The Irish Government’s request to reopen the landmark 1978 European Court of Human Rights judgment in Ireland v UK is a triumph of justice, after more than 40 years of waiting, said Amnesty International today. It follows revelations in a television program, The Torture Files, broadcast on an Irish national channel in June that the UK withheld vital information from the European Court at the time.
In 1978 the European Court ruled that the treatment of 14 so-called ‘hooded men’, who were interned in Northern Ireland in 1971, constituted inhuman and degrading treatment but not torture. Amnesty International – and clearly Ireland – now considers that the withheld evidence could possibly have led to a finding that the men were tortured.
Today the Irish High Court was to have heard the men’s application seeking to compel the Irish Government to decide on requesting the European Court to reopen the 1978 judgement. However, Counsel for the state told the Court the Government had already decided to seek a reopening of Ireland v UK.