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The ECtHR's Al-Jedda Judgment: Implications for IHL

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 August 2012

Jelena Pejic
Legal Division, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Geneva, Switzerland e-mail:
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In July 2011, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) handed down two long-awaited and momentous judgments involving the conduct of the United Kingdom's armed forces during the occupation and armed conflict in Iraq. In both cases, the Court found against the UK government. The first decision, in the Al-Skeini case, essentially clarified and revised the Court's position on the extraterritorial application of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and attracted the most attention. The second case, Al-Jedda, received less focus even though its legal and practical consequences are just as significant. The purpose of this note is to outline some of the ramifications of the Al-Jedda case that have not been picked up in other commentaries, in particular its implications for detention operations carried out by ECHR member states abroad. As will be argued, the Court's approach to and interpretation of international humanitarian law (IHL) do not comport with the spirit or letter of this body of rules.

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Copyright © T.M.C. Asser Instituut and the Authors 2011

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