FAMILIES OF BATANG KALI MASSACRE’S VICTIMS ARE HOPEFUL OF LONG OVERDUE JUSTICE TO BE DONE BY UK SUPREME COURT AFTER 67 YEARS

London – The 24 victims’ families of the Batang Kali massacre continued their battle against Britain’s foreign and defence ministries at the British’s highest court here and the two-day hearing finally concluded on 23.04.2015. A decision is now reserved to a date to be fixed.

Victims’ families' team posts for photo after the UK Supreme Court hearing. From left:  1.Ng See Teong, lawyer 2. Chin Fo Sang, Chairman of the Action Committee Condemning the Batang Kali Massacre 3. Dato’ Firoz Hussein, lawyer 4. Wong Lee Ling, granddaughter to Lim Ah Yin 5. Lim Ah Yin, victim's family 6. Michael Fordham QC, lawyer 7. Danny Friedman QC, lawyer 8. John Halford, lawyer 9. Quek Ngee Meng, lawyer 10. Caroline Goh Seow Siang, lawyer)

Victims’ families’ team posts for photo after the UK Supreme Court hearing. From left:
1.Ng See Teong, lawyer
2. Chin Fo Sang, Chairman of the Action Committee Condemning the Batang Kali Massacre
3. Dato’ Firoz Hussein, lawyer
4. Wong Lee Ling, granddaughter to Lim Ah Yin
5. Lim Ah Yin, victim’s family
6. Michael Fordham QC, lawyer
7. Danny Friedman QC, lawyer
8. John Halford, lawyer
9. Quek Ngee Meng, lawyer
10. Caroline Goh Seow Siang, lawyer)

The appeal was presided by five Supreme Court judges, Lady Hale, Lord Mance, Lord Kerr, Lord Hughes together with their President, Lord Neuberger.

Madam Lim Ah Yin aged 78, is the elder daughter to Lim Sang, one of the workers being killed on 12.12.1948, attended the hearing in the Supreme Court accompanied by her granddaughter, Ms Wong Lee Ling, voluntary lawyers from the Action Committee condemning the Batang Kali massacre, Quek Ngee Meng and Datuk Firoz Hussein. The families are represented by Michael Fordham QC, Danny Friedman QC, Zachary Douglas QC and John Halford of Bindmans LLP.

The families have fought for years for a public inquiry but have been denied by British courts. Despite the Court of Appeal did not order an inquiry to be held last year, the court said it was “probable” the families’ case would succeed before the European Court of Human Right as the families have satisfied the court that the British Government were in breached of the fundamental human right – the right to life.

 

Families’ arguments

The families’ counsel Mr Fordham QC told the UK Supreme Court that failure and refusal of the British Government to take action to inquire further into the Batang Kali massacre are unlawful. He also pressed for the families that Britain must account for the killings under the European Convention on Human Rights even though the convention was ratified about 4 years later.

Michael Fordham QC, said: “at least three of the soldiers who were on patrol and at least four villagers who were at Batang Kali were still alive and their oral evidence would be available to an inquiry as well as the man who led the 1993-1997 Malaysian police investigation has indicated his readiness to assist an investigation.”

“Professor Sue Black, one of the UK’s leading archaeologists from Centre of Anatomy and Human Identification at the University of Dundee who explained that significant conclusion could be drawn from the examination of gunshot wounds from large groups of people, and that the task would not be onerous were the bodies exhumed.”

“The site of the graves is known, the families have confirmed their agreement to exhumation and the Malaysian Government has offered to facilitate it. Therefore, Professor Black’s contemplation is practical.”

The lawyer for the families submitted that Britain’s refusal to investigate cannot be justified to the proportionality standard of review. He stressed that some of the evidence presented before this highest court showed that the soldiers released the unarmed villagers onto the veranda was to wipe the villagers out, just as they were wiping out the village.

From left: Ng See Teong, Chin Fo Sang, Lim Ah Yin, Quek Ngee Meng, Wong Lee Ling

From left: Ng See Teong, Chin Fo Sang, Lim Ah Yin, Quek Ngee Meng, Wong Lee Ling

Another conclusion could be easily reached is to shoot and keep shooting until all men, with half of them over 50 in age, were lying dead on the ground was unnecessary and disproportionate use of force to effect the arrest. The “escape” hypothesis argued by the British Government just couldn’t meet the proportionate test. With this applicable standard of judicial review, only then the public interest considerations can be ventilated in the proper, independent forum: the supervising court.

 

British Government’s arguments

Now it is a story of denying legal responsibility for the acts of the British soldiers. The lawyers for the Ministry Foreign Affairs and Defence argued that the families’ position must fail as a matter of constitutional principle. Their counsel, Jonathan Crow QC, tried goad to convince the Judges that Sultan of Selangor or the Malaysian High Commission remain responsible for the unlawful killings upon independence of Malaya in 1957.

The counsel argued that both 6 months rule under the ECHR and one year rule under the UK Human Rights Act have set in where the time limit for human rights relief available to the families had expired several decades ago.

Crow QC also argued that there is a territorial limit for British Government to conduct an inquiry because some investigations will have to be conducted in Malaysia and there is not power of compulsions in this sovereignty state.

Human Rights groups in Northern Ireland

 

Lim Ah Yin (left) appreciates voluntary lawyer, Quek Ngee Meng’s effort.

Lim Ah Yin (left) appreciates voluntary lawyer, Quek Ngee Meng’s effort.

The importance of the action to Northern Ireland is marked by the fact that its Attorney General John Larkin QC has attempted to limit the state’s human rights obligations. He argues that “As for the recovery of historical truth – a matter of great importance – this may be a matter better addressed through the library and the archive rather than the courtroom.” The Judges also heard submissions from Ben Emmerson QC for the Northern Irish human rights group, which represent victims of the Northern Ireland Conflict during the hearing, that even historical cases deserve justice.

Victim’s family Lim Ah Yin’s heartbreaking journey to the UK’s highest court began more than 60 years ago. She was 11 year old at the time of killings and it was her birthday. Lim said: My beloved mother was depressed over these years before she died in 2006. I want to let the Judges know the struggle and hardship that she had been through after the death of my dad during the massacre.

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峇冬加里屠杀惨案罹难者家属盼英最高法院为67载控诉伸张正义

(伦敦)– 24名峇冬加里屠杀惨案罹难者家属就英外交和国防部长拒绝彻查屠杀案的决定向英最高法院提出上诉。英最高法院已于2015年4月23日聆审完毕,并再择日下判。

英最高法院五司大法官听审这起上诉,他们分别是最高法院院长纽伯格(Lord Neuberger)、黑尔副院长(Lord Hale)、曼斯(Lord Mance)、克尔(Lord Kerr)和休斯(Lord Hughes)。

罹难者家属与律师团成员于英最高法院审讯完毕后合影,左起:黄诗忠律师、陈观添,追讨英军屠杀罪行工委会主席、拿督费洛斯律师、黄丽玲(林亚英孙女)、林亚英,罹难者家属、麦克。福尔罕女皇律师、丹尼。费鲁曼女皇律、约翰。哈尔福律师、郭义民律师、吴晓湘律师.

罹难者家属与律师团成员于英最高法院审讯完毕后合影,左起:黄诗忠律师、陈观添,追讨英军屠杀罪行工委会主席、拿督费洛斯律师、黄丽玲(林亚英孙女)、林亚英,罹难者家属、麦克。福尔罕女皇律师、丹尼。费鲁曼女皇律、约翰。哈尔福律师、郭义民律师、吴晓湘律师.

其中一位被英军于1948年12月12日屠杀的罹难者,林生的长女林亚英(78岁)在孙女黄丽玲,追讨英军屠杀罪行工委会义务律师团成员郭义民律师和拿督费洛斯律师的陪同下,远赴英最高法院出席聆审。代表罹难者家属提出控诉的英律师团成员分别是福尔罕女皇律师、费鲁曼女皇律师、道格拉斯博士女皇律师和哈尔福律师。

较早前,家属要求英政府彻查屠杀惨案的诉求被英高庭和上诉庭拒绝。虽然去年英上诉庭没有谕令英政府展开调查行动,但该庭认为罹难者家属已证明他们亲属最重要的人权即生命权利已遭到英政府侵犯,因此家属很可能在欧洲人权法院胜诉。

家属的上诉案

家属英律师代表福尔罕女皇律师向英最高法院陈述,英政府拒绝彻查峇冬加里屠杀惨案的决定是不合法的。虽然英政府在屠杀惨案发生约4年后才签署欧洲人权公约,但依据现有的欧洲人权标准, 他强调英政府还须为屠杀惨案负责。

左起:黄诗忠律师、陈观添、林亚英、郭义民律师、黄丽玲

左起:黄诗忠律师、陈观添、林亚英、郭义民律师、黄丽玲

福尔罕女皇律师表示:“若听证会能设立,至少还有三名英军和生还的四名峇冬加里村民,以及在1993年至1997年期间负责马来西亚警方调查行动的前警官可以向听证会提供供词。”

“来自英国邓迪大学解剖与人类鉴定中心的知名法医考古学家布莱克博士表示,通过检验罹难者的枪伤伤口将能获得死因的结论,而且解剖遗体的工作也不会因时间间隔久远而碰到困难。”

“罹难者的安葬地点已知悉,家属同意进行解剖工作, 马来西亚政府也同意提供协助。因此,布莱克博士的提议是可行的。”

家属代表律师表示英政府拒绝彻查屠杀案的决定没有在令人信服与符合“与证据相称”的情况作出。他强调证据显示当时英军在胶园宿舍走廊释放没持械的男村民的目的是为了歼灭他们,就好像英军烧毁整个村庄般。

另外的证据显示英军持续开枪射杀半数已超过50岁的年长男村民直至每个人倒地死亡为止。这过度使用暴力的射杀行为是不必要的,而且也与在逮捕行动中可使用的武力不相称。英政府提出“村民逃跑”的假设性说法不能令人信服,也与证据不相称。在司法审核案中,家属律师认为只有依据”与证据相称”的标准审核,正义才可获得伸张。

英政府的抗辩

英政府代表律师们全盘否认英政府必须为英军的行为负上法律责任。他们抗辩依据当时的马来亚宪法,家属的立场不能被认同。英政府律师,克洛尔女皇律师尝试说服大法官, 英政府的法律责任由雪州苏丹负责或在马来亚年独立时已转移给马来亚政府。

英政府律师们也提出家属的控诉已超出欧洲人权公约的六个月和英人权法令内的一年内起诉的时效约束, 因此家属控诉应不受法庭理会。

克洛尔女皇律师也抗辩基于地理因素的限制,英政府不须展开任何调查行动, 因为部分调查工作须在马来西亚进行,而英政府没法对马国相关机构采取任何指示。

左起:林亚英感谢义务律师,郭义民提供的协助和努力

左起:林亚英感谢义务律师,郭义民提供的协助和努力

北爱尔兰人权组织

北爱尔兰总检察长拉津女皇律师尝试限制该政府应负上的人权责任。他表示:“虽然还原历史真相很重要,但这事项应该通过图书馆和历史档案正视而非通过法庭。” 英最高法院也聆听了北爱尔兰人权组织代表律师,艾默尔生女皇律师的陈述。他代表70年代北爱尔兰冲突中的受害者出席聆审时向英最高法院表示,即使是历史案件也有寻求正义的权力。

罹难者家属林亚英前往英最高法院寻求正义的艰辛路程于67年前, 由母亲郑凤开始,而屠杀案发生当天正值她11岁生日。从母亲在尸体杀害的约6天后到现场收尸, 到今天林亚英远赴英国, 她表示:“母亲在父亲死后来感到非常难过,她在2006年离开了我。我要让英国大法官知道母亲在父亲被惨杀后所遭受到的困境和痛苦。我要为父亲与无辜杀被害的村民讨回公道。”