This book provides the first comprehensive account of the role played by the European Convention on Human Rights during the conflict in Northern Ireland from 1968. Brice Dickson studies the effectiveness of the Convention in protecting human rights in a society wracked by terrorism and deep political conflict, detailing the numerous applications lodged at Strasbourg relating to the conflict and considering how they were dealt with by the enforcement bodies. The book illustrates the limitations inherent in the Convention system but also demonstrates how the European Commission and Court of Human Rights gradually developed a more interventionist approach to the applications emanating from Northern Ireland. In turn this allowed the Convention to become a more secure guarantor of basic rights and freedoms during times of extreme civil unrest and political turmoil elsewhere in Europe. The topics examined include the right to life, the right not to be ill-treated, the right to liberty, the right to a fair trial, the right to a private life, the right to freedom of belief, the right to freedom of expression, the right to freedom of assembly, and the right not to be discriminated against.
The book argues that, while eventually the European Court did use the applications from Northern Ireland to establish important human rights principles, their development was slow and arduous and some gaps in protection still remain. The book illustrates the limits of the European Convention as a tool for protecting human rights in times of crisis.
Table of Contents
Preface ; 1. Introduction ; 2. The Background to the Conflict and the Rights Discourse ; 3. Early Fumblings with the Convention ; 4. Internment and Restrictions on Movement ; 5. Powers of Arrest ; 6. Detention Pending Charge or Trial ; 7. The Right Not to be Ill-treated ; 8. The Right to a Fair Trial ; 9. The Right to Life ; 10. The Right to a Private and Family Life ; 11. Freedom of Expression, Belief, and Assembly ; 12. Freedom from Discrimination ; 13. The Final Picture ; Appendix: Applications lodged in Strasbourg relating to the conflict in Northern Ireland
Brice Dickson has been Professor of International and Comparative Law at Queen's University Belfast since 2005. He served full-time as the Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission from 1999 to 2005, a statutory body established as a result of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement of 1998. He is the author of several books including The Legal System of Northern Ireland and his edited volumes Judicial Activism in Common Law Supreme Courts (OUP, 2007) and The Judicial House of Lords (OUP 2009, with Louis Blom-Cooper QC, and Gavin Drewry).