torsdag, maj 28, 2015

Ukraine and state of emergency

Daniel Wiklander raised my attention to the fact that the Ukrainian parliament on 21 May 2015 has adopted a resolution that deals with state emergency, more specifially "departure from some obligations enshrined in Item 3, Article 2, Articles 9, 12, 14 and 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights [ICCPR] and Articles 5, 6, 8 and 13 Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms [ECHR] for the period until full termination of armed aggression of the Russian Federation."

The articles above concerns access to effective remedy, detention, freedom of movement, fair trial rights and privacy.

This is consistent with article 4 of the ICCPR which allows derogations in time of public emergency, no derogations is allowed from articles 6, 7, 8(1) and (2), 11, 15, 16 and 18. Similarly, article 15 of ECHR allows derogations in time of public emergency, no derogations is allowed from articles 2 (except in respect of deaths resulting from lawful acts of war), 3, 4(1) and 7. These articles concern among other rights: the right to life, prohibition against torture, slavery/servitude and the principle of legality (no punishment without law) and freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

However, it appears that the Prime Minister at an earlier point of time has already declared a state of emergency, here is a news report from January 2015. I am investigating whether Ukraine has made the notices to the UN and Council of Europe respectivelywhich are  required under article 4 of the ICCPR and article 15 of ECHR - will get back to that.

One of Wiklander's questions was whether the UK declared public emergency and use of detentions in relation to unrest in Northern Irland (most intense during the period 1967-1997). The answer is yes, the European Court of Human Rights dealt with that issue in Ireland v. the United Kingdom  (Application no. 5310/71) Judgment 18 January 1978.

Para. 79 provides the following

In accordance with Article 15 para. 3 (art. 15-3) of the Convention, the United Kingdom Government sent to the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, both before and after the original application to the Commission, six notices of derogation in respect of these powers. Such notices, of which the first two are not pertinent in the present case, were dated 27 June 1957, 25 September 1969, 20 August 1971, 23 January 1973, 16 August 1973 and 19 September 1975 and drew attention to the relevant legislation and modifications thereof."
The Court ruled the following in relation to detention.
II. ON ARTICLE 5 (art. 5)
11. holds unanimously that at the relevant time there existed in Northern Ireland a public emergency threatening the life of the nation, within the meaning of Article 15 para. 1 (art. 15-1);

12. holds unanimously that the British notices of derogation dated 20 August 1971, 23 January 1973 and 16 August 1973 fulfilled the requirements of Article 15 para. 3 (art. 15-3);

13. holds by sixteen votes to one that, although the practice followed in Northern Ireland from 9 August 1971 to March 1975 in the application of the legislation providing for extrajudicial deprivation of liberty entailed derogations from paragraphs 1 to 4 of Article 5 (art. 5-1, art. 5-2, art. 5-3, art. 5-4), it is not established that the said derogations exceeded the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation, within the meaning of Article 15 para. 1 (art. 15-1);

14. holds unanimously that the United Kingdom has not disregarded in the present case other obligations under international law, within the meaning of Article 15 para. 1 (art. 15-1);

15. holds by fifteen votes to two that no discrimination contrary to Articles 14 and 5 (art. 14+5) taken together is established;
The reason why I did this enquiry is that I teach a five week course at Uppsala University where we among other things discuss public emergency and the human rights issues involved. I hope to write an article on the matter for the autumn 2015 course, the existing literature is somewhat outdated.