Last night I watched an extraordinary film from BBC’s Panorama. I found the film shocking – for if the allegations are proven, our Army has not complied with the Geneva Convention, our soldiers have betrayed the country in a misguided sense of loyalty to regiment, and senior officers and leading politicians have colluded in this. I am not talking about the heat of battle. This Panorama film covers the torture of unarmed hooded prisoners.
We are asked to support our troops and this we do willingly, despite whatever misgivings we may have had about the political decisions. Those few, in our armed services, when proven to have broken the rules, when proven to have killed or tortured, are not deserving of support through cover up and should be prosecuted. the Rule of Law applies just as much to the military as the civilian – unless, of course, you wish to take the view that in war there should be absolutely no rules at all.
The BBC reports: “In two separate inquiries, the British Army stands accused of committing war crimes in Iraq, and ex-Defence Minsters are now being called to account. With the MOD and the military justice system tainted by allegations that soldiers have got away with torture and murder, Paul Kenyon asks if the British army can really be trusted to police itself.”
It would seem that soldiers who suffered from collective regimental amnesia during the original investigation are now coming forward with what may just be the truth after being promised immunity. It is a pity that they were not brave enough to do so without such a promise.
Legal Aid – A Pyrrhic Victory?
The High Court has declared the LSC process contracting round to be irrational. Those without family contracts breathe a collective sigh of relief. Many celebrate and within days the gloom will gather again. Why? Firstly, the spending review is likely to lead to dramatic cuts in the actual levels of family aid and Article 6 challenges aside the Profession won’t be able to do much about it.
From MacRoberts Solicitors….
Being a college or university student can be a very exciting but stressful time, not least when you are waiting with anticipation to get your degree result. Most people accept what they have been given and move on to the next chapter of their lives. However, Queen’s University Belfast recent graduate Andrew Croskery is an exception to the general rule. In a first of its kind action, Mr Croskery has applied for a judicial review of the 2:2 degree classification he received
The Law Society has caught up with the news that the Supreme Court is on a list of Quangos under review. I make no critical point here – the Law Society Gazette is a weekly publication – but I am delighted that the Gazette is flagging this important issue up.
The Economist has run with the issue in a well argued piece: Cheap at the price – Britain’s new highest court has made few headlines. It matters all the same
“In five years’ time, it is quite likely that the Supreme Court will look more interventionist,” says Lord Goldsmith, a former attorney-general. Philippe Sands, a barrister who also teaches at University College London, agrees this is the likely evolution over time, but sees a countervailing cycle at work in the next few years. Courts tend to intervene more, he thinks, when Parliament is weak and the executive strong, because the legislature is unable or unwilling to hold the government to account. Now that Parliament is rediscovering its teeth in the face of a coalition government, the judges may be relatively restrained.