Friday, October 27, 2017

British government supports extrajudicial killing

The UK government officially opposes the death penalty and regards the right to a fair trial as fundamental. The right not to be killed by the state and to be tried if accused of a crime is affirmed in domestic law. They are party to numerous international agreements in both those areas, including the ICCPR and the European Convention on Human Rights. And yet, a Minister in their government is openly calling for the extrajudicial killing of UK citizens:

The only way of dealing with most of the British Islamic State fighters in Syria is to kill them, a British government minister has said.

Rory Stewart, an international development minister, said converts to the terror group believed in an “extremely hateful doctrine” and fighters could expect to be killed given the threat they posed to British security.


Stewart was asked about the comments on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Pienaar’s Politics. The minister said there were “very difficult moral issues”, adding: “These are people who have essentially moved away from any kind of allegiance towards the British government.

“They are absolutely dedicated, as members of the Islamic State, towards the creation of a caliphate. They believe in an extremely hateful doctrine which involves killing themselves, killing others and trying to use violence and brutality to create an eighth-century or seventh-century state.

“So I’m afraid we have to be serious about the fact these people are a serious danger to us, and unfortunately the only way of dealing with them will be, in almost every case, to kill them.”

Note that he's not talking about them dying in combat during war - he's talking about targeted assassinations. Extrajudicial killing. Murder. On the basis of their political views. The UK is now officially a state which murders its dissidents overseas, no different from Russia or North Korea.

This is not acceptable. Nor is it lawful. Those who authorise, plan or participate in such killings are guilty of murder, and they should be prosecuted as such. And if the UK courts won't do it, the international courts should.