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Retribution but No Recompense: A Critique of the Torturer’s Immunity from Civil Suit

Wright, J (2010) 'Retribution but No Recompense: A Critique of the Torturer’s Immunity from Civil Suit.' Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, 30. 143 - 178.

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Abstract

This article examines the principle of state immunity from the civil jurisdiction of national courts as it has been applied to officials. In Jones v Saudi Arabia the House of Lords held that individual officials should have the benefit of immunity, notwithstanding the possibility of criminal prosecution as agreed by states parties to the United Nations Convention Against Torture. It is incontrovertible as a matter of international and English law that the state itself is immune from suit in torture claims but there was scant authority prior to Jones requiring the extension of immunity to individual officials. There are two key hurdles for the torture victim to surmount: first, it must be demonstrated that the forum state has jurisdiction to make and adjudicate rules regarding the relevant conduct and, secondly, that any claim to immunity should be denied. It is argued that the assertion of civil jurisdiction over torture which has taken place in another country is permissible under English rules on conflict of laws and would not be excessive in view of the recognition of criminal jurisdiction by states parties to the United Nations Convention Against Torture and under customary international law. It is further argued that to allow civil suit against the torturer (but not the state) would not offend the principles of public international law that relate to immunity, nor should it breach the State Immunity Act 1978.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Law, School of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2012 16:10
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2017 18:06
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/4440

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