LONDON, May 18 (KUNA) -- The UK Government Monday lost an appeal to overturn a court ruling that British soldiers can be covered by human rights laws while on the battlefield.
It centred on a test case brought by the family of Private Jason Smith, who died of heatstroke while serving with the Territorial Army in Iraq in 2003.
The ruling means the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) applies to UK forces abroad - even in battle.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) had said in a statement the Act could not be guaranteed in certain situations.
"The Ministry of Defence has argued consistently that in the heat of battle during dynamic and fast moving military operations on foreign territory, the UK could not secure the rights and freedoms which the ECHR seeks to guarantee, " a spokesman for the MoD earlier said.
The ruling could lead to more families wishing to sue the MoD for negligence. The legal process began with a judicial review requested by Private Smith's family, following the inquest into his death. The MoD accepted that the Human Rights Act applied to Private Smith, as he died on a British military base. However, in a judgement last April, the judge ruled more widely that the MoD had an obligation to avoid or minimise risks to the lives of its troops, wherever they were serving - even while on patrol or in battle.
Otherwise, he said it risked breaching the "right to life" enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights.
The MoD appealed amid fears that the judgement raised serious questions over sending troops into combat abroad, because absolute protection could never be guaranteed on the battlefield. (end)
KUNA 181302 May 09NNNN