Finally, Lord Archer of Sandwell does something
right, by way of a private members bill introduced through the House of Lords.
The bill called the
(Damages) Bill [HL] 2006-07 received its first reading in the House of
Lords today and is to make provision for actions for damages for torture.
The purpose of
this Act is to make a person who commits torture, and any State whose servants
or agents commit torture, liable to an action for damages for the benefit of
the victim, in particular where the torture occurs in a country outside the
United Kingdom and it is impracticable for the victim or other person bringing
the claim to obtain effective redress in that country.
“State” means any
foreign or commonwealth State (including the United Kingdom); and references to a State include
- the sovereign or other head of that
State in his public capacity;
- the government of that State;
- any department of that government;
- where the act or omission
constituting the torture arises from the exercise of sovereign authority,
any entity which is distinct from the executive organs of the government
of that State and is capable of suing and being sued.
The Bill also
amends the Civil Procedure Rules 1998, and the A State is
not immune as respects proceedings in England and Walesconcerning an action for damages in
respect of torture or death caused by torture.
This is a bold
move on the part of Lord Archer and paves the way to find some justice on those
who would torture, especially State torture.
Perhaps we will
now see some justice over the Renditions issues, Iraq and Zimbabwe.