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

24
Sep

New law lets MI5 authorise crimes with no hard limits

A joint press release from CAJ, Reprieve, Privacy International, and the Pat Finucane Centre. Agents of MI5 and other Government bodies could be legally authorised to commit crimes under new legislation introduced today. There appear to be no express limits in the legislation on the types of crime which could be authorised. The Covert Human...
04
Sep

Council of Europe sets final deadline for UK to come clean on NI legacy bill and Pat Finucane investigation

The body overseeing implementation of the judgements of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has given a final deadline to the UK government by which it must provide details of its proposals to deal with the legacy of the conflict in Northern Ireland. The Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers has requested the information...
27
Jul

MI6 apologise for asking court staff to withhold evidence from Judges in case about crimes by covert agents

MI6 has been forced to apologise to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal after two of its officers asked court staff to return documents relating to MI6’s use of agents and not show them to judges. The Tribunal suggested MI6’s actions were “inappropriate interference”. The revelation emerged in an ongoing legal case considering what crimes intelligence informants...
07
May

Submission to UN Committee Against Torture: Follow up on the UK’s sixth periodic report

Last year, the UK submitted its sixth periodic report on its compliance with the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. All states signed up this convention – including the UK – have a duty to prevent and investigate torture, support victims of torture, and ensure perpetrators are punished....
27
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 (April 2020)

The Committee of Ministers is the decision-making body of Europe’s leading human rights organisation, the Council of Europe. In June 2020, the 1377th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies will examine 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...
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 judgments made by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in a series of cases in...

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