Home Secretary Priti Patel says European Court outrageous for blocking flight
The European Court of Human Rights has repeatedly declined to say who decided last week’s maiden flight to Kigali from MoD Boscombe Down could not take off at the last minute. But now one of the court’s judges, Latif Hüseynov, has expressed surprise at the lack of transparency after being confronted by the Daily Express.
Judge Hüseynov was stunned to be informed of the decision not to identify the deciding judge: “It was a public decision, so the name of the judge should be published for the sake of transparency”. When we explained to Mr. Hüseynov that even the British government – one of the parties involved in the case – did not know the identity of the judge, he reacted: “Oh wow.”
The Azerbaijani judge said: “They have to do it, for transparency.”
And when asked if this also applied to provisional measures, the judge added: “Why not? It is a public decision. »
The Daily Express confronted dozens of judges over two days at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg in a bid to understand the shroud of secrecy over the court’s controversial decision to found last Tuesday’s flight to Rwanda .
And the vast majority refused to talk about the decision.
Dover MP Natalie Elphicke added: “How can a court that makes secret judgments by secret judges be in line with the values of our country?
“Any competent court must say who the judge is and explain why in a written judgment.
“The secrecy behavior of the European Court is a total disgrace given the seriousness of the dangerous Channel crossings.
Rwandan refugees on a boat attempting to cross the English Channel
“It underlines why the government is absolutely right to present a new UK bill of rights.”
Tory MP Robert Halfon said: ‘You should be able to find out who the judge was in under five seconds.
“Not only does this judgment go against the UK Parliament, it is also irresponsible and non-transparent.
“The British public voted to leave the European Union so that Britain can make its own laws and decide what is best for Britain.
“What’s the point of leaving the EU if a foreign court that is not responsible is able to overrule what the UK parliament says?”
Alp Mehmet, the president of Migration Watch, said: “All courts should be there to ensure that justice is done.
“If we don’t know how decisions were made, how can we be sure that justice has been served?
“If the ECHR prevents us from having the immigration policy that we believe is right for the UK, then we must consider leaving it.
“Everything that has happened in recent weeks points in this direction.
“This is not the appropriate mechanism to deal with immigration cases.
“The construction of the ECHR was set up for different issues, at different times.
“The world has moved on.”
Tory MP Andrew Bridgen added: “The fact that the judge who handed down the judgment did not put his name to it tells us all we need to know.
“We need to reform the human rights framework to restore public confidence in it.”
Tory MP Andrew Bridgen calls for the judge to be appointed
Icelandic judge Robert Spano, president of the ECHR since May 2020, rejected numerous attempts by this newspaper to find answers to the court’s secret decision.
He said it was the court’s policy to indicate on the website which judges were authorized to administer interim measures.
But Mr Spano said the ECHR will protect the individual judge who took the name of Rwanda’s flight decision – citing confidentiality.
And the 49-year-old claimed it was inappropriate for him to answer questions about the court’s work ‘through bars’ – referring to the security fencing around the court and instead tried to hijack the Daily Express to the court’s communications department.
Slovenian Marko Bosnjak – president of section 1 – said that we should contact “court press services” and threatened to call “other court services” afterwards.
A host of other judges said they “can’t” or “won’t” speak about the case or the identity of the judge involved.
Only three judges are listed on the site as being responsible for processing interim measures.
They are the Liechtensteiner Carlo Ranzoni, who has been on the board since 2015 after years in criminal law, the Hungarian judge Peter Paczolay, appointed in April 2017 and the British representative Tim Eicke.
But ECHR rules say judges are barred from hearings against their own country – meaning Mr Eicke was not allowed to consider the case of an Iraqi national known only as KN.
In his decision, the anonymous judge said: “The tribunal took into account the concerns identified in the documents before it, in particular by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), that the applicants for asylum seekers transferred from the UK to Rwanda will not have access to fair and efficient refugee status determination procedures.
“As well as the High Court’s finding that the question of whether the decision to treat Rwanda as a safe third country was irrational or based on insufficient investigation gave rise to ‘serious questionable questions’ a trial’.”
Another judge, when asked if the lack of transparency was appropriate, replied, “It’s not for me to judge.”
The courthouse itself is surrounded by steel fences, with security checkpoints about 100 meters from the building’s front door.
Visits are permitted by appointment only.
The secret judge blocks his flight to Kigali
Home Secretary Priti Patel said the European Court of Human Rights had behaved “scandalously” in blocking the theft, adding: “The opaque way in which this court has operated is absolutely scandalous. It must be questioned.
“We don’t know who the judges are, we don’t know who the panelists are, we haven’t had a judgment yet – just a press release and a letter saying we can’t move this person under of Rule 39. They “I haven’t used this decision before, which makes you question the motivation and the lack of transparency.”
Ms Patel asked if the court’s decision was motivated by anti-Brexit sentiment. “You have to look at the motivation. How and why did they make this decision? Was it politically motivated? I am of the opinion that yes, absolutely.
Despite the judgment of the ECHR, the government intends to pursue its policy of fleeing Rwandan migrants.
The ECHR blockage could be overturned by ministers under new proposals.
The plan, presented to parliament, would allow ministers to ignore court orders.
This is an addition to planned changes to the Human Rights Act and could also affect future cases involving migrants.
Latif Hüseynov expressed his surprise at the lack of transparency
The two judges:
A former chief of staff to the President of Hungary, Mr. Paczolay has also served as senior legal adviser to the Constitutional Court of Hungary.
He became President of the Constitutional Court of Hungary in 2008 and led the institution until 2015.
The 66-year-old also has his say on the suitability of judges to sit on the Court of Justice.
He was appointed to the ECHR in 2017.
A specialist in criminal law, Mr. Ranzoni was appointed as a judge in 2015.
Originally from Switzerland, the 56-year-old has been a member of the Swiss Criminal Law Association since 2004.
He was also the representative of Liechtenstein on the Council of Europe’s expert committees on the protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse and on combating violence against women and girls.
He also represented the principality by reporting to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the European Committee on Crime Problems.
How the court works
Cases can only be brought before the European Court of Human Rights after all national courts have been consulted.
In the UK, for example, it can only hear cases once the Supreme Court has issued a decision.
Applicants only have four months from the final internal decision-making process.
Complaints must be based on the European Convention on Human Rights and the claimant must have suffered “significant harm”.
A judge will then assess the case and decide if there was a human rights violation that was missed.
If they conclude that there are, the matter will be reconsidered.
Once accepted, it will be sent back to the Grand Chamber.
This body will then inform the country accused of having broken the law of the sanction which will be imposed on it, for example the payment of compensation, changes in the legislation or the reopening of a trial at the national level.
The Committee of Ministers will then analyze whether the Court’s decision has been executed.
If so, the case is officially closed.
There are 46 judges in total – each nominated by a different country in Europe.
The judges are elected by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe from lists of three candidates proposed by each State. They are elected for a non-renewable term of nine years.
Although judges are elected in respect of a state, they hear cases as individuals and do not represent that state.
ECHR rules say judges are not allowed to hold hearings against their own country
According to the ECHR, interim measures are urgent orders which “apply only where there is an imminent risk of irreparable harm”.
These measures are decided within the framework of proceedings before the Court without prejudging any subsequent decisions on the admissibility or merits of the case in question.
In the majority of cases, the applicant requests the suspension of a deportation or extradition.
The ECHR has never published the names of the judges making these orders.
The applicants’ lawyers told the High Court that the main reason they should not be deported to Rwanda was that they would not receive a fair trial.
This is considered a “more exceptional” recourse to interim measures, according to the ECHR.
It is generally used for people who fear being killed if deported.