Permission granted in Batang Kali Massacre Case
Joint Press Release from KRW Law, The Pat Finucane Centre and Rights Watch UK | 04 May 2015
Supreme Court in London grants permission for the Pat Finucane Centre and Rights Watch UK to intervene in 1948 Batang Kali Massacre Case
At the end of April, The Pat Finucane Centre (“PFC”) and Rights Watch UK (“RWUK”) will appear at the Supreme Court in London to intervene in the Batang Kali Massacre case, having been granted permission to make submissions regarding the duty to investigate deaths arising from the conflict in Northern Ireland in similar circumstances to those in the Former Federation of Malaya.
The families of victims from the Batang Kali village argued that Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights imposed a duty on the UK to commission an independent inquiry or investigation into what had happened following the killing of their relatives.
The Batang Kali Case will explore, determine and resolve how the Human Rights Act 1998 should be interpreted, which has real and serious implications in respect of ‘dealing with the past’ of Northern Ireland.
The Supreme Court has already granted the Attorney General for Northern Ireland permission to intervene in this case. Last week both the PFC and RWUK were granted permission to make submissions from their experience providing advice, advocacy and assistance to bereaved families of those killed during the Conflict in Northern Ireland, and in particular to assist their efforts to secure investigations into those deaths and to secure truth, justice and accountability in accordance with human rights standards.
This case will in particular, focus upon the duty to investigate serious wrong doing in the past, which arises from investigations being unfinished when human rights commitments are made by the state, or when new evidence comes to light. PFC and RWUK contend that deaths that pre-date those commitments still need to be investigated properly, and the truth uncovered.
As is the case with the Batang Kali Families, despite the passage of time, there is clear a connection between the murders in Northern Ireland, the original inadequate investigation, the UK’s signature and ratification of the European Convention on Human Rights, including the Article 2 duty to safeguard life, and the subsequent and continuing failure to investigate same.
The PFC and RWUK will now appear at the Supreme Court in London at the end of April to make submissions outlining the relevance, and significance of Article 2 ECHR to dealing with the past in Northern Ireland.
Sara Duddy, Caseworker with the Pat Finucane Centre said;
“This attempt to undermine the fundamental safeguard provided by Article 2 of the ECHR comes just weeks after the political parties and the two governments agreed for the first time that all future investigations must be Article 2 compliant. Dealing with the past, whether through inquests or investigations, continues to be a battle ground where the UK government seeks to deny families the right to truth. The Batang Kali massacre is proof if proof were needed that the past will always come back to haunt us if it isn’t dealt with.”
Darragh Mackin, KRW LAW LLP, Solicitor for The PFC and RWUK said;
“This is a hugely significant case for families and victims who continue in their efforts to bring about effective investigations into legacy related deaths, and to secure justice and accountability. The Batang Kali Massacre is a self-evident example, as to why legacy related cases in this jurisdiction, require an investigation which is effective, and in particular secures the right to the truth. “
The Batang Kali massacre occurred on 11/12 December 1948 when a patrol of the Second Battalion of the Scots Guards shot and killed 24 civilians at the Batang Kali rubber plantation on the Sungei Remok Estate, in the State of Selangor, which was a British Protected State within the former Federation of Malaya. The context of the incident was the fighting and unrest that accompanied the alleged “communist threat” that then existed within the Federation, known as the “Malayan Emergency”. It is alleged that the 24 civilians were executed without any justification, and that the authorities thereafter have either covered up what occurred or have been reluctant to take the necessary steps to enable the truth - whatever it may be - to be revealed.