its latest decisions in relation to the scrutiny of the ‘cases concerning the actions of the security forces in Northern Ireland’, otherwise known as the McKerr group of cases. This follows on from a meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies, which took place in Strasburg earlier this...
27
Feb

Statement from CAJ on the Supreme Court judgment in the case of Pat Finucane

CAJ is pleased with the unanimous decision of the UK Supreme Court to uphold the appeal taken by Geraldine Finucane in relation to the murder of her husband Pat Finucane. Pat Finucane was murdered on 12 February 1989 and although David Cameron admitted in 2012 that there were ‘shocking levels of collusion’ in this murder...

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