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

09
Apr

Drive to achieve impunity for soldiers risks legacy process in Northern Ireland, according to new report

There are clear deficiencies in the UK government’s most recent proposals for dealing with the legacy of Northern Ireland’s past, according to a new report published today. Prosecutions, Imprisonment and the Stormont House Agreement: A Critical Analysis of Proposals on Dealing with the Past in Northern Ireland reviews all of the proposals put forward on...
Cover of Prosecutions, Imprisonment and the Stormont House Agreement
09
Apr

Prosecutions, Imprisonment and the Stormont House Agreement: A Critical Analysis of Proposals on Dealing with the Past in Northern Ireland

In recent years, there have been eleven distinct proposals on dealing with the legacy of the past in Northern Ireland. Most recently, a new approach to legacy was put forward by the UK government in a statement delivered by the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) in March 2020. Prosecutions, Imprisonment and the Stormont House Agreement: A...
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...
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...

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