“No human rights on battlefield”

Editorial note: If you have not yet read our mission statement above, please do so in order that you can put our blogs in context. 

20 October 2012

British soldiers who die or are injured in action cannot sue their government under the country’s Human Rights Act, the UK Court of Appeal has ruled in a judgment reported today in the London Guardian.

According to the newspaper, the court accepted the UK government’s claims that the battlefield was beyond the reach of the human rights legislation.

The case involves soldiers injured in the Iraq War (2003-2011) and the families of others killed there.

However, while ruling out legal action on human rights grounds, the court did reportedly allow the plaintiffs go ahead with claims for compensation from the government on the grounds that it allegedly failed to provide the soldiers with adequate equipment, thus exposing them to unnecessary danger.

Plaintiffs unhappy with the human rights aspect of the ruling may appeal to the UK Supreme Court. If that court rules against them, then as a last resort they can appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.


The UK Appeal Court may well be right. The UK Human Rights Act may be drafted so narrowly as to exclude compensation for death or injury on the battlefield.

However, all human beings have inalienable rights at all times and in all places, even in outer space. Even when fighting on active service, they remain human beings and therefore retain their human rights.

If the UK Human Rights Act excludes the battlefield from the remit of human rights, then it is the act which is at fault and which should be redrafted. No legislation, wherever adopted, can take away rights which are universal and inalienable.


 You might perhaps care to view some of our earlier posts.  For instance:

1. Why? or How? That is the question (3 Jan 2012)

2. Partitocracy v. Democracy (20 July 2012)

3. The shoddiest possible goods at the highest possible prices (2 Feb 2012)

4. Capitalism in practice  (4 July 2012) 

5.Ladder  (21 June 2012)

 6. A tale of two cities (1)  (6 June 2012)

 7. A tale of two cities (2)  (7 June 2012)

 8. Where’s the beef? Ontology and tinned meat (31 Jan 2012)

Every so often we shall change this sample of previously published posts.


This entry was posted in Europe, Iraq, Justice, Military, UK and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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