The global "spider's web" of secret detentions and unlawful inter-state
transfers which includes Glasgow and Guantanamo. The map is based
on a special report for the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human
Rights of the Council of Europe.
Darkness at Noon
The Threat to withdraw the UK from the European Human Rights Convention
by Scott Crosby
Leading politicians in the United Kingdom are talking publicly of withdrawing the UK from the European Convention of Human Rights.
This is fools’ talk.
Have such people been to Auschwitz, Treblinka, Dachau or any other death camp?
Have such people been to the KGB Museum in Vilnius?
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Have they been to the torture cells?
Have they been to the death chamber?
Have they at least read Arthur Koestler’s description of the death chamber process in Darkness at Noon?
Have they been indicted or convicted on the basis of evidence obtained by torture?
Have they read Asturias’ El Señor Presidente, Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians or Murakami’s Wind up Bird Chronicle to feel pain and degradation on merely reading about torture?
Have they heard of Solzenitsyn? Do they know what the Gulag Archipelago was? In that context do they know what guilt by association was?
Have they been the victims of extraordinary rendition?
Have they been to Guantanamo?
Have they read Bassiouni’s book ‘The Institutionalization of torture by the Bush Administration’?
Have they been extradited to a State which applies the death penalty?
Have they been imprisoned for disagreeing with the State in the press?
Have they been imprisoned for defending a client in a court of law?
Have they heard a court tell them that they must prove their innocence?
Has their property ever been expropriated without just compensation?
Have they ever lost a loved one through police violence?
Have they ever lived in a police State?
Without human rights protection and without enforceable human rights norms, the UK would be returning to the dark ages and the sun would go out at noon.
For British politicians and especially for members of the Government to talk of abandoning the Convention destabilises not only the UK but also the entire European continent.
And if what they said was ever put into practice England would no longer be a green and pleasant land.
So beware eclipsing the sun. Beware darkness at noon.
First published in the New Journal of European Criminal Law Review, Vol 4, Issue 3, 2013; republished here with the kind consent of the publisher, Intersentia, Antwerp and of the author who retains the copyright
Scott Crosby is a partner in Brussels-based legal practise Kemmler Rapp Böhlke & Crosby
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