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Section 2: The Pinochet Case




 

 

A bitter pill for Pinochet.

 

For 83-year old General Augusto Pinochet, his regular trip to London is this year turning into a nightmare. First an aching back forces him to seek medical treatment. Then, as he lies still groggy after surgery, a squad of London policemen barge into his hospital room to deliver an arrest warrant at the behest of some Spanish magistrate. The British government ignores his claim of diplomatic immunity. A respite comes when Thomas Bigham, England's Lord Chief Justice, A bitter pill for Pinochet rules that the general enjoys legal immunity as a former head of state. Then, after weeks of legal argument, the judicial committee of the House of Lords, Britain's highest court, overruled Lord Bigham and declared that the general could be extradited to Spain after all.

In what will become a landmark case in both British and international law, the five Law Lords ruled in a 3–2 split decision that murder, torture and hostage-taking are not the functions of a head of state, and so do not enjoy immunity from prosecution.

Then Jack Straw, Britain's home secretary, took the decision to extradite the general to Spain to face charges of crimes against humanity. The High Court granted the general the right to appeal the home secretary's decision. The three-judge panel delayed the appeal hearing until after April 15. In the meantime Pinochet must remain in custody, the judges ruled, denying a request from his lawyers that he be «set at liberty and returned to Chile».

Whatever General Pinochet's fate, the Law Lords' ruling is a giant step towards establishing the rule of international law. Over the past 50 years, nations have agreed a range of treaties outlawing the systematic murder, torture and arbitrary imprisonment perpetrated by General Pinochet and his sort. Many of these treaties explicitly rule out immunity for any official, including a former head of state. But these provisions have rarely been translated into national laws or applied by national courts. The perverse result has been that anyone who commanded the murder of thousands had nothing to fear from the law, while the murderer of a single person could be pursued to the ends of the earth.

In General Pinochet's case, individual countries have also shown themselves more willing than ever before to put a tyrant on trial. Relatives of victims and survivors of General Pinochet's brutal regime are scattered throughout Europe. At their urging, prosecutors across the continent have launched proceedings. France, Switzerland and Belgium are now also seeking the general's extradition. Authorities are pursuing investigations against him in Germany, Luxemburg, Sweden and Italy as well.

Nevertheless, the attempt to bring the world's greatest criminals to justice is only just beginning. It may be years before the planned permanent international criminal court is established. As the close decision by the Law Lords makes clear, much also remains to be done to give national judges the tools to apply international law.

As the Pinochet case has shown, mounting an international prosecution is enormously difficult even when there is plenty of evidence of wrongdoing. What's more, international arrests and extraditions remain as much a political as a legal proceeding. Courts can only rule whether they are legal. Political leaders everywhere have the final say about whether they go ahead.

 

§ Vocabulary notes

 

nightmare ['naItmE@] кошмар
groggy   слабый
behest   приказ
at the behest of smb   по приказу кого-либо
to overrule   1) господствовать, верховенствовать; 2) брать верх; 3) аннулировать, считать недействительным; 4) отвергать, отклонять предложение
hostage ['hostI³] заложник
to delay   откладывать, задерживать
to deny   1) отрицать; 2) отказывать (ся)
survivor [s@'vaIv@] оставшийся в живых

 

Suggested activities

aAnswer the following questions:

 

When do you think this article was written?

2 Where was it published, to your mind?

3 Of what was the general accused?

4 How was the general arrested?

5 What is the general's fate?

 

b Complete the following questions using the text:

 

1 Did the British government first ignore............................................................................................................

2 What was the dicision of England's Lord Chief...............................................................................................

3 Who overruled..................................................................................................................................................

4 Did Britain's home secretary...........................................................................................................................

5 Did the High Court ..........................................................................................................................................

 

с Mark the correct statements with a tick:

 

1 Many treaties have been signed ruling out immunity for any officials. 

2 Many international treaties of this kind have been applied by varfious countries. 

3 No other countries started proceedings against the general. 

4 A permanent international criminal court is being planned. 

5 Mounting an international prosecution is very easy. 

6 Extraditions remain as much a political as a legal proceeding. 

 

d Summarise what the article said about:

 

• General Pinochet

• extradition and international law

 

Part H. Human Rights

 

Section 1: The Tyrer Case

Section 2: The 50th Anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights

 

Section 1: The Tyrer Case

Text 1

 

The European Court of Human Rights was established by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and was set up in Strasbourg in 1959. The Convention, which was drawn up by the Council of Europe in 1950, was inspired by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 and protects many essential rights as the right to life, freedom from torture and slavery, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, the right to marry and found a family, freedom of peaceable assembly and association, and the right to a fair trial. Only states which are parties to the Convention and the European Commission of Human Rights have the right to bring a case before the Court. Some states have incorporated the Convention into domestic law, but Britain has not, so that it is not directly inforceable as British law.

A few texts that follow describe a case referred by Mr. Tyrer, a British citizen, to the European Commission of Human Rights in 1978.



The applicant claimed before the Commission that the facts of his case constituted a breach of Article 3 of the Convention which provides: «No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment».

He alleged that there had been torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, or any combination thereof.

In its report, the Commission expressed the opinion that judicial corporal punishment, being degrading, constituted a breach of Article 3 and that, consequently, its infliction on the applicant was in violation of that provision.

The case was then referred to the European Court of Human Rights.

 

Vocabularly notes

 

to establish [Is't{blIS] 1) основать, создать, учредить; 2) доказать
fundamental   основной, коренной
the fundamental rules   основные правила
fundamental truth   аксиома
Strasbourg ['str{zb@:g]  
torture ['tO:tS@] пытка (и)
to put smb to torture   подвергать кого-либо пыткам
slavery ['sleIv@rI] рабство
conscience ['konS@ns] совесть
good conscience   чистая совесть
bad/ evil conscience   нечистая совесть
to have smth on one's   иметь что-либо на своей совести
conscience    
to incorporate [In'kO:p@reIt] 1) принимать, включать в состав; 2) регистрировать
enforceable [In'fO:sIbl] 1) осуществимый; 2) обеспечиваемый применением силы или угрозой
    применить силу
breach [brI:tS] нарушение
breach of law   нарушение закона
breach of trust   злоупотребление доверием
breach of contract   нарушение контракта
breach of peace   нарушение мира
to be subjected to smth   подвергаться, быть подверженным чему-либо
treatment   обращение, обработка, лечение, уход
infliction   наложение, применение, наказание
provision   положение, условие (постановления, договора)
syn. condition    
term    
requirement    
stipulation    
to agree on the following provisions   прийти к соглашению по следующим пунктам

 

§ See how well you remember the text

 

a Complete the table using the text:

 

 

b Write down the definite articles wherever necessary:

 

1 ... European Commission of... Rights

2 ... European Convention for... Protection of... Human Rights and... Fundamental Freedoms

3 ... Convention which was drawn up by... Council of... Europe

4 ... Article 3 of... Convention

5 ... right to... life

6 ... freedom from... torture

 

с Write down the answers to the following questions:

 

1 Who established the European Court of Human Rights?................................................................................

..............................................................................................................................................................................

2 When and where was the Court founded?........................................................................................................

3 When and where was the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights made?.........................

..............................................................................................................................................................................

 

d Complete the following questions:

 

1 What does Article 3 of the Convention...............................................?

2 What did Mr. Tyrer,.............................................................................?

3 To whom did the Commission refer ...................................................?

 

e Translate into Russian:

 

The applicant alleged that there had been torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, or any combination thereof.

 

f Summarise the information on:

 

• the European Court of Human Rights

• the European Convention and its Article 3

• Mr. Tyrer and his claim

 

§ Word study

 

g Match the synonyms:

 

to establish to draw up to have the right to protect to claim to set up to make to prepare to found to be entitled to be allowed to defend to allege

 

h Mark the meaning in which the following words are used in the text with a tick:

 

 

 

i Write down the word families of the following words:

 

 

 

to enforce to establish to inspire to think to inflict to direct

 

j Translate the following words and word combinations into Russian:

to convene – convention – conventional – conventional weapon to incorporate – incorporation – certificate of incorporation to apply – application – application form





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