Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-568f69f84b-2wqtr Total loading time: 0.163 Render date: 2021-09-22T20:54:13.870Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

THE RENAISSANCE OF NON-REFOULEMENT? THE OTHMAN (ABU QATADA) DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 August 2012

Christopher Michaelsen
Affiliation:
Australian Human Rights Centre, Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, c.michaelsen@unsw.edu.au.

Extract

On 17 January 2012 the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) handed down its judgment in Othman (Abu Qatada) v United Kingdom.1 Abu Qatada, a radical Muslim cleric once described as ‘Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe’, was convicted in absentia in Jordan for various terrorist offences.2 He alleges, however, that part of the evidence against him had been obtained under torture. In 1994 he was granted refugee status and permitted to remain in the United Kingdom (UK) temporarily. Qatada later applied for indefinite leave to stay. While his application was pending, he was arrested in October 2002 and detained without charge or trial under the now-repealed Part 4 of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001. In March 2005 he was released from detention and put under a ‘control order’ under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005. A few months later, the UK government sought to deport Qatada to his native Jordan, having first concluded a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Jordanian government that he would not be subjected to torture or ill-treatment contrary to Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The deportation order was challenged before English courts, but ultimately upheld by the House of Lords in RB (FC) and Another v Secretary of State for the Home Department and OO v Secretary of State for the Home Department in 2009.3 In contrast, the ECtHR ruled unanimously that the UK could not lawfully deport Qatada to Jordan. The decision was criticized by Home Secretary Theresa May as ‘unacceptable’ and predictably led to several Conservative backbenchers in the House of Commons calling on the government to withdraw from the ECHR.4

Type
Current Developments: Public International Law
Copyright
Copyright © British Institute of International and Comparative Law 2012

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

1 Othman (Abu Qatada) v United Kingdom, App No 8139/09, Judgment of 17 January 2012 (‘Qatada’).

2 C Hope, ‘European judges’ ruling on Abu Qatada “a threat to our national security”’ The Telegraph, 7 February 2012, <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/terrorism-in-the-uk/9065621/European-judges-ruling-on-Abu-Qatada--a-threat-to-our-national-security.html>.

3 RB (FC) and Another v Secretary of State for the Home Department and OO v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2009] UKHL 10, [2010] 2 AC 110.

4 ‘“Unacceptable” UK can't deport Abu Qatada – Theresa May’ BBC News (Online), 7 February 2012, <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-16923527>. On the challenges that human rights presents to counter-terrorism policies see eg D McGoldrick, ‘Terrorism and Human Rights Paradigms – The United Kingdom After 9/11’ in A Bianchi and A Keller (eds) Counterterrorism: Democracy's Challenge (Hart 2008) 111–232.

5 OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, ‘Background Paper on Extradition and Human Rights in the Context of Counter-Terrorism’, ODIHR.GAL/22/07, 20 March 2007, <http://www.osce.org/odihr/24392>. See, also, the United Kingdom's third party intervention in Saadi v Italy (App No 37201/06) Judgment of 28 February 2008; K Jones, ‘Deportations with Assurances: Addressing Key Criticisms’ (2008) 57 ICLQ 183–94.

6 See eg Amnesty International, ‘Diplomatic Assurances: No Protection against Torture and Ill-Treatment’, 2005, Al Index: ACT 40/021/2005 (1 December 2005) <http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ACT40/021/2005>; Human Rights Watch, ‘“Empty Promises”: Diplomatic Assurances No Safeguard Against Torture’, 2004, HRW 16(4) (D) <http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/diplomatic0404.pdf>; Human Rights Watch, ‘Still At Risk: Diplomatic Assurances No Safeguard Against Torture’, 2005, HRW 17(4) (D) <http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/eca0405.pdf>.

7 Human Rights Watch, ‘Not the Way Forward: The UK's Dangerous Reliance on Diplomatic Assurances’ (October 2008) 1, <http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/uk1008web.pdf>.

8 ibid 1, 18.

ibid

9 See eg Skoglund, L, ‘Diplomatic Assurances Against Torture: An Effective Strategy?’ (2008) 77 NordicJIL 319–54Google Scholar; Parsad, K C, ‘Illegal Renditions and Improper Treatment: An Obligation to Provide Refugees Remedies Pursuant to the Convention Against Torture’ (2009) 37 DenvJIntlLaw&Pol 681702Google Scholar; Joseph, S, ‘Rendering Terrorists and the Convention Against Torture’ (2005) 5 HRLRev 339–46Google Scholar; 4Bruin, B and Wouters, K, ‘Terrorism and the Non-Derogability of Non-Refoulement’ (2003) 15 IJRL 529CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

10 See eg art 33 of the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees, art 3 of the Convention against Torture, art 22(8) of the American Convention on Human Rights, art 3 of the ECHR, art 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. On the development of the principle of non-refoulement in international law generally, see eg A Duffy, ‘Expulsion to Face Torture? Non-refoulement in International Law’ (2008) 20(3) IJRL 373–90.

11 Soering v United Kingdom, (1989) 11 EHRR 439.

12 ibid para 88.

ibid

13 Chahal v United Kingdom, (1996) 23 EHRR 413.

14 ibid para 80.

ibid

15 ibid para 105.

ibid

16 ibid (Joint Partly Dissenting Opinion) para 1.

ibid

17 See, generally, S Bourgon, ‘The Impact of Terrorism on the “Principle of Non-Refoulement” of Refugees: The Suresh Case before the Supreme Court of Canada’, (2003) 1 JICJ 169–85.

18 Suresh v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) [2002] 1 SCR 3, [2002] SCC 1, para 60.

19 ibid para 58.

ibid

20 ibid.

ibid

21 UN Committee Against Torture, Conclusions and Recommendations of the Committee Against Torture: Canada 34th sess, CAT/C/CR/34/CAN (7 July 2005), para 4.

22 Agiza v Sweden, Committee Against Torture, Communication No 233/2003, CAT/C/34/D/233/2003 (20 May 2005).

23 On the practice of extraordinary rendition, see eg Grey, S, Ghost Plane: The Inside Story of the CIA's Secret Rendition Programme (C Hurst & Co 2006)Google Scholar.

24 Agiza v Sweden, para 2.4.

25 ibid para 13.4.

ibid

26 ibid.

ibid

27 Alzery v Sweden, Human Rights Committee, Communication No 1416/2005, CCPR/C/88/D/1416/2005 (10 November 2006).

28 ibid para 11.3.

ibid

29 ibid.

ibid

30 ibid para 11.4.

ibid

31 ibid.

ibid

32 ibid.

ibid

33 ibid para 11.5.

ibid

34 ibid.

ibid

35 Saadi v Italy, (2009) 49 EHRR 30; for commentary see eg de Londras, F, ‘International Decision: Saadi v Italy’ (2008) 102 AJIL 616–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar; de Londras, F, ‘Shannon, Saadi, and Ireland's Reliance on Diplomatic Assurances’ (2009) 2 IrYBIL 7990Google Scholar; Moeckli, D, ‘Saadi v Italy: The Rules of the Game Have Not Changed’ (2008) 8 HRLRev 534–48Google Scholar.

36 Saadi v Italy (n 35) para 117–23.

n 35

37 ibid para 139.

ibid

38 ibid para 130.

ibid

39 ibid para 131.

ibid

40 ibid para 129.

ibid

41 ibid para 146.

ibid

42 ibid para 147.

ibid

43 ibid.

ibid

44 Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan Regulating the Provision of Undertakings in Respect of Specified Persons Prior to Deportation, <http://www.statewatch.org/news/2005/aug/uk-jordan-MOU.pdf>.

45 ibid para 4.

ibid

46 ibid.

ibid

47 BB v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2006] UKSIAC 39/2005 (5 December 2006), para 5.

48 Othman v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2008] EWCA Civ 290 (9 April 2008).

49 ibid para 9 (LJ Buxton).

ibid

50 ibid.

ibid

51 ibid para 114 (Lord Phillips).

ibid

52 ibid para 118ff (Lord Phillips), 197 (Lord Hoffman).

ibid

53 Othman (Abu Qatada) v United Kingdom (n 1) para 183–4.

n 1

54 ibid.

ibid

55 ibid para 186.

ibid

56 ibid.

ibid

57 ibid para 189.

ibid

58 ibid.

ibid

59 ibid.

ibid

60 ibid para 191.

ibid

61 ibid para 195–206.

ibid

62 ibid para 196.

ibid

63 ibid.

ibid

64 ibid para 203.

ibid

65 Human Rights Committee, CPPR General Comment No. 13: Equality before the courts and the right to a fair and public hearing by an independent court established by law (art 14), 13 April 1984.

66 Alzery v Sweden (n 27) para 4.16.

n 27

67 ibid para 5.5.

ibid

68 ibid.

ibid

69 ibid para 11.9.

ibid

70 Soering v United Kingdom (n 11) para 113.

n 11

71 See eg Mamatkulov and Askarov v Turkey, (2005) 41 EHRR 25, para 90–1; Al-Sadoon and Mufdhi v United Kingdom, App No 61498/08, Judgment of 2 March 2010, para 149.

72 Othman (Abu Qatada) v United Kingdom (n 1) para 260.

n 1

73 Omar Othman (aka Abu Qatada) v Secretary of State for the Home Department, SC/15/2005 (26 February 2007), para 118.

74 ibid.

ibid

75 ibid para 370ff, 446.

ibid

76 ibid para 422.

ibid

77 ibid para 431.

ibid

78 ibid para 443.

ibid

79 ibid para 445.

ibid

80 ibid para 418–20.

ibid

81 Othman v Secretary of State for the Home Department (n 48) para 35 (LJ Buxton).

n 48

82 ibid para 45, 70.

ibid

83 ibid para 48.

ibid

84 ibid para 49.

ibid

85 ibid para 51.

ibid

86 ibid para 52.

ibid

87 RB (FC) and Another v Secretary of State for the Home Department and OO v Secretary of State for the Home Department (n 3) para 154 (Lord Phillips).

n 3

88 ibid para 153.

ibid

89 ibid.

ibid

90 ibid para 154 (Lord Phillips), 201 (Lord Hoffmann).

ibid

91 Othman (Abu Qatada) v United Kingdom (n 1) para 237.

n 1

92 ibid para 238.

ibid

93 ibid.

ibid

94 ibid para 239.

ibid

95 ibid para 241.

ibid

96 ibid para 242.

ibid

97 ibid.

ibid

98 ibid para 260.

ibid

99 ibid para 261.

ibid

100 ibid para 274.

ibid

101 ibid para 261.

ibid

102 ibid para 276.

ibid

103 ibid.

ibid

104 ibid.

ibid

105 ibid para 270.

ibid

106 ibid.

ibid

107 Secretary of State for the Home Department (Respondent) v MB (FC) (Appellant), [2007] UKHL 46 (31 October 2007).

108 A and others v United Kingdom, App No 3455/05, Judgment of 19 February 2009.

109 Gillan and Quinton v United Kingdom, App No 4158/05, Judgment of 12 January 2010.

110 Al-Skeini and Others v United Kingdom, App No 55721/07, Judgment of 7 July 2011; Al-Jedda v United Kingdom, App No 27021/08, Judgment of 7 July 2011.

111 A Tomkins, ‘National Security Case Law: A Continuing Trend’ <http://britgovcon.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/national-security-case-law-a-continuing-trend/#comments>.

112 RB (FC) and Another v Secretary of State for the Home Department and OO v Secretary of State for the Home Department (n 3) para 141 (Lord Phillips).

n 3

113 In early March 2012, it was reported that the Home Secretary travelled to Jordan to obtain such assurances; see ‘Abu Qatada case: Jordan talks constructive – Theresa May’ BBC News (Online), 7 March 2012, <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17292550>.

4
Cited by

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

THE RENAISSANCE OF NON-REFOULEMENT? THE OTHMAN (ABU QATADA) DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

THE RENAISSANCE OF NON-REFOULEMENT? THE OTHMAN (ABU QATADA) DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

THE RENAISSANCE OF NON-REFOULEMENT? THE OTHMAN (ABU QATADA) DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *