Judges have scheduled a hearing to examine complaints from three convicted United Kingdom killers that their whole life tariffs breach human rights laws.
The Grand Chamber hearing into the case Vinter and Others v. the United Kingdom (nos. 66069/09, 130/10 and 3896/10) will take place on 28 November at 9.15h (CET)
The applicants, Douglas Gary Vinter, Jeremy Neville Bamber and Peter Howard Moore, are British nationals who were born in 1969, 1961 and 1946 respectively. All three men are currently serving sentences of life imprisonment for murder.
Vinter was convicted of stabbing his wife in February 2008, having already been convicted of murdering a work colleague in 1996. Bamber was convicted of shooting and killing his adoptive parents, sister and her two young children in August 1985. Moore was convicted of stabbing four men with a large combat knife between September and December 1995.
When convicted the applicants were given whole life orders, meaning they cannot be released other than at the discretion of the Secretary of State on compassionate grounds (for example, if they are terminally ill or seriously incapacitated).
Relying in particular on Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights, all three applicants complain that their imprisonment without hope of release is cruel and amounts to inhuman and degrading treatment.
The applications were lodged with the European Court of Human Rights on 11 December 2009, 17 December 2009 and 6 January 2010, respectively. In its judgment of 17 January 2012, the Court held, by four votes to three, that there had been no violation of Article 3 of the Convention. The case (covering all three joined applications) was referred to the Grand Chamber at the request of all three applicants.