In effect the democratic will of our Parliament and the people is being disregarded. Apparently we will lose 'international credibility' on human rights unless we comply with an unaccountable unelected foreign court. Er...hello? I'm not sure how the UK obeying the democratic will of its own Parliament loses us credibility. Unless I'm mistaken, the argument seems to run that if our goverment does not defy its own people it will become a diplomatic laughing stock. Have I just woken up in a Salvador Dali dream?
- The Strasbourg judgments on Hirst and Greens and MT are binding on the UK and no action that could be taken now – even withdrawal from the ECHR – will remove the legal obligation to implement them.
- The sanctions at a European level for failure or refusal to implement the judgments (and non-compliance with any subsequent order by the Strasbourg court to pay compensation in the 3,500 clone cases) are primarily political: criticism by the Committee of Ministers in Strasbourg. In theory the UK could be suspended or expelled from the Council of Europe (CoE) and EU, but this is highly unlikely. The timing of any criticism, compensation decisions and suspension/expulsion depends on the UK’s stance. Outright refusal to implement is likely to result in a much quicker reaction (eg. Court rulings on compensation in a matter of months).
- Failure to implement the judgments is also being challenged in the domestic courts. 585 domestic cases are pending and could lead to declarations of incompatibility and, in relation to Northern Ireland or European elections, order for compensation.
- In addition, as we have previously discussed, the UK would lose international credibility on human rights. In CoE, our ability to press other states to implement human rights judgments (eg. Russia on Chechnya) would be completely undermined. So would our broader international dialogues on human rights with countries like China.
Regardless our government will still capitulate:
The UK’s position in the Strasbourg and UK litigation (under the previous and current administrations and with collective agreement) has been that the government accepts that the current law is incompatible and intends to remedy it. The issue has been about when and to what extent to extend the franchise.At a time when our government is praising the actions of people in the Middle East who are defying their government, they are expressing a different message at home. It's about time we got on the streets and voiced our own concerns and told our regime where to go. In the words of the Prodigy; fuck 'em and their law.