The right to life and law enforcement activities: The approrpriateness of a military response ot the problem of terrorism
Chevalier-Watts, J. (2013). The right to life and law enforcement activities: The approrpriateness of a military response ot the problem of terrorism. In M. Bessette (Ed.), Liberty and Security in the Age of Terrorism (pp. 41–61). USA: Commonwealth Security Studies Laboratory.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/9684
This paper considers the issue of the right to life in several lethal force cases heard in the European Court of Human Rights as a result of State activity in response to terrorist and armed activity. In light of extensive judicial scrutiny, and the recent erroneous shooting dead of Brazilian electrician, Jean Charles de Menezes on the London Underground by police, this paper submits that a military response may balance the dichotomy of terrorism and the right to life. Article 2, the right to life, is the most fundamental of all the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights; without it, all other provisions are redundant. However, this very right, in the context of lethal force and terrorism, was brought sharply into focus when Strasbourg heard the ground breaking Death on the Rock case, where terrorist suspects were shot dead by Special Forces soldiers in Gibraltar. Since this case, a number of lethal force cases have been heard by the European Court in relation to military and police terrorist operations. These cases have been subject to detailed scrutiny as to the application of the provisions of Article 2 of the Convention, and have produced divergent results. As a result, this paper submits that, in Europe at least, a military response acknowledges a State's authority to protect its populous and its agents, whilst at the same time entrenching the fundamental principle of the right to life, thus balancing two theoretically opposing concepts: the authority of the State and the right to life.
Commonwealth Security Studies Laboratory
© 2013 the author
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