I would like to thank Sarah Waldeck and the rest of the Concurring Opinions authors for allowing me to stay on until February 15th. A lot happened has happened in the past few days with significant implications for international human rights law, but before I turn to these events I want to finish up my thoughts on the recent decision by the European Court of Human Rights in Othman v. United Kingdom.
To briefly recap, the Court’s judgment contained two main holdings. First, it found that diplomatic assurances agreed upon by Jordan and the United Kingdom sufficient to mitigate the risk that the Islamist cleric Omar Othman (a.k.a. Abu Qatada) would be tortured if extradited to Jordan for trial. Second, it found that transfer to Jordan would expose Othman to an unfair trial, in that it was likely that evidence derived from torture would be used against him. The second holding effectively bars the United Kingdom from transferring Othman to Jordan. The United Kingdom has 3 months days to appeal the decision to the Grand Chamber.
As promised in my previous post, I want to offer some thoughts here on whether the ECHR persuasively addressed criticism of the post-transfer monitoring arrangement created by MOU and exchange of letters between Jordan and the United Kingdom. The judgment contains some significant weaknesses in this regard, as I detail here: