03/12/2014

Irish Govt Re-Examines 'Hooded Men' Case

The Irish government has said it will request the European Court of Human Rights to review its judgement in the case of the 'Hooded Men', related to alleged torture carried out by British forces during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

In 1971, the Irish government brought a case against the UK before the European Commission and Court of Human Rights, alleging human rights violations arising from internment in Northern Ireland.

Of particular significance was the use of the so-called 'Five Techniques' of interrogation suffered by 14 detainees. These included hooding, wall-standing, subjection to noise, sleep deprivation and deprivation of food and drink.

Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan has announced that Ireland will now request the European Court of Human Rights to revise its judgment in the case of the 'Hooded Men'. He said the decision had been taken following a review of thousands of recently released documents.

The European Commission held that torture had occurred, but in 1978 the Court said the treatment of the men amounted to 'inhumane and degrading treatment' but not torture.

The Irish government re-looked at the issue following the broadcast of an RTÉ documentary on 4 June this year on the case of the Hooded Men. It alleged that British authorities at the time misled the European Commission on Human Rights and the Court by withholding information in the case.

Minister Flanagan said: "The Government is aware of the suffering of the individual men and of their families, of the significance of this case, and of the weight of these allegations. The archival material which underlay the RTÉ documentary was therefore taken very seriously by the Government and was subject to thorough legal analysis and advice. On the basis of the new material uncovered, it will be contended that the ill-treatment suffered by the Hooded Men should be recognised as torture.

"The Government’s decision was not taken lightly. As EU partners, UK and Ireland have worked together to promote human rights in many fora and during the original case, the UK did not contest before the European Court of Human Rights that a breach of Article 3 of the European Convention of Human rights took place. The British and Irish Governments have both worked hard to build stronger more trusting relations in recent years and I believe that this relationship will now stand to us as we work through the serious matters raised by these cases which have come to light in recent months."

(IT/CD)

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