UK court denies soldiers' human rights challenge

June 30, 2010 15:38


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Britain's Supreme Court on Wednesday overturned a landmark ruling that promised troops on overseas missions protection under human rights law, including the right to life — saying such protections would leave military commanders concerned more about legal issues than enemy fire.

Six of nine justices quashed a lower court decision that said the Human Rights Act applied to soldiers everywhere — even at war. Their judgment said they didn't believe the act was intended to apply to armed forces on foreign soil.

The defense ministry had argued it would be difficult to give soldiers serving overseas or in battle situations the protection required by human rights legislation. They also said it could have an impact on tactical decisions made by commanders who might be concerned about the legal implications of their choices.

However, the ruling has worried those who believe the decision could restrict troops' ability to challenge their government over deaths and injuries caused by faulty or missing equipment.

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