Thursday, November 20, 2014

New General Comment No. 35 issued by Human Rights Committee

The UN Human Rights Committee has issued General Comment No. 35, offering its revised gloss on article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which concerns liberty and security of the person. Military justice scholars and practitioners will want to give this a close reading, as it refers in a number of places to military justice and related matters. The document replaces General Comment No. 8, issued in 1982. Thanks to Just Security for calling attention to and offering analysis of General Comment No. 35.

An example of the military references appears in n.84:
The requirement of being informed about any charges applies to detention for possible military prosecution, regardless of whether the trial of the detainee by a military court would be prohibited by article 14 of the Covenant. 1649/2007, El Abani v. Algeria, paras. 7.6, 7.8.
Another is n.141, which cites para. 9.6 of Vuolanne v. Finland for the proposition that a superior military officer's review of a detention decision is insufficient. The accompanying text reads:
Paragraph 4 entitles the individual to take proceedings before “a court,” which should ordinarily be a court within the judiciary. Exceptionally, for some forms of detention, legislation may provide for proceedings before a specialized tribunal, which must be established by law, and must either be independent of the executive and legislative branches or must enjoy judicial independence in deciding legal matters in proceedings that are judicial in nature.

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