Hogan Lovells helps to secure important UK Supreme Court judgment on torture by non-state armed groups

Important: The judgment discussed below is part of ongoing criminal proceedings in the UK, which are subject to reporting restrictions. The UK Supreme Court has published its judgment in a redacted, anonymised form, and it is discussed on that basis below. Publication of further details of the case could prejudice the ongoing proceedings and could contravene Section 4(2) of the Contempt of Court Act 1981.

London, 13 November 2019 – The UK Supreme Court has today confirmed that members of non-State armed groups may be prosecuted for crimes of torture under UK and international law.

In a judgment issued on 13 November 2019, the Court found that article 1 of the UN Convention Against Torture applies to those acting on behalf of members of non-State armed groups when those groups exercise functions normally exercised by governments over their civilian populations.

The Court reached its finding on the basis of a detailed analysis of international and domestic law. The decision is an important reiteration of the international prohibition on torture and its application to members of non-State armed groups.

Hogan Lovells represented REDRESS, who intervened in the case. The full Hogan Lovells team included partner Alex Sciannaca, senior associate William Foubister, associate Lucy Kelly and trainees Adam Kania and Gaspare Chirillo. The team worked with Sudhanshu Swaroop QC and John Bethell of Twenty Essex Chambers.

The full judgment is available here, and a further summary is available on the REDRESS website.


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