War and Justice

Oct 14, 2016

Richard Ekins, head of Policy Exchange’s Judicial Power Project, responds to The Times on the topic of the ECHR

Sir, Your leader (“Wrong turn on rights”, Oct 5) asserts that invoking Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights in future conflicts will undermine international law. We disagree. Article 15 is part of the ECHR itself and it is open to any member state to invoke, as France did recently. In taking this step, the government will not breach international law but will help reinstate international humanitarian law as the relevant legal standard. British forces will remain accountable for torture and other war crimes.

This is necessary because the Strasbourg court has retrospectively extended the ECHR to encompass military action outside Europe. Senior British judges had thought this would be madness and many have since expressed their concern. Derogation alone will not end the problem of the judicialisation of war but it is an important and overdue step.

Richard Ekins, associate professor of law, University of Oxford, and head of Policy Exchange’s judicial power project; Jonathan Morgan, director of studies in law, University of Cambridge

This letter appeared in The Times on 12.10.16

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Richard Ekins

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