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Court rejects Irish request to find torture in 1978 judgment against United Kingdom

Today, the European Court of Human Rights rejected a request by Ireland to revise a 1978 ‘Troubles-era’ judgment against the United Kingdom.

The Irish authorities wanted the court to find that men detained by the United Kingdom during Northern Ireland’s civil strife suffered torture, not just inhuman and degrading treatment.

Ireland made the revision request in the case (application no. 5310/71) on the grounds that new evidence had emerged, which showed, in particular, that the effects of the ill-treatment had been long-term and severe.

The Court found that the Government of Ireland had not demonstrated the existence of facts that were unknown to the Court at the time or which would have had a decisive influence on the original judgment.

There was therefore no justification to revise the judgment.

The revision request was dismissed by six votes to one by a Chamber2. The judge elected in respect of Ireland issued a dissenting opinion.

The men involved in the case were detained in 1971. They had had to spread-eagle themselves against the wall in a strained position, were hooded, deprived of food and sleep and subjected to a continuous, loud hissing noise. The methods were known as the “five techniques” in the original judgment.

 

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