This issue has been in the back of my head for some time. It was 2011 when this happened. The ruling hit the news (and the most colourful version was in the Daily Mail as per usual), where a rapist could not get deported because he was entitled to a family life. The article angered me and to some extent, I was then and I am still now on the side of the Daily Mail approach.
Why are criminals granted a lot more freedoms then their victims?
The more preposterous part is: “This is despite him not having a wife, long-term partner or children in the UK“, so what family life? He could try to get one in Nigeria for all I care.
The convention can be found here: http://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/Convention_ENG.pdf
The actual text: “ARTICLE 8 Right to respect for private and family life, 1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”
It sounds nice enough, but it is time for some tough love, so I recommend adding the following:
“3. In case of conviction of a serious crime, that nation can decide to ignore rule 1, providing a connection to a long term partner and the existence of biological off spring, born in that nation, not criminally conceived has been established.”
So, we got rid of the rapist, if the mother is a pro-life woman, that will not protect him and moreover, he cannot hide behind an adoption either. Whether this is altered for the UK or it is accepted within the EEC as a whole is of course the crux. It is also time to stop tailoring from a weak point of view. Yes, at this point, a Human Rights point of view is a weak view (I accept that many disagree here)!
Let’s be clear here. I am all for human rights, but these rights also come with responsibilities and accountability, without these two rights pretty much go out of the window. It should also be clear that if a nation independently decides to not enforce paragraph 3, then this is fine too as I added “that nation can decide“, I am all for the right to choose and Like some should not judge the UK, the UK should not judge France, Germany or the Netherlands.
We are not done yet. There is still Article 12 to consider. We can’t have criminals ‘suddenly’ fall in love and get hitched and therefor avoid deportation (where applicable), hence the following would change
“ARTICLE 12 Right to marry, Men and women of marriageable age have the right to marry and to found a family, according to the national laws governing the exercise of this right“.
Would change into:
“ARTICLE 12 Right to marry,
1. Men and women of marriageable age have the right to marry and to found a family, according to the national laws governing the exercise of this right
2. The right to marry is temporary postponed if one or both persons have been deprived of his/her liberty by arrest or detention, until 6 months after release and was not been deported because of these events
3. Paragraph 2 will not be valid, if a court has ordered the release of the involved parties due to non-lawful detention“.
We keep number three there, as there is always a chance a person was convicted innocently and as such; we must definitely protect their rights too, as I stated we will give all quarter to those who abided by law as we should.
So, it took me almost 45 minutes to get to these conclusions after going over certain papers. The question becomes why these steps had not been made before? Well, let’s take a look at the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/law/2013/dec/22/britain-european-court-human-rights). Here we see another view when we consider the following paragraph:
“Grayling said last week the ECHR did not ‘make this country a better place’. David Cameron has said the court risks becoming a glorified ‘small claims court’ buried under a mountain of ‘trivial’ claims , and suggested Britain could withdraw from the convention to ‘keep our country safe’. The home secretary, Theresa May, has pledged the party’s next manifesto will promise to scrap the Human Rights Act, which makes the convention enforceable in Britain”
I am not sure I can agree with the Home Secretary there. I see her point, but it took me only 45 minutes to alter the convention into something a lot less hassle, without actually changing that much. Those who come to Europe, fighting for a better life, not resorting to crime can still do that. My issue is that the rape victim, who was 13 at the time seems to have fallen of the view of the world (which might be good for her), yet in the dozens upon dozens of documents trying to protect the rapist, how much concern was given to the victim of his crime?
This is at the heart of my reasoning. Some judges talk a good talk, but then they seem to refuse to walk the walk (if it pleases the court and with all due respect). Consider the paper ‘Women in an unsecure world‘ (at http://www.unicef.org/emerg/files/women_insecure_world.pdf). A paper edited by Marie Vlachova and Lea Biason. If we are TRULY going to do anything to make their future safe, then we must begin in our own country. By making the consequence of transgression so high, that considering it will no longer be an option, that is the point where we all move forward and we can slowly start to actually eradicate the violence against women. I will not and cannot state that I have a true solution there, or that my solution will work. The issues are not overly complex, but it is a problem that is massively larger than most realise (including me), I just believe that if we send a strong signal that those transgressors will never be opted any life in any land of opportunity, we might, just might start to turn the tide a little. Is that not at the heart of Humanitarian rights too? If not, then what is Article 14 doing in the ECHR in the first place.
The only part that is laughable in the earlier mentioned PDF is the following statement “The Russian Government estimates that 14,000 women were killed by their partners or relatives in 1999, yet the country still has no law specifically addressing domestic violence“, the ‘comical‘ side there is that the UK did not have a serious option until the ‘Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004’, I am not ignoring the ‘Family Law Act 1996’, yet the issue remains if we see the data (at http://www.womensaid.org.uk/domestic_violence_topic.asp?section=0001000100220041) that apparently the UK faces 1 call on domestic violence every minute. So, it is not just a Russian issue, the more data I see, the more that part should be stated as a global problem, with the Russian terminal numbers being a mere outlier in this entire debacle.
If we accept that not all women call for help, then there is a massive problem and governments all over the Commonwealth will need to make some clear, visible and drastic changes. When we start seeing newscasts on how immigrants have been evicted because of violence against women, how long until the local male population starts to realise that their number is up too?
This view is only amplified after seeing this article (at http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jun/08/police-fear-rise-domestic-violence-world-cup), is this for real? I wonder if a name and shame option would work. You know, we take his picture and place poster sized pictures close to ‘his’ watering holes. I wonder how happy such a person would feel in the local pub when they all knew what he was (apart from being an absolute wanker).
In several regards Theresa May was correct, the ECHR is a problem, but she was in my humble opinion incorrect to think that this issue was just in the UK, the Netherlands has numbers that indicate that violence against women is a lot higher there, or is it? Research seemed to indicate that Dutch women are more likely to report these crimes with the police, which makes the violence against women in the UK a lot higher than expected (at http://www.rtlnieuws.nl/nieuws/binnenland/geweld-tegen-vrouwen-nederland-een-stuk-hoger-dan-eu). Is that last part true? Without better data I cannot tell, but the chance that 4 out of 10 women are under direct threat of violence sickens me to my stomach, which makes the ECHR a larger joke then we are willing to admit to.
I think altering (best), or rejecting it (not that great an option) could be the next step, however, not doing anything should no longer be any option, not in the UK and not anywhere in the EEC, or anywhere else for that matter. Should we go after immigrants first? That is of course a valid question too. I think it is, as stated before, when these transgressors realise that crime gets you deported, a clear signal is given and not just in the UK either. I believe that once these events start, the signal is given all over Europe that a person is welcome as long as they abide by the law. There is of course the question where to add the bite we need. If too much is added to the ECHR, the bigger the chance that we create loopholes because of it and that makes any act or law bill toothless. The strongest bite is found in simplicity (as I see it). In that regard I would like to add something to Article 3 of the ECHR, changing it into:
“ARTICLE 3, Prohibition of torture
1. No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
2. Domestic violence will be regarded as inhuman and degrading treatment of a person and is as such subject to local criminal law.“
So, now that Domestic Violence is set on the same scope as torture. How soon until the local population realises that the ‘game’ is up and this kind of violence will get them into jail, out of house and home, an automatic granted divorce to the victim with all rights given to the victim, hence the victim gets the house, the children and what else and those who regarded domestic violence as an option would get the short end of every stick. I am willing to bet that the face of domestic violence is changed within a year after the courts start handing out these verdicts.
It would be nice to see such a change in mentality and I will (again) humbly accept my knighthood and cottage (especially as I concocted a solution after breakfast and before lunch).
I do agree that the solution is not that simple, but giving these victims additional protection with real teeth is likely a much better approach then has been attempted this far. Knowing that the other approach has not worked, is it not time to start opting for a more direct approach?