Creating a fairer Britain
The government has stated that it condemns the use of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment, in support of Article 3. However, there are allegations that UK security and intelligence officers were complicit in the ill-treatment of prisoners and civilians in counter-terrorism operations overseas in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. There have also been allegations that British military personnel have been involved in the torture and ill-treatment of civilians and detainees in Iraq. Cases have been reported by non-governmental organisations, the UN and British domestic bodies like the JCHR, and some cases have been considered in court. The government denies that there is evidence of security service personnel torturing anyone or being complicit in torture.
Following these allegations, the British government published guidance setting out the approach that British intelligence officers should take when obtaining information from individuals detained overseas. Britain’s laws and policy prohibit hooding at all times. However the guidance allows hooding in very specific circumstances. A recent case found this unworkable and the guidance will have to be amended.
When serious allegations of ill-treatment are made, the state has an obligation to undertake an effective investigation. However the Commission finds that the allegations of involvement of British military personnel in the torture and ill-treatment of civilians and detainees in Iraq have not been investigated thoroughly enough to meet Article 3 obligations. The Court of Appeal has found that the investigation set up by the government does not meet the requirements of an Article 3 investigation.