Tuesday, July 11, 2017

A verdict without credibility

An NGO sues the government in an effort to force it to adhere to the laws. The public evidence suggests strongly that the government is openly flouting its own rules, but the government is allowed to present evidence to the judge in secret, without the other party having any chance to challenge it. Naturally, the judge rules for the government.

A tale from the old Soviet Union or some shitty third world despotism? No, its just the UK again:

The Government is not breaking the law by continuing to sign off the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia, the High Court has ruled.

Activists from Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) had brought a legal challenge against the department in charge of arms control after British arms continued to flow to the autocracy despite it conducting a bloody military campaign in Yemen.


The court heard both closed and open evidence over a period of three days earlier in the year. The judgment issued by the Court on Monday suggests that evidence given by the Government in closed court – and thus not made public – was crucial to the final decision. The Court said the evidence “cannot be referred to in open court” for “national security reasons”.

This secret evidence presented by the Government is said by the court to have included Saudi Arabia’s “fast-jet operational reporting data”, “high-resolution MoD-sourced imagery” and “UK defence intelligence reports and battle damage assessments”. The judgment summary said the MoD and FCO’s analysis “has all the hallmarks of a rigorous and robust, multi-layered process of analysis” and that the evidence presented by the campaigners was “only part of the picture”.

But of course, that's a one-sided assessment, because the secret "evidence" could not be effectively challenged. It was kept secret from the other party, with only a "Special Advocate" - a security-cleared member of the establishment who was forbidden to talk to the people they were ostensibly working for - there to argue it. Which is simply a mockery of the judicial process. The net result is that this verdict has no credibility whatsoever.

But the UK government clearly doesn't care about credibility anymore. It cares only about preventing peasants from effectively challenging their actions in court (as seen in another case ATM about British complicity in rendition and torture). Simply banning such cases would be too overt, so they strap the rules instead - just like any other shitty little tyranny.