Rwanda: Robertson says UK Government ‘has a choice’
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Human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC, who represented the lead case bonfire the European Court of Human Rights in Rwanda, outlined a number of choices the UK government can make amid ECHR blocking yesterday’s flight to Rwanda but suggested bringing a new law to the Parliament would be “the right way to proceed”. He discouraged the government from leaving the European Court or disobeying international law as he stressed such move would “send a pretty awful signal to the rest of the world that Britain can’t be trusted”.
Speaking at BBC Radio 4 Today, Mr Robertson said: “The Government has a choice.
“It can certainly ask the court to lift it into remeasure.
“It’s an effect injunction and that could be what most democratic countries would do.
“Secondly, it could decide to fight the judicial review and to delay the deportations until the result is clear.
“Alternatively, you could do what in a democracy is might be expected to do and put through a law.
“Put the matter to the Parliament and have a statue that would approve and would embody its policy.
“This would be fully debated in Parliament and the court could not touch it, it would be law.
“That would be the obvious democratic way to proceed.”
He reiterated: “The right way to proceed is to put it before Parliament.
“The wrong way is to start talking about leaving the European Court or disobeying international law.
“I think one of the things that make Great Britain great is that we have a tradition, ever since Gladstone announced it 150 years ago, that we will abide by international courts and international law.
“Of course, we are not quite done in that, but many countries don’t and it contributes to the soft power that Britain has in the world.
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“If we start tearing up or if we don’t like a court judgement we withdraw from the court, then that sends a pretty awful signal to the rest of the world that Britain can’t be trusted.”
He also added: “It is unfortunate that so much money is being spent.
“Half a million pounds, according to some reports, on the last flight and other flights will have to be cancelled”.
In light of the ECHR intervention and decision to cancel yesterday’s flight, Home Secretary Priti Patel said she was “disappointed” with the judgement, but stressed: “Preparation for the next flights begins now”.
The flight was expected to take off at 22:30 BST from a military airport in Wiltshire, but the ruling from the ECHR came just after 19:30.
The Human Right Council said an Iraqi man known as KN faced a “real risk of irreversible harm” if he reached Rwanda.
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