Relatively Absolute? The Undermining of Article 3 ECHR in Ahmad v UK

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Abstract

The recent decision of the European Court of Human Rights in Ahmad v UK dangerously undermines the well-established case law of the Court on counter-terrorism and non-refoulement towards torture, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment. Although ostensibly rejecting the ‘relativist’ approach to Article 3 ECHR adopted by the House of Lords in Wellington v Secretary of State for the Home Department, the Court appeared to accept that what is a breach of Article 3 in a domestic context may not be a breach in an extradition or expulsion context. This statement is difficult to reconcile with the jurisprudence constante of the Court in the last fifteen years, according to which Article 3 ECHR is an absolute right in all its applications, including non-refoulement, regardless of who the potential victim of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment is, what she may have done, or where the treatment at issue would occur.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)589–603
JournalModern Law Review
Volume76
Issue number3
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 May 2013

Keywords

  • Article 3 ECHR, non-refoulement, torture and inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment, absolute rights, relativism, Ahmad v UK, European Court of Human Rights

ASJC Scopus subject areas