'The Implications of the Iraq Inquiry on a Soldier's Right to Life'

Conall Mallory

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The Iraq War has given rise to a wealth of litigation concerning the application of human rights laws to overseas military ventures. One of the most contentious issues within this jurisprudence has been the existence and application of a soldier’s right to life, with families of British service personnel killed in Iraq having alleged failings by the government in respect of both the substantive and procedural obligations within Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights. This jurisprudence culminated in the 2013 case of Smith v Ministry of Defence where the UK Supreme Court held that although soldiers were entitled to benefit from human rights laws, a stringent test would apply when the State was accused of a breach of the right to life. While the rigor of this test has appeared to stifle subsequent litigation the recent Iraq Inquiry may yet have profound implications on the justiciability of a soldier’s right to life. Drawing extensively on documentation and testimony released by the Iraq Inquiry, as well as Sir John Chilcot’s findings, this paper ultimately aims to provide an updated assessment of a soldier’s right to life both in domestic courts and at Strasbourg. Through a re-examination of the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court in Smith, an assessment of the practice of the European Court of Human Rights in relation to Article 2 and consideration of the role of public inquiry findings in litigation, this paper explores the legal implications of the Iraq Inquiry on a soldier’s right to life.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2016
EventAfter Chilcot - University of Liverpool, London Campus
Duration: 8 Dec 2016 → …


ConferenceAfter Chilcot
Period8/12/16 → …


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