Human Rights

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Testing the Limits of Diplomatic Protection: Khadr v The Prime Minister of Canada

Elizabeth Prochaska is a Barrister at Matrix Chambers, London. She has recently completed a period as Judicial Assistant to Baroness Hale and Lord Brown in the House of Lords. Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen captured by US forces in Afghanistan at the age of 15 and imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay for 7 years, recently succeeded in convincing the Canadian Court of Appeal to order the Canadian government to request his immediate repatriation by the US  (Khadr v. Prime Minister of Canada 2009 FCA 246). This is no small achievement. Until the Court of Appeal’s judgment, no court – international or municipal – had recognised an obligation on a government to exercise diplomatic protection to safeguard nationals from ill-treatment at the hands of a foreign state.  The doctrine of diplomatic protection under which the state asserts its right to make claims on behalf of nationals injured abroad is a promising remedy for the human rights abuse of aliens. Governments can engage in all manner of conduct…

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Sorting Out the Torture Memo Issues, Part II: Deriving Appropriate Frameworks for Establishing Legal Culpability

In my first post, I began to address concerns brought to mind by W. Bradley Wendel’s excellent review for Legal Ethics (12:1) of five books on the "torture memos" generated by the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). That post lamented the tendency of the discourse on the memos’ improprieties to focus on criminal law…

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Goldstone Report on Gaza: A Question of Trust

I have just skimmed through the Goldstone Fact-Finding Mission’s Report on Gaza that was released yesterday. It is a beast at almost 600 pages, so I was necessarily more quick than thorough. All in all, my impression of the Report is that it is balanced, corroborated and credible. But this is, mind you, no more than an impression. I…

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Sorting Out the Torture Memo Issues, Part I: The Devaluation of Non-Penal International Norms

Editor's Note: See herefor a post welcoming Professor Roth While we continue to await the long-withheld report of the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Professsional Responsibility (OPR) on the conduct embodied in the notorious Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) "torture memoranda," W. Bradley Wendel sorts…

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Report on UK Complicity in Torture

On Tuesday the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights published its report on allegations of UK complicity in torture. I would particularly like to draw our readers’ attention to the Committee’s legal analysis of the scope of the UK’s obligations as a matter of two treaties, the UN Convention against Torture and the European Convention on Human…

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