Human Rights: ‘Control Orders’

Control Orders: Solicitors’ Evidence before the Joint Committee on Human Rights, February 3, 2010

by Andy Worthington

On February 3, 2010, the Joint Committee on Human Rights, comprising members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, met to hear oral evidence on “Counter-Terrorism Policy and Human Rights: Control Orders” from two solicitors representing control order detainees, and three Special Advocates representing the detainees during discussions of secret evidence in court. The hearing took place two days after Lord Carlile, the government’s independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, issued his fifth report on the use of control orders (PDF), concluding that “The control order system remains necessary, but only for a small number of cases where robust information is available to the effect that the suspect individual presents a considerable risk to national security, and conventional prosecution is not realistic.”

In this first of two articles reproducing the oral evidence, which was originally made available here, Gareth Peirce and Sean Mcloughlin described life under control orders, responded to questions about whether they had “confidence in Lord Carlile as an independent adjudicator,” and explained how little has changed in the system since the Law Lords ruled last June, in the case of AF and others, that imposing control orders breaches Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees the right to a fair trial, because a suspect held under a control order is not given “sufficient information about the allegations against him to enable him to give effective instructions to the special advocate assigned to him.”

Click here to read the article


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