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

17
Sep

Submission to UN Human Rights Council on UK impunity proposals for the NI conflict

The UN Human Rights Council has been examining concerns related to the Northern Ireland Office’s impunity proposals. In recent months, the UK has unilaterally departed from the provisions of the 2014 Stormont House Agreement (SHA). Instead, the UK now proposes introducing legislation that would include a statute-bar on investigating conflict related incidents, along with an...
07
Sep

New report finds proposed UK government amnesty cannot deliver truth for victims of The Troubles

A team of legacy experts based within Queen’s University Belfast and CAJ have released a detailed report on the UK government’s recent ‘Command Paper on Legacy’. Since 2013, this team has produced a range of technical briefings and reports designed to help inform public debates on dealing with the past. The new report ‘Addressing the...
17
Jun

Human Rights NGOs, academics, and lawyers express ‘deep concerns’ about NIO proposed legislation

An open letter endorsed by human rights NGOs, academics and lawyers has made fresh calls for the legacy commitments made in the New Decade New Approach Agreement to be returned to. The current British Government committed in the January 2020 (UK-Ireland) New Decade New Approach agreement to legislating for the SHA ‘within 100 days’. The...
14
Jun

‘Hooded Men’ appeal to be heard in the UK Supreme Court

From 14 to 16 June 2021, the UK Supreme Court will hear an appeal from Northern Ireland in relation to the treatment of the ‘Hooded Men’.  The case is being taken by Mary McKenna, daughter of one of the Hooded Men, Sean McKenna. Mr McKenna, after release from internment, spent the rest of his life...
01
Apr

Submission to the Committee of Ministers in relation to the supervision of the cases concerning the action of the security forces in Northern Ireland (February 2021)

CAJ regularly makes submissions the Committee of Ministers on the ‘McKerr group of cases’ concerning the actions of the security forces in the 1980s and 1990s in Northern Ireland. Our recent submissions have charted the unilateral abandonment by the UK of commitments to implement the legacy mechanisms contained within the Stormont House Agreement (SHA), and...
02
Feb

Model Bill Team submission to the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence

The UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of Truth, Justice Reparations and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence is drafting a follow-up report to examine to what extent the UK has implemented recommendations made based on an official visit to the country in 2016. Civil society groups and national human rights institutions have been given an opportunity to...
16
Dec

MI6 unilaterally assumed power to break law on UK soil, tribunal reveals

At the Investigatory Powers Tribunal today, it was revealed that MI6 may have unilaterally assumed the power to authorise agents to commit crimes in the UK  – potentially without any legal basis or limits on the crimes they can commit. Reprieve, the Pat Finucane Centre, Privacy International, and CAJ have been challenging a secret policy...
Cover of the 2020 annual report
11
Dec

CAJ Annual Report 2020

Since our last Annual Report, the world has changed. A pandemic grips the planet, with over 68 million cases of Covid-19 infection and over one and a half million deaths caused by the virus. This is the most significant change on a global level and there are many consequences for human rights, negative and positive....
03
Dec

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

The Committee of Ministers is the decision-making body of Europe’s leading human rights organisation, the Council of Europe. Its functions include examining the execution of judgments made by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in a series of cases in which states have been found to have committed human rights violations. CAJ regularly makes submissions the...

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