On the same day the Parker report was published on 2 March 1972, the United Kingdom Prime Minister stated in Parliament, that its torture techniques in British Occupied Ireland would not be used ever again in future. The Prime Minister's statement, directives expressly prohibiting the use of the techniques, whether singly or in combination, were then issued to their forces by the Government.
At a hearing before British Courts on 8 February 1977, the British Attorney-General declared that the 'five techniques' would not in any circumstances be reintroduced either collectively or individually.
The Irish Government referred to the Commission of International Human Rights in Strasbourg, cases of persons submitted to the five techniques during interrogation, at the unidentified centre or centres between 11 and 17 August 1971.
In a recent article SPOOKY BIZARRE BRITISH SECRET EXPERIMENTS the details of the torture of Marian Price were covered, which clearly demonstrates the British have broken their promises and undertakings to the international community with regard to their torture. They have also re-introduced internment without trial in various disguise.
The Republic of Ireland v. The United Kingdom
Before the European Court of Human Rights
18 January 1978
The British Government introduced special powers of arrest and detention without trial, which were widely known as internment without trial.The Government of the Republic of Ireland brought an application before the Commission of International Human Rights in Strasbourg (ii) that various interrogation practices--in particular the so-called 'five techniques', which included wall- standing, hooding and deprivation of sleep and food--and other practices to which suspects were subjected amounted to torture and inhuman or degrading treatment contrary to Article 3...The Commission unanimously found that the five techniques did constitute a practice of torture and that other practices amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment;:
(i) Ill-treatment had to attain a minimum level of severity to fall within Article 3, the assessment of which was necessarily relative, depending on all the circumstances, including the duration of the treatment, its physical or mental effects and, sometimes, the sex, age or state of health of the victim.
(j) Although the 'five techniques'were never officially authorized in writing, they were taught orally at a training centre and accordingly there was a practice.
(k) Since the five techniques were applied in combination, with premeditation and for hours at a time, causing at least intense physical and mental suffering and acute psychiatric disturbances, they amounted to inhuman treatment.
(l) Since the five techniques were such as to arouse in the victims feelings of fear, anguish and inferiority capable of humiliating and debasing them and possibly breaking their physical or moral resistance, they were also degrading.
(m) The distinction between torture and inhuman or degrading treatment derived principally from a difference in the intensity of the suffering inflicted.
(n) The term 'torture' attached a special stigma to deliberate inhuman treatment causing very serious and cruel suffering.
(o) The five techniques did not occasion suffering sufficient in intensity and cruelty to constitute torture.
(p) With regard to the alleged ill-treatment accompanying the five techniques in the autumn of 1971, many of those held in custody were subjected to violence by the police, which, being repeated, occurring in the same place and taking similar forms, constituted a practice, which, since it led to intense suffering and sometimes substantial physical injury, amounted to inhuman treatment though not torture.
(q) The ill-treatment at the Ballykinler military camp was discreditable and reprehensible but was not degrading or otherwise contrary to Article 3 .
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The Parker report was published on 2 March 1972 and on the same day, the United Kingdom Prime Minister stated in Parliament that the techniques would not be used in future as an aid to interrogation. As foreshadowed in the Prime Minister's statement, directives expressly prohibiting the use of the techniques, whether singly or in combination, were then issued to the security forces by the Government.
At the hearing before the Court on 8 February 1977, the United Kingdom Attorney-General declared that the 'five techniques' would not in any circumstances be reintroduced as an aid to interrogation.
The Irish Government referred to the Commission eight cases of persons submitted to the five techniques during interrogation at the unidentified centre or centres between 11 and 17 August 1971.
In their written and oral pleadings before the Court, the Irish Government allege breaches of Articles 1, 3, 5 (taken together with Article 15), 6 (taken together with Article 15) and 14 (taken together with Articles 5 and 6).
They also maintain--though they do not ask the Court to make a specific finding--that the British Government failed on several occasions in their duty to furnish the necessary facilities for the effective conduct of the investigation. The Commission does not go as far as that; however, at various places in its report, the Commission points out, in substance, that the respondent Government did not always afford it the assistance desirable. The Court regrets this attitude on the part of that Government; it must stress the fundamental importance of the principle, enshrined in Article 28 (a) in fine, that the Contracting States have a duty to co-operate with the Convention institutions.
ON ARTICLE 3
Article 3 provides that 'no one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment'.
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A practice incompatible with the Convention consists of an accumulation of identical or analogous breaches which are sufficiently numerous and inter-connected to amount not merely to isolated incidents or exceptions but to a pattern or system; a practice does not of itself constitute a violation separate from such breaches.
It is inconceivable that the higher authorities of a State should be, or at least should be entitled to be, unaware of the existence of such a practice. Furthermore, under the Convention those authorities are strictly liable for the conduct of their subordinates; they are under a duty to impose their will on subordinates and cannot shelter behind their inability to ensure that it is respected.
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The Convention prohibits in absolute terms torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Unlike most of the substantive clauses of the Convention and of Protocols 1 and 4, Article 3 makes no provision for exceptions and, under Article 15 (2), there can be no derogation therefrom even in the event of a public emergency threatening the life of the nation.
In the instant case, the only relevant concepts are 'torture' and ' inhuman or degrading treatment', to the exclusion of 'inhuman or degrading punishment'.
1. The unidentified interrogation centre or centres
(a) The 'five techniques'
In the Commission's estimation, those facts constituted a practice not only of inhuman and degrading treatment but also of torture. The applicant Government ask for confirmation of this opinion which is not contested before the Court by the respondent Government.
Although never authorized in writing in any official document, the five techniques were taught orally by the English Intelligence Centre to members of the RUC at a seminar held in April 1971. There was accordingly a practice.
The five techniques were applied in combination, with premeditation and for hours at a stretch; they caused, if not actual bodily injury, at least intense physical and mental suffering to the persons subjected thereto and also led to acute psychiatric disturbances during interrogation. They accordingly fell into the category of inhuman treatment within the meaning of Article 3. The techniques were also degrading since they were such as to arouse in their victims feelings of fear, anguish and inferiority capable of humiliating and debasing them and possibly breaking their physical or moral resistance.
On these two points, the Court is of the same view as the Commission.
The Court concludes that recourse to the five techniques amounted to a practice of inhuman and degrading treatment, which practice was in breach of Article 3.